More and more airlines are equipped with WiFi on the passenger aircraft, but the stability of the network is still a big problem. For example, the flight of the flight between China and the United States usually has a signal interruption when passing through the Arctic. If you want to eat chicken or black on the plane, you might want to consider American Airlines (AA) flights, which have been equipped with satellite WiFi networks for all routes.
Last year, American Airlines provided Panasonic's satellite communication WiFi on wide-body aircraft. Today, more than 700 narrow-body aircrafts flying on domestic routes have also been upgraded. The suppliers are Gogo 2Ku and ViaSat Ka.
However, TechCrunch believes that the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft in the US Airways fleet is not in the process of being upgraded because these models are currently being phased out.
On-board Wi-Fi is usually air-to-ground or satellite network (Ku) technology.
The air-to-ground system receives signals from ground stations from antennas on the aircraft. The antennas are usually mounted on the base of the fuselage. When entering different airspaces, the aircraft will automatically connect to the nearest signal tower.
Satellite technology is the connection and transmission of signals to the ground by connecting the satellites in the geostationary orbit (35,786 km from the ground) through an antenna mounted on the top of the fuselage. These satellites are commonly used to transmit television signals, weather forecasts, and secret military operations.
Compared to satellite technology, air-to-ground systems have the advantage of lower cost and greater network bandwidth. The disadvantage is that it is greatly affected by the environment. For example, when it passes through large waters or particularly remote mountainous areas, it may cause signal interruption, and there is also a limit to the flight height of the aircraft, because the signal of the ground base station is too high.
Satellite technology has the advantages of greater stability, wider coverage and faster speed. Of course, the cost will be higher than the air-to-ground system. American Airlines competitor Delta Air Lines has also upgraded its on-board WiFi, and most of the models have also been replaced with satellite technology-based WiFi systems.
Panasonic Satellite WiFi system signal coverage image from:United Airlines
Of course, most of the airline's WiFi is not a free benefit. Take American Airlines' flight from Dallas to Sao Paulo, Brazil. For example, the 2-hour on-board WiFi charges $12, and the whole journey is $19.
Since on-board WiFi has become the standard for several traditional US airlines, there is a corresponding monthly package. American Airlines charges $49.95, but only WiFi for air-to-ground systems can be used. The satellite system is not included in the package.
However, there are also many opinions that free on-board WiFi will be the general trend, which will become the means of obtaining the airline. Delta has beta free WiFi on some flights, and Norwegian Airlines has announced that all intercontinental flights are free of charge. It is said that British Airways is also studying the feasibility of providing free on-board WiFi.
China's mainland airlines still do not have plans for on-board WiFi commercial operation, and still use some of the routes for free use. However, from February this year, China Southern Airlines has specified that economy class can only apply for online qualification through official app, or use mileage redemption, first class. There are no restrictions for passengers in the cabin and business class.
The popularity of on-board WiFi is also quietly changing the cabin facilities. Some airlines have begun to cancel the entertainment system on their seats, instead of providing entertainment through the on-board network for passengers to use their own electronic devices, such as American Airlines will charge the seats. Interface, on all WiFi flights with satellite communication, passengers can use their own electronic devices to watch 12 free TV live channels, American Airlines also recently connected to Apple Music, allowing passengers to use the onboard network for free access to their Apple Listen to songs on your Music account. Compared to PTV's moving resolution and old system, it is obviously more comfortable to watch or listen to audio and video programs with its own device.
The map is from:CNBC