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GoGo Wifi Plans for 60 MBps In-Air Wireless with Ground to Orbit (GTO)

Posted by J Powers at 8:22 AM on September 12, 2013

Gogo Logo

Imagine being 30,000 feet in the air and doing wireless business, watching a Netflix movie or even downloading and installing updates to your computer. With new initiatives, that could happen very soon.

Gogo In-flight wireless – a leader in in-flight connectivity – announced a new program called Ground to Orbit (GTO). This combines satellite feeds with Gogo’s air-to-ground Wifi capabilities. The added satellite would basically download content, while air-to-ground sends your http requests, emails, uploads and more.
Virgin America will be the first to offer this new hybrid service starting next year (2014).

Gogo has proven time and again that it’s the leader in developing new technologies that will bring more bandwidth for the buck to the aero market.  GTO is the next step in our technological evolution and is a ground breaking new technology for the commercial aviation market in North America,” said Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small.  “When we launched our in-flight Internet service five years ago, we were able to deliver 3.1 Mbps per aircraft through our Air to Ground network.  About a year ago, we began rapidly deploying our next generation Air to Ground service that took peak speeds to 9.8 Mbps.  GTO will now take peak speeds to more than 60 Mbps. That’s a 20-fold increase from where we started.”

Virgin-america-logo

Gogo will be initializing the Ku antenna developed specifically for receive only functionality. Ku is two times more spectrally efficient and half the height of other antennas. The Ku anntenna system also allows Gogo to install new technologies without installing new antennas. This could ultimately lower the cost of Gogo hardware needs.

Faster In-Air Internet Initiatives

A few months ago, the FCC approved a new spectrum for Wifi on aircrafts. Switching the Wifi spectrum to the 14.0-14.5 GHz range could add up to 60 Gbps for planes with in-flight Wifi. This would serve all airplanes with wireless across the US. Speeds up to 60 Mbps per user match those you might find from home Internet.

Of course with any wireless initiative like this, weather can still be a factor in your internet connection. From storms to sunspots your speeds may vary in the air. Still, to be able to rent a movie, download an album or even participate in a meeting 30,000 feet in the air sounds very promising.