12 September 2013 – Its been long that business class passengers are using the latest technology even in the air, what about you? if you are willing to update your in-flight movements to your social profile but you are unable to use internet on board? That situation would soon be gone as Gogo will team up with Virgin America to offer advanced Internet service on its planes via a new ground- and satellite-based system.
Gogo’s new Ground to Orbit (GTO) service will use satellite for transmissions to the plane and the Gogo Air to Ground network for transmission to the ground. Virgin America will be the first airline to offer GTO, scheduled to launch in the second half of 2014.
According to Gogo, the GTO service will be capable of offering more than 60 Mbps to the aircraft.
“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,” Gogo’s president and CEO, Michael Small, said in a statement. “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 was the first to implement that next-gen service, dubbed ATG-4, and GTO “will be another leap forward in terms of speed and performance of in–flight Wi-Fi for our guests,” David Cush, president and CEO of Virgin America, said in a statement. “Because we are a Silicon Valley-based airline, Virgin America guests expect a fully connected in–flight experience that enables them to remain productive even at 35,000 feet.”
Gogo said it will be using a Ku antenna with receive-only functionality. Existing two-way satellite antennas are limited to avoid interference with other satellites, so connecting via aircraft is “inefficient and expensive return link compared to Gogo’s ATG Network,” Gogo said.
“Gogo’s receive only antenna will be two times more spectrally efficient and half the height of other antennas in the commercial aviation market,” according to the company. “The low profile of the antenna will result in much less drag and therefore fuel burn on the aircraft and, ultimately, greater operational efficiencies for airlines.”
Gogo’s setup also means it can take advantage of future Ku technologies without having to replace equipment.
Gogo still needs to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, but said it does not believe Federal Communications Commission approval is required since the antenna is receive only.