Wi-Fi technology inside aircrafts, which was a big security concern in the past, could soon take off as new technology now allows passengers to surf the web as if they were in a local coffee shop on the ground.
Wi-Fi on Board
More and more airlines are rolling new and improved services, including allowing Wi-Fi, Internet, and mobile gadget use onboard airplanes. All of these are possible thanks to satellite technology, said industry leaders at the recent Singapore Airshow, according to a report from the AFP.
US-based Honeywell Aerospace and Gogo, suppliers of in-flight connectivity systems to airlines, are working with satellite giant Inmarsat to implement the “first global high-speed broadband for the skies” called the Global Xpress (GX) Aviation network.
Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific President Briand Greer said in-flight Wi-Fi could generate $2.8 billion for the company alone over the next 20 years, according to the AFP report.
Greer estimates that around seven to eight percent of airlines around the world currently offer wireless connection, but says this number is expected to grow to 25 percent by 2018.
After years of struggling due to poor signal quality, in-flight Wi-Fi can now reach download speeds of up to 50 megabits per second, Greer said.
“How we describe it is it will be like you are sitting at Starbucks with your smartphone, your computer and your iPad,” Greer told reporters.
Onboard Wi-Fi is not a new idea, though. European carrier Lufthansa debuted Conexxion by Boeing’s system in 2004, but closed it down after the idea did not soar high.