What I really miss on long-haul flights is Internet connectivity. A couple of years back, Boeing and its Connexion system was a cool option if you flew Lufthansa and a few other carriers but it seems the service was not profitable and Motorola discontinued the service. Too bad, long-haul is offline again since then. But it looks like things are going to change again, as Lufthansa has announced they will enter a cooperation with Panasonic and offer Internet connectivity again. Few details were available so far but now Heise has published an interesting article on the topic giving some details on the system and the general renewed interest in in-flight Internet and GSM connectivity. The original article is here and the Google translated version to English is here.
Like the earlier system, the Panasonic equipment is capable of downlink speeds in the double digit megabit per second range which should be sufficient even if a couple of dozen people are online at the same time. For the satellite connection the Ku-band (10-12 GHz) is used. In addition to Panasonic, there are two other companies in the business. OnAir uses a narrowband signal and the Heise article says the speed is limited to 400 kbit/s. That's too slow for full screen Internet connectivity in my opinion so maybe OnAir focuses more on voice calls, SMS and small screen (smartphone) connected applications. And then there is ROW44 with similar speeds as Panasonic but so far limited to the US market.
All very good signs that in-flight Internet might have a revival and personally, I hope it will be sooner rather than later.
One thought on “Internet Over The Clouds”
I wonder if they’ll block any port. I remember being able to make a skype call during a flight to singapore 5 years ago!!! Amazing how we gone backwards 🙁
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