WiFi In Commercial Flights?
For instance, the operator GoGo (North America) has deployed more than 160 antennas that, instead of being set to transmit and receive signals via 3G, they are pointing to the sky. In this way, planes are connected via 3G to these antennas and they can offer data connectivity to their passengers. The main disadvantage is the higher speed that this system can offer: 3,1 Mbps. At the moment, GoGo is working in an improvement up to 9,8 Mbps.
However the future of in-flight WiFi seems to be in the use of intermediate satellites to perform the communication plane-Earth. There are different modes depending on the frequency band in which they work: ku band satellites (this band is mainly used by television frequencies), L band satellites (used by Singapore Airlines and Emirates) and Ka band satellites (used by some radar and traffic control systems). This last band is the one that GoGo has chosen to launch its services by the end of 2015, reaching the 12 Mbps.
During the last years, the demand for mobile communication systems has spectacularly increased: at present, there are 6,800 million of mobile devices for a population of 7,000 people million in the world, and it is expected that, by 2014, there will be 7,300 million, according to the ITU. That is the reason why these systems have evolved, developing new technologies more efficient each time. The latest standard in mobile communication systems, Long Term Evolution (LTE) shows this evolution. It incorporates highly efficient techniques such as OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and other techniques like MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output). In the next post, we will see the characteristics of the physical layer of LTE, mainly OFDM, in order to justify why its use is strikingly increasing in mobile communications.
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