European Aviation Network
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|Industry||Telecommunications Aviation Technology|
|Parent||Deutsche Telekom AG|
The European Aviation Network is a hybrid-network built by Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat in cooperation with their technological partner Nokia. It is used as a backhaul for in-flight WiFi for domestic flights within Europe and contains a LTE ground network supported by a satellite connection. Because of the LTE technology the network can achieve data rates up to 75 Mbit/s downstream and 20 Mbit/s upstream per airplane, with a total capacity of 50Gbps.
The European Aviation Network was first announced in 2015 by Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat. At this point, the technological partner was still unknown. In 2017, Inmarsat launched the satellite for the network with an Ariane 5 rocket into the orbit and began shortly after with the testing. In January 2018 the three companies announced the commercial launch with the International Airlines Group as launch partner.
The ground network contains 300 LTE cell sites, which are spread across the 28 member states of the European Union, Switzerland and Norway. The LTE technology is adapted to the usage with aircraft with speeds way above 500 km/h. The custom network supports ground speeds up to 1,200 km/h and a maximum flight level of 12 km and the cell radius is up to 75 km. The remote radio heads inside the aircraft have been modified to compensate the frequency shift caused by the Doppler effect.
If the ground network is not available, e.g. over the sea, the satellite back-up takes over the connection. The aircraft are equipped with antennas on top and at the bottom of their fuselage in order to support the network. Deutsche Telekom uses LTE band 65 (2,100 MHz) for their ground network and Inmarsat the S band satellite spectrum over Europe. The LTE network is completely independent and not linked with the national cell phone networks operated by DT. It’s the first and only pan-European LTE network in the world.
Airlines that already support the EAN on some aircraft:
- "Introduction to EAN". Inmarsat Plc European Aviation Network Website. Retrieved 2019-03-06.
- "European Aviation Network". Inmarsat. Retrieved 2017-03-01.