16:37 11 April 2018
In-flight internet access is becoming one of the factors that passengers are considering when booking flights, particularly for long haul trips. Unfortunately, the quality of on-board WiFi is still highly variable but many airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, are taking huge steps to make necessary improvements. Many are using GoGo’s 2Ku technology, which combines ground and space stations to deliver on-board internet access with speeds of up to 70Mbps over a local wireless network.
In a flight from UK to Boston, it has been noted that there is quite a difference between wired home broadband and on-board WiFi. Server hops to reach destination is 5 for the former and 16 for the latter. While the average latency is 7-10ms for the former and 600-700ms for the latter. It is important to note that a smaller figure is always better when it comes to latency.
During the 8+ hour flight, the fastest download speed is 6.3Mbps, upload speed is 0.1Mbps, and latency is 779ms. This allowed passengers to download content and even use streaming services, including Netflix. However, uploading data seemed to take far longer than one would expect. The service also does not allow users to make VoIP calls.