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JetBlue Launches Satellite-Based Inflight Wi-Fi

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the catching-up-on-news-up-here-alone dept.

Communications 79

First time accepted submitter spineas writes "JetBlue is rolling out a new form of inflight Wi-Fi operating from satellites instead of ground-based cell towers. Up to eight times faster than traditional inflight Wi-Fi, it will enable users to stream video whilst in the air, something that is nearly impossible to do with current dial-up speed access in aircraft."

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79 comments

frosty (-1, Troll)

realilskater (76030) | about 4 months ago | (#45676195)

piss

Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet .. (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 4 months ago | (#45676507)

... while flying ?

I mean, inside the cabin of a plane flying 30000 feet in the air is the only place on earth (aside from our own safe-houses) that we can get off people talking on their cells, people streaming porns, people wasting time (and money) playing online games and so on.

Why can't people just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet ?

Why must they bring all those hustle and bustle into one of the last quiet spaces left ?

Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (5, Insightful)

erice (13380) | about 4 months ago | (#45676625)

Why can't people just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet ?

Why must they bring all those hustle and bustle into one of the last quiet spaces left ?

What peace and quiet? Airline cabins are noisy (what do think noise canceling headphones were invented for?) and uncomfortable. Some of us can sleep through this after a fashion. Others would much rather get work done so they have to time to relax somewhere that is actually relaxing.

Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (2)

Solozerk (1003785) | about 4 months ago | (#45677015)

Why should we be forced to ?
Don't get me wrong, I usually sleep or read entertainment stuff (recently for me: either Pratchett or Iain M Banks - I heartily recommend his excellent Culture cycle, BTW) on airplanes, but what this is about is giving people choice in the matter. If you want to relax and "enjoy the peace and quiet", fine ! if you want to connect to the global planetary network, be it for work reasons or entertainment too, you should be given the choice.

I get what you're saying - but you can't say to people they *have* to relax just because they're traveling. I've co-founded and currently lead a small computer sciences startup and given the choice, I'd much prefer to read or sleep when I'm in an airplane. However, there were several times when I *had* to work (in my current job as well as the previous, more traditional / employed one) during travel to make sure I was ready upon arriving, just because I didn't have time before that to do it

Basically, what I'm saying here is: the more choice people have, the better. They might use the network to read their favorite news site (slashdot or some twitter feeds or other), or they might use the network to work, or they might simply relax using an old-fashioned book. The point is, if you add Internet connectivity to your flight, you are simply giving them more choice in the matter, which is good in my book.

Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 months ago | (#45677437)

Why can't people just relax and enjoy the peace and quiet ?

Relax? Not if you're over 5'6" or the person sitting next to you weighs more than 150 lbs. Airline seats are some of the least comfortable places I ever go; I've been more comfortable in porta-potties. If I can't rest I might as well get some work done (provided of course my battery holds out, as I can never seem to get planes with AC for charging my laptop). Bring on the wifi, I say.

Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (1)

Vlado (817879) | about 4 months ago | (#45678347)

While I do agree with you, that economy cabin seats could be more roomey and comfortable, I do think that you exaggerate.

I'm 6'1" and around 240 lbs and I have no problem relaxing on a plane. And before you say anything, I'm not spilling over to the person besides me either. What I do is simple: I always (if possible) get a window seat. That way I can lean on to the fuselage wall and away from the person besides me. I stretch my legs underneath the seat in front of me and I fall asleep. If I want to I can be asleep before we even take off.

I admit, if I were to get stuck in a middle row, I would be unhappy. But in the last 250 flights that only happened to me 7 times.

Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 months ago | (#45679159)

While I do agree with you, that economy cabin seats could be more roomey and comfortable, I do think that you exaggerate.

I'm 6'1" and around 240 lbs and I have no problem relaxing on a plane.

I'm 6'3" myself. I am happy if I can get a plane where my knees aren't hitting the seat in front of me. On top of that it appears that every time I fly the reclining ability of the steerage class seats diminishes a bit more; I've had non-bulkhead seats on some recent flights that did not recline at all. I find it nearly impossible to relax in an airline seat now.

Re:Why can't people just enjoy the peace and quiet (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 4 months ago | (#45684559)

I'm 6'1" and around 240 lbs and I have no problem relaxing on a plane. And before you say anything, I'm not spilling over to the person besides me either. What I do is simple: I always (if possible) get a window seat.

Aisle seats work about the same for me, with the added bonus of not needing to climb out over the two people sitting with me if I need to get up for whatever reason. I'll get a little extra room by leaning out into the aisle a bit, except when the stewardesses bring the drink cart past. I usually don't sleep when flying, unless it's a redeye (and I've not flown one of those in a long time).

Middle seats suck colon. Fortunately, they're easy enough to avoid most of the time.

Cool ... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676209)

United did it first :)

Re:Cool ... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45680231)

Wasn't their system ground based?

Re:Cool ... but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45682605)

I don't know about United, but Boeng had a satellite-based system [wikipedia.org] 10 years ago. I'm pretty sure it was satellite based because it worked while on an international flight over the Bering Sea. It failed because it was just too expensive and people would rather just wait a few hours to get to the airport. My flight took place during the 2 month period between when they decided to shut it down and stopped charging for it and when they actually shut it down. The service was excellent, but there was no way in hell I was paying an extra $30 for it.

Oh please (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676215)

I connected to a Slingbox over a VPN after doing a Facetime conversation with my parents via GoGo. It's plenty fast enough for video.

Re:Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45677221)

It only takes a couple of you a$$holes to ruin the GoGo connection for everybody else. You're the reason I can't SSH while using GoGo these days, while early on the latency was manageable.

Re:Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45680293)

Gogo is currently ground based for the most part. Ku Satellite based service is still being deployed and is not likely to be on the aircraft you are on yet, unless it's an overseas flight.

So, about Slashdot (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676295)

This is just another Press Release site, isn't it?

Re:So, about Slashdot (4, Insightful)

Typical Slashdotter (2848579) | about 4 months ago | (#45676425)

How would you like Slashdot to cover this? It's clearly within their scope, and they never claimed to have original journalism for these sorts of things, so they're left linking to other people's coverage. What Slashdot brings to the table is gathering these sorts of stories in one place and (more importantly) the comment section.

Re:So, about Slashdot (1)

Vlado (817879) | about 4 months ago | (#45678377)

My problem here is that this is announced as something that could be a global first.

It's only new for the Jetblue. Lots of other carriers had this for years and years. I remember I flew with Lufthansa somewhere between 7 and 10 years ago and they were doing this. And yes, I'm fairly sure it was satelite-based since it was on a transatlantic flight.
The only thing is that at that time the service while being free, was fairly useless for economy passengers, since there was no electrical power in the cabin and at that time and my laptop could only go on a couple of hours on batteries, there were no smartphones to speak of and no tablets. Now, however, I still find it useless, since they want to charge for it. And it's my opinion that I pay enough for the flight ticket as is. :-)

Re:So, about Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676429)

This is another useless comment isn't it?

How many? (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#45676311)

Sure perhaps a few people can stream video over this connection, but I really doubt one satellite link would hold up to even ten people using Netflix...

Re:How many? (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#45676363)

At $9 per hour for streaming I doubt they'll overload the link. And for that price they can add more bandwidth if needed.

Re:How many? (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 4 months ago | (#45676413)

Frankly if there are hotels charging up to $17.95 per day [starwoodhotels.com] for wifi in a fixed location this is really a perfect example for Louis CK [youtube.com] . $9 an hour for high speed internet, while 'flying through the air like a bird' is a bargain.

Re:How many? (5, Insightful)

Tiek00n (1932558) | about 4 months ago | (#45676751)

Full disclosure: I work for the company that JetBlue is partnered with to provide the satellite link, and I work on this project specifically.

There was a media flight yesterday morning that had a bunch of aviation press on it, all trying to push the system to its limits. Here's what one blogger [jaunted.com] had to say: "Speedtests proved that the WiFi remained fast, registering between 12-28 Mbps, even with over 60 devices connected and pushing activities like Netflix Instant, Google Video Hangouts, Ustream live streaming, and Skype calls." Engadget [engadget.com] also has more details about the media flight.

There are obviously a lot of posts about the service, but out of the ~10 that I read those had the most details about Wednesday morning's actual flight.

Re:How many? (1)

kmahan (80459) | about 4 months ago | (#45676969)

What kind of latency numbers do you get?

Re:How many? (4, Interesting)

Tiek00n (1932558) | about 4 months ago | (#45677591)

I think I've seen sub 600ms, but on the order of 800ms may be more typical? Maybe around a second? I was on flights a few months back so I don't remember the numbers offhand. Coming from a cable connection at home I expected to find the lag to be a bit more bothersome than it was, but that could be a function of my activities (with video/audio streaming, the delay doesn't matter as much). Geo satellites are 22,000 mi up, so that's 500+ms of travel time. Which actually makes 600ms seem less realistic, so maybe that wasn't a real number. Sorry for a rambling response that doesn't really answer the question.

Re:How many? (1)

dhaen (892570) | about 4 months ago | (#45678511)

Latency will be affected by the return channel path (satellite or ground) and to a lesser extent, how far from the equator the flight path is.

Re:How many? (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 4 months ago | (#45708205)

First, thanks for sharing the technical details. You're among friends.

Second, I see this level of latency as a feature, not a bug. Much below 250ms and you'll have VoIP. At this level, email sync, file transfers (music and video) work fine, but RTC won't.

This is EXACTLY what I want on a flight. Either the ability to watch streaming movies & listen to music with my headphones on, or talk quietly to a neighbor while doing work on the laptop and NOT hearing everyone else have phone calls.

Re:How many? (2)

stonebit (2776195) | about 4 months ago | (#45677653)

Earth to Sat is about 100ms. Round trip (plane to sat to earth dish to server to dish to sat to plane) with internet and server latency adds up to about 500-600ms. Communications are half that (time for your data to get to your friend), which is not bad since 200ms is when humans start to notice delay. No gaming, but websites and streaming will be fine.

Re:How many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45678683)

Young whippersnappers. We played first person shooters via analog modem on servers located half-way around the world. 800ms is playable, if you got skills.

Re:How many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45679295)

This is actually pretty cool, but thats one plane with 80 people. A real show of speed will be when their entire fleet is in the air full of people pushing it.

Impressive, I stand corrected (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#45682449)

Well I have to admit that's a lot more data than any normal flight would ever see. So I fully retract my statement and also offer congratulations on what seems to be a pretty excellent system!

I'm sure the latency is not that great as others asked about, but really that will not matter a lot to most people. Plenty good enough for browsing and video use.

FUCK /. BETA! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676337)

Anyone else forced to beta.slashdot.org when coming from RSS. That has got to be the shittiest "Web 2.0" space-inefficient layout imaginable. I'm done with /.

Forking Slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676995)

we need a plan on how to fork Slashdot if that becomes necessary.

It is ironic (in a classical sense) how the site that laughs at companies like Canonical and Microsoft that have oversimplified and downgraded their user interfaces is now planning to do the same.

Oh dear.

I guess someone will write a "classic /." Firefox extension, but it will probably remove all the commercials by default...

Is there any way to get the "classic" version of S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45677693)

I want the old version. This blows.

Re:Is there any way to get the "classic" version o (1)

jbdigriz (8030) | about 4 months ago | (#45678245)

Go to the home page. Scroll down to the bottom. You'll see it.

I'm assuming the Beta site is is sparse because it's, well, beta, and still pretty skeletal.

So this means I shouldn't... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#45676393)

Streaming video over in-flight WiFi? So this means I shouldn't check my notebook [youtube.com] ?

Re:So this means I shouldn't... (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 4 months ago | (#45676735)

Streaming video over in-flight WiFi? So this means I shouldn't check my notebook [youtube.com] ?

Airlines tell you to never check anything valuable or fragile.

If you need any more convincing, just talk to a baggage handler :).

But seriously, I've used WiFi on two airlines, on QANTAS it was barely usable but the number of page timeouts were so frustrating I ended up watching videos. On Southwest it was utterly useless, not even a single page loaded. JetBlue will be the same or worse.

Re:So this means I shouldn't... (2)

isorox (205688) | about 4 months ago | (#45676803)

Streaming video over in-flight WiFi? So this means I shouldn't check my notebook [youtube.com] ?

Sadly more and more people refuse to check any bags, leading to flights over boarding first, massive problems in the overhead bins, high stress, and delayed flights.

Re:So this means I shouldn't... (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 4 months ago | (#45677627)

Streaming video over in-flight WiFi? So this means I shouldn't check my notebook [youtube.com] ?

Sadly more and more people refuse to pay to check any bags, leading to flights over boarding first, massive problems in the overhead bins, high stress, and delayed flights.

seriously, a total ripoff. i'm surprised they don't start charging for overhead luggage space. although if you bring your stuff to the gate and there's no baggage bin room, they usually gate check it for free.

Re:So this means I shouldn't... (2)

Tiek00n (1932558) | about 4 months ago | (#45677991)

There are airlines that charge you for each carry-on that you have. I know Spirit Airlines does this, and I've heard that there are others but I'm not sure which.

Re:So this means I shouldn't... (1)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 4 months ago | (#45684733)

There are airlines that charge you for each carry-on that you have. I know Spirit Airlines does this

Frontier does this for some passengers, though I think there are still ways to avoid the fee that don't involve paying more for your seat.

On a recent flight, I overheard that Spirit had bought Frontier. Tried googling it just now...turns out that Frontier was purchased by a private-equity firm headed up by a former chairman at Spirit [foxbusiness.com] . Given that my first (and last) experience with Spirit was total suckage in nearly every possible way (they canceled the return flight and had everyone fend for themselves until the next morning...my wife and I would've been stuck at LAX overnight if her brother-in-law hadn't gotten us out of there and back), this doesn't bode well for Frontier.

Re:So this means I shouldn't... (1)

isorox (205688) | about 4 months ago | (#45678173)

Streaming video over in-flight WiFi? So this means I shouldn't check my notebook [youtube.com] ?

Sadly more and more people refuse to pay to check any bags, leading to flights over boarding first, massive problems in the overhead bins, high stress, and delayed flights.

seriously, a total ripoff. i'm surprised they don't start charging for overhead luggage space. although if you bring your stuff to the gate and there's no baggage bin room, they usually gate check it for free.

The airlines I fly allow you to check for free. Doesn't help. I'd be delighted if they charged for overhead space, or just make a charge for any "hand luggage" with wheels. If you're too lazy to carry your essentials, you should be forced to check them.

Re:So this means I shouldn't... (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 4 months ago | (#45678373)

Sadly more and more people refuse to check any bags, leading to flights over boarding first, massive problems in the overhead bins, high stress, and delayed flights.

It's the airlines' fault for hidden charges for checked bags, and so it's only right that they reap the fallout.

Personally, I wish airlines would do away with their checked baggage fees. Besides the obvious, I'd also like to be able to take more than 10oz of hair gel, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc., when I travel. Not to mention a pocket knife, nail clippers, etc, which TSA won't allow in the cabin but are fine if checked.

Southwest has gotten a lot of mileage out of their "bags fly free" advertising campaign, making fools of the other airlines. And so when I need to fly, I check their routes and rates first.

Sattelites, how do they work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676409)

Economically, I mean.

Does JetBlue "rent" them off some company? How much does it cost to rent bandwidth on a satellite? Or did they launch their own? I'd be interested to know how much this all costs.

Re:Sattelites, how do they work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676453)

It will cost more than you and all your children will make in your entire lifetimes because you are a god damned moron.

Re:Sattelites, how do they work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676483)

Does JetBlue "rent" them off some company? How much does it cost to rent bandwidth on a satellite? Or did they launch their own? I'd be interested to know how much this all costs.

The technical infrastructure is provided by a third party that also offers satellite internet using their own satellite in the US. Pricing for 12 down, 3 up start at $50. I work indirectly for this company and I don't want to spam so no links.

Congratulations! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676455)

Now they can join american, united, lufhansa, and all the other carriers that have sat based wifi.

Re:Congratulations! (1)

black3d (1648913) | about 4 months ago | (#45676657)

Yeah, my thoughts entirely. Was a little surprised this was making "news" since I've been using sat-based wifi whilst flying over the Pacific for a few years now on several carriers.

Re:Congratulations! (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 4 months ago | (#45676711)

Let me know when they offer free wifi. Jetblue is offering free wifi with a video streaming upgrade for $9 per month (to use satellite internet).

Re:Congratulations! (2)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 4 months ago | (#45676753)

I think you misread that.

First, during the trial period, it's free. There is no comment as to how much it will cost after June 2014. Second, it's $9 per hour. So $18 to watch, say, a two hour movie. A bit pricey, methinks.

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676793)

If $9/hour high-speed Internet decreases the base price of the tickets for those of us who don't need 24/7 stimulation, then I'm all for it.

Re:Congratulations! (1)

swillden (191260) | about 4 months ago | (#45677213)

I think you misread that.

First, during the trial period, it's free. There is no comment as to how much it will cost after June 2014. Second, it's $9 per hour. So $18 to watch, say, a two hour movie. A bit pricey, methinks.

Sounds good to me. It just means that the only people who use it will be business travelers whose companies are paying. I'll actually be able to get some work done.

Re:Congratulations! (4, Informative)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 4 months ago | (#45677329)

Nope, the basic service is actually free. The streaming plan initially free but will be charged at 9/hr later. Here is their pamplet [imgur.com] and a news source [consumerist.com] talking about this

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45677955)

Mod Up!

Re:Congratulations! (1)

espiesp (1251084) | about 4 months ago | (#45677499)

GoGo in-flight wifi is cell based, not sat based, unless something has changed in the past week.

Re:Congratulations! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45678113)

They are trying to do Sat wifi. Maybe not successfully, but they offer it.

http://www.gogoair.com/international/

Re:Congratulations! (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#45680387)

I believe that they have successful deployments using SAT. But this is pretty new stuff for them. Most of their equipment uses ground based stations for which they where granted an exclusive FCC licenses. I'm sure that the majority of their installs are currently ground based and will continue to be ground based for a long time.

Re:Congratulations! (1)

Tiek00n (1932558) | about 4 months ago | (#45681041)

Gogo's satellite based system won't go live until "second half of 2014" Source [arstechnica.com] . Their system is currently only air-to-ground (they actually call it ATG).

"Wi-Fi operating from satellites" (4, Funny)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#45676541)

I can't even get my laptop to connect from the corner of the garden. That's some serious WiFi power!

Re:"Wi-Fi operating from satellites" (2, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 4 months ago | (#45678939)

The Netgear router has been taped to the satellite for months, but it was only last week that they were able to attach the Pringles can.

moar low earth orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676663)

if as one person mentioned this same provider sells land-based customers the service for 50 bucks its as far as i know gotta be geosynchronous which is super high latency. need a web of a jillion low earth orbit, or suborbital balloons or something

Re:moar low earth orbit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676977)

Not necessarily. If they have a spectrum license that gives them rights nationwide, with rights to spill over into Canada and Mexico, they COULD have 6-12 satellites in low orbit acting like 200 mile high cell towers a-la-Iridium. More likely, though, is that it's a combination of terrestrial wimax uplink and satellite downlink. If they proxied it in a way that sent small files and AJAX traffic over wimax, and large files & streams over satellite, the latency wouldn't be bad at all. Years ago, I worked on a project that did basically that using ISDN for the uplink/limited downlink and Hughes for the bulk downlink. We had some added VPN logic so we could begin streaming responses to the satellite, then abort and just send it back over ISDN if the proxy realized the response was small enough to reach the customer faster via slow ISDN with low latency than via fast satellite with high latency. It actually worked quite well... until Hughes silently amended their secret TOS to define VPN and other "opaque" traffic as "abuse", and FAP'ed it to the point of commercial uselessness (which was always everyone's #1 complaint with Hughes... they'd never actually come out and TELL you what their specific rules were... they'd just lie in wait, then unleash hellfire and vengeance on you for breaking rules they'd barely even admit existed, and would never elaborate upon).

almost impossible? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45676691)

streamed free NFL Channel on Southwest many many months ago. And my daughter streamed cartoons from the same service. Both with minimal buffering at the onset and youtube quality video.

Speed Test 20 Mb/s (5, Informative)

Poisonous Drool (526798) | about 4 months ago | (#45676769)

My friend did a speed test on JetBlue today and got 20 Mb/s. He isn't very technical so I assume he did the test on his iPhone or iPad. He said there was over 100 devices connected on his flight. He's a JB pilot but was in the back on this flight. He said the service is free until April. Take it for what it is worth.

Re:Speed Test 20 Mb/s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45678983)

He isn't very technical

He's a JB pilot

That isn't very reassuring.

whilst? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45677271)

never saw that word before. I had to look it up.

I don't know who you've been flying... (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 4 months ago | (#45677409)

But the last time I paid for wifi in flight (one of the gogo services on Delta, IIRC) it was way faster than dial-up speed. I was easily able to check email, read the news, search for research papers, and download relevant items during my previous 2.5 hour flight. If it were at dial-up speed I would not have been able to even finish downloading the first of several papers that I found during that flight.

Re:I don't know who you've been flying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45678131)

Agreed. I flew Delta for a number of years exclusively and used their gogo service frequently. I'm certain it was nowhere near 20 Mb/s, but it was far better than dial-up.

Re:I don't know who you've been flying... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 4 months ago | (#45679335)

It's a modified 3G CDMA connection with a Qualcomm modified chipset allowing for up to a 2K doppler shift in frequency handling. It's distributed via multiple APs on the aircraft and when you're close to a tower, you get reasonable speed. If there's a lot of people using it or your near the fringe distance away from the tower you'll see higher latency which is natural with 3G CDMA. If you're over the Nevada desert or the Rocky Mountains, you'll get sucky performance. We were the first to work with AirCell (GoGo) and it wasn't smooth sailing. For example, the antenna design wasn't great at first and when the plane banked for example, we'd drop connections. It has gotten better over the years but that was in the 2005/6 time frame.

Current wifi doesn't use cell towers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45678119)

"JetBlue is rolling out a new form of inflight Wi-Fi operating from satellites instead of ground-based cell towers."

No current airline internet system uses cell towers. They are all satellite based.

Re:Current wifi doesn't use cell towers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45679449)

http://www.gogoair.com/gogo/cms/work.do

Gogo Internet operates on wireless signals provided by Gogo’s Air-To-Ground network, a reliable network of cellular towers spanning from sea to shining sea. While The Gogo Network has wired the entire continental United States for skyward Wi-Fi, actual signal strength and coverage may vary by altitude and network traffic volume

Re:Current wifi doesn't use cell towers (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 4 months ago | (#45680549)

"JetBlue is rolling out a new form of inflight Wi-Fi operating from satellites instead of ground-based cell towers."

No current airline internet system uses cell towers. They are all satellite based.

Actually, it is almost the opposite, at least here in the US. Most airborne data services today are ground based, with satellite services being new and usually reserved for long over water international routes.

buych (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45678271)

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Service is Viasat AKA Wildblue (2)

storkus (179708) | about 4 months ago | (#45678817)

http://www.viasat.com/news/high-speed-internet-now-flying-jetblue-launches-service-using-viasat-high-capacity-ka-band-broadband [viasat.com]

I remember reading this a year ago or so when the home service launched, but I guess /. missed it. This kind of portable/mobile use is being heavily marketed for homeland security, SNG (Satellite News Gathering), and other high-end markets, while they continue to give the middle finger to RVers, truckers, etc--I guess the home system is locked to the spotbeam its activated on so you can't roam outside it, unlike HughesNet. Personally, I'd love their little portable flyaway system, but at a price of $20k or so, oh well.

News to noone who's flown lately (1)

JohnnyComeLately (725958) | about 4 months ago | (#45684257)

I just flew 2 days ago on SouthWest and watched NFL and Discovery Channel the whole way via Wifi with my iPad (3rd gen). No glitches, ran fine. They utilize DishTV receivers I believe and you have about 15-20 channels to chose live broadcast from. You can pay for internet, but seriously, there's nothing so pressing on the Internet I can't wait 2 hours to access (for free at the airport).

Fast, yes, but also laggy (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | about 4 months ago | (#45699189)

Yes, it has impressive speed. The unfortunate thing is that it's laggy. That's inherent to satellite internet. Very poor ping times are a result of the signal traveling to the satellite and back. Big downloads and streaming usually works well, but website surfing can be annoying because the browser has to wait after it requests to download every element for the data to be transferred. This can be made much less noticeable by pre-fetching some of the content before the last element is downloaded and by caching things like DNS communications. But for real time stuff like video conferencing, VOIP and gaming there is not much that can be done. I suppose it would depend on whether you will be doing that on a flight.
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