Tuesday, 9 November 2010

In-flight Wi-Fi

Google's recent news of giving away Free In-flight wi-fi for the holidays (www.freeholidaywifi.com) triggered me to write a blog on In-flight wi-fi service offered by Aircell's GOGO.

This service is available with 9 major airliners across USA like United, Delta, Virgin America, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier, Air Canada and US Airways .

Now, one must really be thinking that using this service is going to be quite an expensive affair, but its really not. Their pricing plans are so cheap that it would cost you just $ 4.95 for 1.5 hours on a single flight and a 24 hour pass would just cost you $ 11.00.For frequent flyers a 30 day pass would cost them just $ 40.00.

What makes me think now is their business plan behind the whole idea of giving away this technology for such a cheaper price.Going by the reviews I guess only 5-10 passengers are opting for this service on a single flight.

Technology Behind GOGO's In-flight Wi-fi:

Their technology is quite simple,they have High Gain antenna's across the US facing skywards which will cover the area above the United States and the aircraft has 2 underbelly blade antenna's and Aircell's transceiver which will send/receive signals to/from these ground stations.

When it comes to download and upload speeds, their advertisement says up-to 3.0 mbps, but the fact is, on an average the download speed ranges from ( 700 kbps - 1.5 mbps ) and the upload speed ranges from ( 100 - 450 kbps ).

One can access GOGO service on any Wi-fi enabled devices with Windows/MAC OS and not to forget the smart phones like Iphone,Blackberry,Droid and it even supports the latest Ipad.

we also need to consider the fact that the commercial jetliner's will be cruising at speeds anywhere between (500 - 900 km/h) at an altitude of ( 25000 ft - 40000 ft ) and outside temperature is close to (-55 Deg Celsius ) at 35000 ft.Another setback of GOGO is that the service is not available under the altitudes of 10,000 ft and the service actually shuts down
which is most likely for the users to shut down their devices before they land.

The GOGO's terms and conditions prohibits the use of any form of VOIP service like Skype, Goggle Voice chat but people have successfully tested such services and few feel that VOIP traffic will blocked automatically after few minutes into the call.

Similar services like GOGO In-flight Wi-fi

GOGO In-flight Wi-fi is only limited within the US and to use one such service on a transatlantic flight is possible but with heavy price tag . Here they use Inmarsat a group of 11 satellites which is specially used for mobile satellite services and provides seamless mobile voice and data communications around the world -on land, at sea or in the air.

Facts about GOGO's usage over the period of time

  • Over 1,500,000 websites being visited daily
  • Over 3,500,000 Emails being sent weekly
  • Over 250,000 audio/video files being downloaded monthly
  • 1 GB of Total data being transferred on a single flight

And guess what the whole package comes with a price tag of just $ 85,000 and hardware which will be installed on flight is just 15 lbs in weight.


Joe said...

Informative! Keep it going.

Lester Mendez said...

Great Info about "In-flight Wi-Fi". I've heard many airlines are now planning to put this in their services and facilities like what USA and CANADA did in their major airlines.

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