Aircraft broadband connectivity provider Gogo is developing its next-generation ground-based network to increase data rates for business and commercial aircraft flying in North America.
Expected to be available in 2018, the upgrade will provide network speeds of more than 100 Mbps to the aircraft — sufficient for video streaming — using LTE technology and Gogo's existing infrastructure of more than 250 towers. The upgraded air-to-ground network will use unlicensed spectrum, a proprietary modem and a new beam-forming antenna.
The upgraded service will be offered to business aviation, commercial regional jets and select narrow-body aircraft operating within the United States and Canada. Aircraft with one of Gogo's earlier generation air-to-ground technologies will only require a new modem and a low drag blade antenna, which can be installed overnight.
Anand Chari, Gogo's CTO, said, "Gogo's next generation network will also be backward-compatible with Gogo's first generation network, which means an aircraft will be able to seamlessly switch between Gogo's two networks, similar to how a cell phone on the ground connects to the fastest available network."
Air-to-ground links have lower latency than systems relaying data via satellite. Gogo also offers a Ku-Band satellite-based system that is being deployed this year and has orders for 1,200 aircraft, according to Chari.
Gogo leads the market for in-flight connectivity and wireless entertainment services, having partnerships with 16 commercial airlines and in-flight connectivity technology on more than 2,800 commercial aircraft and more than 7,000 business aircraft.