Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet – Airplane Wifi my thoughts and experiences
As a traveler and with the advent of Wifi availability on some flights now I thought I would sit down and provide some feedback on my thoughts and experiences.
First of all there was a report card that really got me thinking about this topic.
Gogo is the provider I’m most familiar with as they are the one I have seen on flights and in airports that don’t supply free Internet. That is an off topic post at some point but really if you are major airport these days that don’t provide free Internet I don’t understand why you wouldn’t expect a business traveler to avoid landing and having layovers at your airport. I have a list now of airports that I avoid for this reason but I will move on as I think this point has been made.
First expectations and thoughts
- Planning on playing a graphic intensive game – NO
- Planning on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime – NO
- Downloading books or magazines – maybe but I would do it before hand.
In the testing I did on Speedtest.net the high of bandwidth overall for the plan was about 700k and I have read that the overall shared total for a plane is 3.1Mbps which in this day and age is very slow and will cause you high frustration. There are some beta tests out there of approximately 10 Mbps but this is a just Internet rumor I have read at this point and I wouldn’t want to confirm.
The next thing I would tell you is that there also is some regulating that is happening as I have seen people trying to use Skype had their connections go offline. I was still able to download email and cruise the net but high load VoIP and streaming seems to get cut off or slowed down to the point people move on.
Couple of things to think about – Security / Background Tasks
- Security is a challenge – the WiFi connection is unsecure and a hacker or person with knowledge to see your computer or tablet if it isn’t secure so make sure you have updated to lasts fixes from your vendor and have taken security precautions as you would for any unsecure network.
- Turn off autoupdates, background tasks and anything else that is going to be using Data when you don’t have the bandwidth for it. It will speed up your experience and allow you to do what the airline WIFI is be for which is consumption.
A Honeywell survey shows that many fliers would give up vital amenities for better wireless Internet. Fully 13 percent of Americans surveyed said they’d ditch the restroom for a stronger connection. I can’t say I’m one of those… but I guess they are out there.
Finally, if WIFI is that important to you when you travel make sure it’s on your plane. You have to check either your reservation, airline website or one of the best sites I found is Seat Guru http://www.seatguru.com/.
Overall, the experience is fair, but getting better every day. There have been several announcements lately about companies working on new technology, some have upgrades coming already and we all know this will be faster in the future.
I hope never fast enough for cell, voice, or video calls. Sorry Skype, but I don’t want to sit next to someone having a business meeting or worse…. Which I could only imagine what worse is these days….