updated 04:48 pm EDT, Wed September 11, 2013
New system combines air-to-ground connection with satellites
Inflight Wi-Fi provider Gogo will be upping the speed of connections offered to its customers in the future, once it begins using satellites. The current Air-to-Ground system will be supplemented by satellite connections in the Gogo GTO or Ground-to-Orbit service, which could lead to passengers being able to share connections as large as 60Mbps per plane.
In the future, the in-flight connection will use both the Air-to-Ground and Ground-to-Orbit systems, with the ground connection serving for outbound traffic and satellites providing inbound bandwidth. Gogo will be using a Ku-band antenna specifically designed to receive signals, as using existing two-way satellite antennas for aviation are expensive and low powered for transmitting, with the receive-only version able to be half the height and twice as efficient of normal versions.
In comparison to the new 60Mbps system, the current Air-to-Ground setup peaks at 9.8Mbps per plane, and when it launched five years ago, it delivered just 3.1Mbps per aircraft.
Gogo will be seeking FAA approval for the service in 2014, and expects to have it working in the second half of the year.