Inflight Wi-Fi has never been good. Actually, it’s been pretty poor given how much technology has evolved over the years. Trying to browse the Web on an airplane is a painful practice in patience. When you’re thousands of feet in the air, crammed into a small bucket seat next to strangers, the situation becomes pretty dire. But fear not: Gogo this week announced inflight Wi-Fi speeds are about to get six times faster.
Currently, Gogo uses an Air-to-Ground (ATG) spectrum that supplies planes with speeds of about 3Mbps to 10Mbps. That, of course, is in the best possible conditions; the more the Wi-Fi is used, the slower it goes—and so goes your sanity. However, the company is about to use a new system in conjunction with its existing ATG spectrum that Gogo claims will supply users with speeds of up to 60Mbps.
Gogo’s supply of new satellites will be responsible for providing the faster download speeds, while ATG spectrum will be used solely for upload speeds. Chances are you aren’t uploading anything of importance mid-flight anyway, at least anything that will clog up the network, but download speeds should no longer be an issue. For frequent business travelers, having Internet that’ll actually allow you do be productive is a huge relief.
Unfortunately, actually outfitting planes with new antennas to grab the faster speeds will take some time. Gogo is scheduled to start a slow rollout later this year, but the actual final implementation of all moving parts isn’t set to go live until the second half of 2014. So while it’s not the immediate gratification some would hope for, at least we know better Wi-Fi is coming to planes at some point.