Let’s unravel this Mystery, Shall we?
There are three tricks :
ATG (Air To Ground) :
For domestic travel over land, the ATG system of Wi-Fi requires two antennas which are installed on the belly of an aircraft for pick up signals from cell towers installed on lands. When ATG system is “Online”, The aircraft picks up the different cell towers and allows users within the plane to start receiving services.
(Nokia’s solution for ATG LTE connectivity)
Today, most ATG service is providing Wi-Fi speed of approx 3 Mbps, suffices for checking emails, Facebook and of and yeah reading TPG. Gogo’s ATG-4 system supports 10 Mbps, but it is not available because it is slower than ATG-3.
2. Ku-Band :
It is satellite-based service, popular with airline providers like Gogo, Panasonic and Row 44, It covers a greater area, keeping you connected even when flying out of range of ground-based cell towers or over the ocean. The Ku-Band antenna is placed in “saucer” that is on top of the plane, similar to a rooftop TV dish on a house, this has to be directed toward the transmitting satellite as the plane flies.
Once the antenna picks up the satellite signal, the plane provides Wi-Fi speeds of up to 30-40 Mbps. Better than ATG system, speed depends on how many aircraft one satellite is serving. Ku-Band isn’t going to provide you with the capability to stream movies off of Netflix, for example, but as TPG contributor Sarah Silbert found on a recent United flight, you could run a Google Fi call, view picture-heavy websites and even can listen to music. Because of the distance a signal must achieve, satellite Wi-Fi suffers from latency issues that don’t affect ATG, so while content will load faster, initial page elements will take up to little longer.
3. Ka-Band :
Generally used for military communications, satellite-based another service is currently the fastest Wi-Fi service available for airlines and is popular with “JetBlue”, “Virgin America” and some “United 737s”. Satellite service provider ViaSat provides Ka-Band with its ViaSat-1 satellite, which is more powerful than Ku-Banded satellites and provides speeds of up to 70 Mbps to every single aircraft connected to it. Similar to the speed we are getting in our home and allows us to stream videos, and uploading photos to websites and social media. There’s presently only one ViaSat Ka-Band satellite, so the service is limited to the United States, however, ViaSat launched a second Ka-Band satellite in 2016, which is about to covering Canada and Europe.
Simply, Difference between Ku-band and Ka-band :
It doesn’t mean Ka bands can be used in every flight, They are expensive as well as less in numbers in fact Ka-band satellites are only 4 over world wide while Ku-band satellites are so many.
Well, This was how wi-fi in plane works still We’ve got to say….Yeah it sucks! Not in every airline it is free, They take money for an hour as per your plan and not to mention in less expensive plans…it still sucks!
Why you ask?
Implementation is the answer you are seeking then :
Launching in-flight WiFi services requires the installation of antennas, and establishing connections with land-based towers or satellites. Even if everything is ready, profitability is still a question, because every minute that the aircraft spends on the ground will result in a loss for the airlines. So, it is quite clear that practically, such services will be redundant for domestic aircraft because even though a lot of them have a flight time of more than 24hours, most of it is spent on stopovers. So quite expensive, difficult and time taking.
(Implementation of airplane WiFi)
So enough of waiting here is the list of which are providing paid and which are FREE wi-fi service :
Free wi-fi providers :
- Qatar Airways
- JetBlue Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Air China
- China Eastern
- Nok Air
Time and data restrictions may apply – check with individual airlines.
As for the expensive ones :
- JetBlue :
- Virgin :
Gogo’s new 2Ku service launch partner, Gogo’s pricing is standardized at $5 per hour, $16 per day, and $60 for a full month pass. Gogo’s pricing structure is the same for any airline.
- Southwest :
Only flies Boeing 737 aircraft, and about a third of the fleet is equipped with Ku-band wifi provided by a company called Row44. For $8 a day, the wifi service is fast. You also get some TV contents after connecting.
- Alaska Airlines :
Runs on various versions of Gogo’s service.it will definitely feel slow compared to your wifi at home—but at least Alaska Airlines can guarantee service on every flight.
- American Airlines :
Not on any of its regional jets American Airlines it offers Gogo service on the vast majority of its aircraft .
So Statistics are like these :
(CNN Report as per 2016)
Now Now, We haven’t forgot about our beloved India its just you see…
The Indian government is all about to announce a reforms offering in-flight Wi-Fi on flights over Indian airspace.
Civilian flights in India will soon offer Wi-Fi services to their passengers, aviation secretary R. N. Choubey said. The home, telecommunications and aviation ministries are also in favor of allowing flights coming in and out of the country to continue their Wi-Fi services without any interruption, he added.
Firms like Honeywell, the Civil Aviation Ministry with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Government of India (DGCA) have finally got the mindset to go ahead with this technology.
” Airlines in India will have to bring software and hardware capability to its fleet. This increases the weight of the airlines. It is doable for long haul and big aircraft, but it is difficult for the narrow body/short haul flights. “
This apart, The airlines have to focus on the security when using data connectivity.
” Airline operators should have the ability to zero down on any message transmitted by using in-flight Wi-Fi. It should be able to track down Instant Messenger (IM) addresses. Globally, few airlines have the ability to track the IM addresses already. “
DGCA and the Civil Aviation Ministry are on the same page, now it is up to the airlines to get their systems upgraded as soon as possible.
Also, Jet Airways and Air India are about to complete implementations!
So at the end of 2017, India is about to provide Wi-Fi on international flights but sadly domestics flights have to wait more!