How LTE Can Deliver In-flight Broadband

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  • Author: Dr. Paul Moakes

Today, we have come to expect wireless connectivity almost everywhere, with widely-available 3G and 4G networks enabling consumers to stay online at all times, taking advantage of fast connections and low costs. Statistica reports that in 2016 the average mobile data usage per subscriber in the United States was roughly 3900 Megabytes per month.The services provided so far often use connectivity to satellites, but this is always going to be a costly option, and will struggle to provide the bandwidth needed once more than a few passengers on a plane have logged on.

Connecting from an aircraft traveling at typical cruising speeds of over 900km/h, and at an altitude of above 10,000 metres, creates a specific set of technical challenges. In particular, the network must be able to support high speeds and large cell sizes as well as flight certification for airborne equipment.

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