On Nov. 12, airborne Wi-Fi provider Gogo stated that its satellite technology that brings wireless aircraft signal got a massive overhaul. Named 2Ku, the new device from Gogo gives airline passengers unbeatable Wi-Fi speed.
Gogo is a veteran in the in-flight Wi-Fi business, with around 66 percent of North American airplanes sporting the company's devices. The problem is that the gadgets that Gogo installed a couple of years ago are already antiquated and no longer keep up with customer demands.
That is why the Wi-Fi provider delivered 2Ku, an improved mechanism that delivers high internet speeds with the help of intricate on-board antennas and satellites.
When talking about the in-flight Wi-Fi specs, Gogo shared the fact that 2Ku is able to deliver 70 Mbps on airplanes. Gogo's new 2Ku will be available to all flying passengers on a plane equipped with its connectivity solution.
"As part of the flight testing of 2Ku, Gogo has simultaneously streamed videos on more than 40 devices while providing a great browsing experience on additional devices," Gogo underlined in a press statement. The average speed per passenger will be at around 12 Mbps, the company estimated.
Journalists who were on the official test flight took the challenge and tried to bend the bandwidth offered by the company.
"Speedtest rated it at 11.71 Mbps downloads, a 656-millisecond ping and uploads of 0.53 Mbps on my first try," said Timothy J. Seppala from Engadget.
He added that one drawback is the ping time, which varies between 500 and 1000 milliseconds. This simply means that competitive on-line players should wait until they hit the tarmac to enter ranked matches.
The Verge's Chris Welch, meanwhile, observed that upload speeds were almost nonexistent, but stressed that casual Internet users seldom need to upload anything larger than a picture or a Vine video anyway.
As for streaming, it works brilliantly when only 18 people use the Wi-Fi in the cabin.
Derek Kessler of Android Central said that he did the following actions simultaneously, on a single computer: he streamed a 60fps, 4K video from YouTube, received Netflix in 1080p definition, and used Gogo's new live TV service.
So far, eight airlines are giving nods to the Wi-Fi carrier. This means that nearly 550 airplanes may offer Gogo's Wi-Fi in-flight, and Delta planes seem to be among the first to make the move. JTA, a Japan Airlines group member, is the last in line to order its 737-800 aircraft to be fitted with the 2Ku connectivity.
Questions linger about the actual cost of being able to do online work while flying. Gogo faces little competition in the field, since AT&T retreated from the airborne Wi-Fi market around a year ago.
It remains to be seen how much efforts Gogo will make in pushing Wi-Fi in-flight technology and what customers of airlines will think of it once it is adopted by more airlines.