Cork tech company to deliver 4G in the sky at Mobile World Congress

24 Feb 2017

Paul Sutton, Software Radio Systems. Image: John Sheehan

Software Radio Systems has struck a deal with SmartSky Networks to bring 4G and Wi-Fi speeds to the skies.

Cork tech company Software Radio Systems (SRS) is aiming to prove new 4G and Wi-Fi in the sky capabilities at Mobile World Congress 2017.

The company has secured a major collaboration deal with US company SmartSky Networks, a high-performance air-to-ground connectivity network operator.

The Enterprise Ireland client company will deliver test and validation solutions for SmartSky’s airborne products.

Based on aviation-specific modifications to 4G wireless communications standards, SmartSky 4G offers affordable and reliable office-like connectivity in the air.

4G faster than a speeding aeroplane

SRS brings its AirScope technology to the table, an air interface analyser for real-time over-the-air 4G signal capture and analysis.

Running on a standard PC or laptop with an off-the-shelf general purpose radio front-end, AirScope captures the downlink signal of an LTE network.

It then decodes the control channels for all active users in the cell and provides cell-wide and per-user statistics on uplink and downlink traffic, cell configuration, active user distribution, channel quality, cell spectral efficiency, congestion patterns, scheduler performance, and more.

This could help bring an end to the endless complaints business travellers have over expensive, slow-performing Wi-Fi services aboard aircraft.

“This significant partnership with SmartSky will enable us to continue to grow and scale in new markets.

“SRS’s unique differentiator is our open suite of software radio solutions, which is transforming the traditionally closed mobile ecosystem and enabling a new generation of products and services.”

As part of the deal, SRS, a Trinity College Dublin spin-out, will provide tailored solutions for operational testing of the SmartSky system on aircraft.

The company will be demonstrating its technology as one of 14 Enterprise Ireland and 30 Irish tech companies exhibiting at the pivotal Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona next week.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years