In February 2017, Avionics profiled the ambitions of Airborne Wireless Network, which has a goal of using airborne aircraft as signal repeaters that are capable of generating wireless internet signals.
Throughout 2017, AWN achieved several milestones, including forming a partnership with Mynaric (formerly ViaLight Communications) to develop, design, test and manufacture a customized hybrid synchronized laser-based communication system. AWN wants that system to serve as the link between aircraft and ground stations to form a chain of signal repeaters and routers within its airborne mesh network concept.
GE Aviation became AWN’s latest partner in December after signing an agreement to provide tactical-grade inertial reference units with embedded GPS that AWN will use for heading, pointing, attitude and stabilization for its communications system.
We discussed these efforts with AWN’s VP of industry affairs, Earle Olson, who said the next step would be more testing.
Can you give us some of the latest updates AWN has been working on for its airborne mesh network concept?
We’ve made a lot of progress toward developing the Free Space Optic element and are preparing to perform a two-aircraft test demonstrating the connectivity of the air-to-air Free Space Optics laser. That will employ our patent-pending synchronization of laser with RF technology.
We plan to perform this test as soon as is feasible, in connection with the approximately 20 commercial aircraft demonstrations at a 10 Gbps signal path.