Wireless Internet inside plane

I just used reasonably priced wireless Internet in plane. I flew yesterday with Norwegian Boeing 737 plane. When the plane took off there was a surprising announcement on the plane: This plane has a free wireless Internet system on board. As soon as the plane is in flying altitude and the fasten your seatbelt light has bee turned on you are free to start to use your tablet or laptop with WLAN. Norwegian says that it is the first flight company that offers WiFi internet in the plane in Europe.

I tried the WLAN connection with a small tablet (5″ Deal Android tablet). When I opened the web browser I was forwarded to Norwegian plane home page that gave view to flight information like flight time, altitude, speed and route map. Quite ueful. That page has a button to activate free Internet connection. When I pressed I was forwarded to a web address in row44.com domain. The registering felt to be taking long time (at least 30 seconds). After registering Internet connection worked. I could access Internet well, but the connection had noticeable latency (extra several seconds) every time I opened a web page. But after some waiting things worked quite similarly what I would get with Internet through cellular network data (works but takes time to load pages). So not very broadband connection but worked acceptably.

I tried to figure out some details of the system they used. When looking at WLAN frequency use I saw there were two different channels in use with same similar naming. I quess they have two WLAN basestations on different channels to cover the airplane, not just one base station. The system seems use some form of Web Accelerator server on board. I got some 504 errors sometimes, and the error page told that the web accelerator system had problem with satellite connection. So based on that the system seems to be using a satellite uplink from plane to Internet. I could not do any actual performance testing of the network, because I could not get any speed test pages to work on my tablet (I am not sure if that problem was with my crappy tablet or if those pages were somwhow blocked). Some general details of the system can be found at Row 44 web page.


I think that Internet connection during flight is a good idea. Norwegian is planning to offer WLAN in all of it’s planes during 2012. I am waiting for other flight companies to catch up on this.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    International Telecommunication Union ITU indicates that the frequency range of 1087.7 ​​to 1092.3 MHz is allocated to continuous monitoring of aircraft.

    In the past, these ADS-B frequencies (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) is used for communication between the aircraft and ground stations LOS connections (line-of-sight), or a link operates as between aircraft and the ground station is line of sight. 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface has been the ADS-B out of reach.

    Continuous monitoring of aircraft frequencies set in the ongoing WRC15 radio at the meeting.

    In 2017 the ADS-B receivers satellites will be moving the ADS-B signals of all the earth fly the aircraft control towers throughout the world. This makes all aircraft equipped with ADS-B transmitter business data practically in real time.

    The solution enables aircraft can be monitored on the high seas, deserts, polar regions and mountainous areas, where the machines have so far been outside the radar field of view.

    In addition, the system increases the information on aircraft movements can therefore help to optimize the machines air routes.

    In the United States each aircraft must be installed in the transmitter at the latest in 2020.

    Source: http://etn.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3595:lentokoneiden-jatkuva-seuranta-sai-taajuudet&catid=13&Itemid=101

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
    Amazon Video, Music And More Now Available On Majority Of JetBlue’s “Fly-Fi” Enabled Planes

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Wi-Fi network named ‘mobile detonation device’ grounds plane
    Fears spark two-hour delay as nervous passengers disembark

    Australian airline QANTAS delayed a flight for two hours on Saturday after a passenger reported seeing a Wi-Fi network named “Mobile detonation device”.

    The passenger reported the network’s name to crew, who in turn reported it to the captain of the 737, which was due to fly from Melbourne to Perth.

    The captain demanded that the offending device be produced, an order that apparently had no result.

    Crew were eventually satisfied the SSID posed no threat and the plane made it to Perth without incident, albeit a couple of hours late.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Brian Heater / TechCrunch:
    JetBlue completes its rollout of Fly-Fi, with free high-speed Wi-Fi on all planes

    JetBlue today announced that it has officially completed its fleet-wide rollout of Fly-Fi, bringing free wireless internet to all of its planes. The carrier first introduced the service in late 2013, bringing speeds of around 12 to 15Mbps — far surprising the wireless offerings available on other domestic flights at the time.

  5. tomi says:

    I use Amazon for hosting.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FCC Kills Plan To Allow Mobile Phone Conversations On Flights

    On Monday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a plan to allow mobile phone calls during commercial airline flights. Since 2013, the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have considered allowing airline passengers to talk on the phones during flights, although the FAA also proposed rules requiring airlines to give passengers notice if they planned to allow phone calls.

    US FCC kills plan to allow mobile phone conversations on flights
    The FCC’s chairman reverses course on a 2013 plan to allow you to place phone calls during flights.


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