Soon You Can Live-Stream with In-Flight Wi-Fi at 25,000 Feet
The one place where you could shut down your phone for a few hours is no longer sacrosanct.
The Honeywell Aerospace Connected Aircraft World Tour plane was in India recently to demonstrate the kind of internet connectivity you can get up in the air.
The Quint was invited on board to try it out, and that's just what we did. Check out our Facebook Live broadcast from 25,000 feet in the air above the Indian subcontinent.
We spoke with Honeywell Aerospace India president Neelu Khatri and Sasi Kancharla, customer business leader during the course of the Live broadcast, for which we used the in-flight Wi-Fi.
How Does In-Flight Internet Connectivity Work?
Honeywell had announced its plans to equip aircrafts with Wi-Fi a few months ago.
The firm has now set out on a world tour with its B757 Connected Aircraft to showcase the technology.
Here are some of the things that in-flight Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity can enable.
Hi-Speed Internet Connectivity
For passengers, the biggest advantage is being able to stay connected to the Internet even in the air. Honeywell's Sasi Kancharla says that bandwidth speeds of 50 Mbps are available for every connected aircraft cabin.
Easy Aircraft Maintenance
The system constantly sends data up to InmarSat's satellite, which then beams it down to the ground. At any point of time, the satellite antenna reads up to 50 beams, allowing for seamless connectivity.
The sensors on board the aircraft can pick up data from the various systems and send it to maintenance engineers on the ground, who can then prepare to service the aircraft in advance, instead of having to wait for pilot's notes and a physical inspection once it lands. This will reduce turnaround time for airlines.
Advance Weather System Warnings
With high-speed Internet connectivity, pilots can get detailed weather information in advance from ground-based systems instead of having to rely only on the weather radar on the aircraft. This will help in planning route changes to negotiate turbulent patterns. In turn, this will ensure smoother flights for passengers.
Better Fuel Efficiency
Honeywell's Go Direct system, which runs on satellite connectivity, can also predict and calculate in advance the amount of fuel that various flight manoeuvres will require. This will allow pilots to chart their routes better and help the airline cut fuel costs in the long run.
Although in-flight internet connectivity is not new, Honeywell claims that the KA band system it is using is faster than the earlier KU band. The system, branded Jetwave, will allow passengers to stream video or chat with people on the ground from the air. The system is already operational in airlines such as Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways among others.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation in India has been looking at the security issues surrounding in-flight Internet connectivity.
How much will you have to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi? Well, that's something for the airline to decide – some may offer it for free for an initial period.