To Boldly Go Where No Wi-Fi Has Gone Before

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

Here at 4PSA we’re obsessed with making communication not just accessible and affordable, but also simple and even profitable for our customers. We work tirelessly to connect the dots for service providers, but we also take pleasure in tracking the advent of wireless technology in places where it’s considered a rare commodity.

Remember the days when phones on planes were a big No-No? Things have changed a lot since. These days you reach your peers on a personal connection, and even the Internet is up in the air with you. It took a great deal of determination from the tech industry to make it all possible, but we haven’t reached the finish line just yet.

Airborne productivity & fun

Planes today are being designed to support faster and more reliable Wi-Fi than ever before, with a flurry of suppliers now operating in-flight gear via satellite. According to The Economist, Panasonic Avionics (contracted by United Airlines), actually owns a few such Earth-orbiting signal bouncers, while the likes of Row 44 and OnAir ar licensees in the program.

Gogo combines both satellite and ground-based solutions to give business types (or Twitter addicts) the necessary radio waves to stay productive on the go. Unlike before, signal strength is hardly an issue in this day and age. Moreover, airborne Wi-Fi speeds are expected to soar in the coming years thanks to an expansion from the low-frequency Ku band to the more potent Ka band estimated to range between 50-80Mbps per aircraft.

American regulatory bodies plan to auction 500MHz of ground-to-air bandwidth opening the pod bay doors even wider: a whole gigabit per second.

Yet we still complain

One thing that constantly follows our constant technological progress is our bickering. We just love to whine that it’s slow, unresponsive, or badly designed. We seem to forget that the Internet was practically inexistent in phones before that legendary unveiling at Macworld 2007, or that screens – unresponsive as they may be sometimes – were touchable but not very touch-sensitive less than a decade ago.

So the next time your smartphone is acting up, on the ground or in the ether, remember all the effort that’s been put into your pocket computer and its Internet ties.

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