And what it'll take for the next big leap in inflight Wifi
Beaming a slow internet signal from the ground to an airplane moving upward of 500 mph is hard on a good day. It takes dozens of towers on the ground, satellites in the air, and hundreds and hundreds of people just so you can check your Facebook status at 30,000 feet — and tell people you're checking your Facebook status from 30,000 feet.
Getting the next generation of in-flight connectivity up and running? That's another matter entirely. A few weeks ago we spent the day with Gogo — the company that brings the bulk of the bytes to your Boeing or Airbus, to say nothing of the countless private business jets — at its headquarters in suburban Chicago to see just a fraction of what it takes to get things done. The short version is that we're moving from beaming signals from towers on the ground for domestic flights, and from satellites for overwater, international jaunts, to a combination of both as well as dual satellite links for the next generation of connectivity.
We're still a little ways away from that, though, so in the meantime we'll make do with what we have. But rest assured that simply making do isn't good enough for Gogo. Here's how it works.