New Capabilities For Old Phones

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A Canadian avionics company has developed an analog interface that allows owners of older airborne satellite phone systems to tap into the much greater capabilities of new digital equipment. Ottawa-based TrueNorth Avionics makes the Simphone satellite communications system that not only provides phone service but also data, wi-fi, broadband and a host of other electronic communications options. Trouble is, a lot of business aircraft already have expensive and perfectly serviceable satellite phones integrated with their cabin communications, and retrofitting is expensive.

That's where the interface comes in. It allows the older phone systems, such as the Honeywell MCS-3000 Satcom, to be used with Simphone with all the capabilities of a new setup. The new gear could be especially welcome news to owners of MagnaStar systems in light of Verizon's decision to stop supporting their phones as of the end of this year. "Our new analog interface simply expands the range of possibilities, providing an integrated network solution for, say, Falcon 900 or Gulfstream III or IV operators whose legacy Satcoms currently aren't supported by other phone systems," said TrueNorth Avionics CEO Mark van Berkel in a news release.