High-speed broadband Internet takes flight

Boeing has announced the first installation of an in-flight, wireless high-speed broadband service on a business-class 737 aircraft.

The system – which was designed and configured by Panasonic Avionics – will be used for ongoing testing and validation, as well as for live demonstrations.

The wireless broadband system is slated to support a wide range of passenger and crew applications, including ultra high-speed Internet access to passengers anywhere in the world at speeds of up to 50 Mbps – approximately 100 times the speed of the fastest Internet currently available on airplanes.

So, how does it work?

Well, the the fuselage-mounted antenna communicates through a global network of satellites and provides higher data rates than tail-mounted antennas typically used on business aviation aircraft.

The BBJ (Boeing business jet) is ideally suited for carrying a larger and more capable antenna than traditional sized business jets so global coverage is indeed possible.

A Panasonic Avionics spokesperson told TG Daily that the high-speed broadband system, dubbed eXConnect, supports cabin-wide connectivity, and has already been sold to a number of airlines, including Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and Turkish Airlines.