All you need to know about In-flight Internet Services

How internet is provided onboard an aircraft
Broadly, there are two ways to get an internet signal onto something that is 35,000 feet above ground:
1. Ground-to-air
-Technology uses ground-based mobile broadband towers
-Aircraft installed with antennae on the fuselage pick up signals from ground towers that are closest to flight path
-The technology isn’t highly reliable for on-board connectivity on flights that fly over vast water-bodies like the oceans
2. Via satellite
-Expected to be more popular in the future
-Satellite technology overcomes the hurdle of receiving signals over vast water bodies
-Aircraft antennae connect to satellites in geostationary orbit (satellites that rotate along with the Earth and so, in effect, remain stationary with respect to the Earth) using receivers and transmitters
-All information between ground and aircraft is passed via satellite
-Once the aircraft’s antennae pick up signals, on-board routers distribute the wifi signal throughout the aircraft
-Satellite connection can offer speeds of about 12 mbps
The Future
1. Inmarsat, a British satellites telecommunication company, predicts that over half of the world’s aircraft will be equipped for in-flight wifi within six years. This is set to become a billion-dollar revenue sector by 2020
2. Honeywell Aerospace estimates the global market for connected aircraft at $7 billion and a rapid wifi adoption by nearly 25,000 planes by 2025. Honeywell’s JetWave hardware connects aircraft to Inmarsat’s GX Aviation service to provide in-flight internet service with speeds up to 50 mbps
How expensive is it
1. In-flight connectivity is much more expensive than on-ground connectivity
2. Most airlines charge based on use – whether wifi is used on phone, tablet, or laptop
3. Laptop connectivity is the most expensive
4. Gogo, a popular US-based in-flight broadband internet service provider that gives service to 17 airlines, offers a ‘monthly airlines plan’, valid on domestic flights in the US, Canada and Mexico
Offered for free
Such airlines include:
-Bangkok-based Nok Air
-Norwegian Air Shuttle
-Turkish Airlines
-US’s JetBlue Airways
-China’s Air China and China Eastern
-Hong Kong Airlines