In Flight Internet Options

Posted by FreedomNet

Access to the Internet has become an essential part of modern day society in the 21st century. While coverage and access to the inter webs have come a long way since as recently as a decade ago, there are still places where internet access is not very easy to come by. One of those places is up in the sky on passenger planes. And while internet on planes is not a new thing, there are still only a minority of planes that have access to this service.

But before we get into what planes offer internet service, let’s talk about how it actually works. So, much of the technology being used is similar to the towers and satellites that provide connectivity to our smartphones. Of the two types, air-to-ground (ATG) is usually deemed to be faster since towers on the ground are usually closer to planes than satellites up in space, but service is next to zero when going over major bodies of water where satellite can still work. Gogo is one company that previously provided voice communication services via in-flight phones built in the seats of planes. They now use the same technology to provide in-flight Wi-Fi to a majority of airlines.

An interesting aspect of in-flight Wi-Fi is that it still requires an antenna to catch a signal from a tower or satellite. These are not your traditional wired antennas you might see on a car but are instead little bubble like extensions mounted on the exterior of the plane. Since these extensions are usually not accounted for in airplane design they disrupt the aerodynamic contours of the planes, creating drag that uses up more fuel, which is partially why flights with Wi-Fi are usually more expensive than those without. Despite advances in the technology itself, the fastest connection you would be able to receive is currently just under 15mbps, but efforts are currently underway to increase that number significantly.

So which airlines have Wi-Fi available? While it’s only a few that offer the service, many will eventually come to the conclusion that long hours on a flight can take a toll on a customer with nothing to do in the meantime so this list is sure to increase.

  • JetBlue – They currently have the fastest connection clocking in at 15mbps, but it is only offered on some of its planes.
  • Virgin America – This airline gets props for its 10mbps service being available on all flights. With upgrades to it being planned for later this year.
  • Delta – they get similar props for the same reason as Virgin, 10mbps speeds available on all of their flights
  • Southwest – A carrier that uses satellite based services meaning you can stay connected flying over any part of the world, but only a 1/3 of its planes are equipped
  • Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways, United, Air Canada – These are all grouped together because all use Gogo’s services on a few select planes.

For all your ground based internet needs, FreedomNet can be the no limits internet solution for you. With towers all across the state and servicing much of Lower Michigan, FreedomNet is proud to be the #1 wireless no limits internet service provider in the state.

If you are interested and would like to know more information, feel free to fill out a Contact Us form, or call our offices at 866.669.4737 ext. 2 and speak with a sales representative. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.