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GoGo Gives In-Flight WiFi a Speed Boost

Good news for road warriors trying to get online in the sky: One of the main providers of in-flight wireless service is about to release an upgraded version of its technology that'll keep you working miles from the ground.

The last time I used in-flight wireless service, it was, well, bumpy.

The wireless connection itself was fine, but thanks to some turbulence, my credit card fell out of my hand as I was logging in, with said piece of plastic sliding to the back of the plane until the end of the flight. (Fortunately, after the plane landed, I was able to recover it. Whew.)

In layman’s terms, it connects to two satellites instead of one and doesn’t require communication with the ground to connect to the internet.

I was still able to get connected (note to self: Always carry at least two cards when traveling), and it proved incredibly handy for getting some work done at 30,000 feet. That said, it could’ve loaded those tweets a little faster. Fortunately, GoGo In-Flight Internet is working on it.

This week, the company announced that it would launch an upgraded version of its wireless technology that can reach speeds of up to 70 megabits per second. (To compare, U.S. LTE-based wireless networks average download speeds of around 6.5 megabits per second, according to an OpenSignal study—though, to be fair, the U.S. ranked near the bottom of the download speed list.)

How does it plan to increase its wireless velocity? According to a news release, GoGo is launching a new antenna, 2Ku, that takes advantage of current satellite technology but improves redundancy and spectral efficiency. In layman’s terms, it connects to two satellites instead of one and doesn’t require communication with the ground to connect to the internet.

The result is that, according to the company, the technology “avoids the single point of failure that comes with reliance on a single satellite for connectivity in a given region, and offers airlines much desired redundancy and reliability.”

In case this sounds awesome, don’t hold your breath waiting for it—the technology is expected to be made available to commercial providers starting in 2015. Japan Airlines will get a chance to try the wireless technology first.

Have any in-flight WiFi war stories of your own? Share them in the comments.

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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