Gogo is the leading provider of in-flight Wi-Fi service when you're traveling by plane, but depending on how many people are saturating the connection, you may have found speed to be less than ideal. Get ready for an upgrade. Gogo today announced a new service called Gogo GTO, or Ground to Orbit, which is a proprietary technology that will ultimately result in an increase in speed by more than six times the current performance.
The technology will pull receive transmissions to the plane from satellite and use Gogo's Air to Ground network for the return link (transmission to the ground). In doing so, Gogo says it can deliver Wi-Fi speeds of more than 60Mpbs to the aircraft. That's a tremendous increase over the 3.1Mbps the service debuted at five years ago, and well above current peak speeds of 9.8Mbps.
"The advantages of using satellite for reception only and Gogo's ATG Network for the return link are unprecedented. Existing two-way satellite antennas in the commercial aviation market have limited power for transmissions so they don't interfere with other satellites," Gogo explains. "This dynamic makes the connection from the aircraft to the ground using two-way satellite an inefficient and expensive return link compared to Gogo's ATG Network. Gogo's receive only antenna will be two times more spectrally efficient and half the height of other antennas in the commercial aviation market. The low profile of the antenna will result in much less drag and therefore fuel burn on the aircraft and, ultimately, greater operational efficiencies for airlines."
Virgin America is calling dibs on the service and will be Gogo's launch partner when the new speeds go into effect in the second half of 2014, pending FAA approval.