First prototypes delivered for unique next-generation satellite broadband service

A milestone has been reached this month in product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants’ work with Iridium Communications on its next-generation satellite broadband service. The core transceiver technology developed by Cambridge Consultants has completed its verification testing – and initial prototypes have been delivered to Iridium.

The Iridium CertusSM broadband service will deliver reliable, enterprise-grade communication solutions for aviation, maritime and terrestrial customers anywhere in the world. It’s the first of a new set of services made possible by Iridium NEXT – the second generation of Iridium’s unique pole-to-pole, low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communications network.

The core transceiver technology being developed by Cambridge Consultants will be used by Iridium’s manufacturing partners to produce Iridium Certus broadband terminals. Cambridge Consultants is also developing the corresponding infrastructure to support the new service through the Iridium® gateway.

As Iridium’s long-term core technology development partner, Cambridge Consultants has combined its world-class radio design skills with its in-depth knowledge of the Iridium network to create the embedded transceiver modules that will be at the heart of the new Iridium Certus products. These products will perform at a broad range of data speeds up to 1.4Mbps.

“The Iridium network is an engineering marvel that we have enjoyed working on for more than 12 years,” said Richard Traherne, chief commercial officer at Cambridge Consultants. “Iridium NEXT is an exciting new chapter in the company’s evolution that we are proud to be part of.

“With Iridium NEXT, we can provide a whole new level of service to end users. We’re relishing the challenge of architecting and developing a system with Iridium that extracts as much performance as possible from Iridium’s LEO architecture to realise this next-generation capability.”

The Iridium NEXT constellation has 66 cross-linked satellites circling the earth in LEO at an altitude of approximately 500 miles and a speed of 17,000mph – each with a coverage footprint around the size of the continental US. It’s the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe.

The Iridium Certus broadband service is planned to be available at incremental throughputs from late next year, with full network capacity offered upon completion of the Iridium NEXT deployment in 2017. Examples of where it is likely to be used include safety, operational, crew and passenger communications in the aviation and maritime industries, search-and-rescue operations, scientific exploration, energy infrastructure communications and research outposts in remote areas of the globe.

Hermon Pon, vice-president of technology development and network engineering at Iridium, said: “Cambridge Consultants’ valuable contribution as Iridium’s core technology partner through the last decade meant that it was the natural choice to lead the development of the terrestrial technology. Together, we’ve made the first step towards delivering Iridium Certus broadband products and services to meet the business-critical communications needs of individuals and organisations in the air, on land and at sea who need to reliably share data no matter where they are on the planet.”

Notes to editors

About Cambridge Consultants
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, services and intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 60 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 800 team members, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA), Tokyo (Japan) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, energy and wireless communications.

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About Capgemini Invent
As the digital innovation, design and transformation brand of the Capgemini Group, Capgemini Invent enables CxOs to envision and shape the future of their businesses. Located in nearly 40 studios and more than 60 offices around the world, it comprises a 10,000+ strong team of strategists, data scientists, product and experience designers, brand experts and technologists who develop new digital services, products, experiences and business models for sustainable growth.

Capgemini Invent is an integral part of Capgemini, a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organization of over 325,000 team members in more than 50 countries. With its strong 55-year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fueled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering and platforms. The Group reported in 2021 global revenues of €18 billion.

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