Airplanes are now offering on flight Wi - Fi and the ‘Sorry I was on a flight’ excuse may soon not work at all. But how does online Wi - Fi work?
There are 2 ways that flights can offer Wi - Fi at that height. One would be through mobile broadband towers sending signals up to the flight. The plane automatically connects to signals from the nearest tower. But connectivity in this case can be an issue when passing through large bodies of water or terrains.
The second method uses satellite technology. Planes connect to satellites in geostationary orbit (35, 786km above the planet), which send and receive signals to earth via receivers and transmitters. These are the same satellites that are used in television signals, weather forecasting, and covert military operations.
Information is transmitted to and from your smartphone via an antenna on the top of the aircraft, which connects to the closest satellite signal. Information is passed between the ground and the plane via the satellite. Wi - Fi signal is distributed to plane passengers via an on board router.
In both these cases US flights have better connectivity than anywhere else in the world. The technology is fast growing but struggling to keep pace with the number of Wi - Fi - guzzling devices.
In 2008, Gogo, then known as Aircel introduced the on board Wi - Fi it was enough for a few devices but now with every passenger using at least one device, connectivity seems slow. Hence, it is expensive too. Though, researchers are working on this technology to make it better in the future.
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