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LTEplane
Summary:

Will there be a day when we shall see commercial planes connecting to the Internet at LTE speeds? A recent test by Ericsson gives hope to the possibility, though it is more likely that superfast trains are more likely to see LTE speeds.

Most of us who fly on commercial Internet-enabled flights, struggle with the connections, and slow speeds result in surly tweets. So when I read that Ericsson has successfully tested 4G connections on a moving jet-plane, I am hopeful about the future.

Ericsson tested a LTE/4G internet connection on board of a jet plane flying at speeds of 700 kilometers per hour (435 mph) at low altitiudes (300 meters above ground) and were able to get about 19 megabits per second. Given that commercial planes fly at over approximately 9100 meters (or about 30,000 feet), the test is no where near the real life, but still notable.

The test was conducted on two laptops with LTE dongles. A web cam was connected to the PCs and the video was streamed to the ground team. The video stream worked well, barring a few incidents when the connections were handed over from one base-station to another. The handover from two base stations was pretty good even at 500 km/h.

Clearly, we are not going to see this in commercial deployments anytime soon, but there is one upside to it all: LTE/4G will work really well on ultra high-speed trains especially the kind in Europe and Japan.

  1. Glenn Fleishman Friday, November 2, 2012

    Gogo said years ago it planned to use LTE with its network, but I’m not sure where that stands. They have 1.5 MHz uplink and downlink.

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    1. GoGo has failed to keep up with demand and now i just groan every time I pay them money. It is the inverse of “magic” that used to be associated with inflight broadband in the nearly days

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