Science

Watch | How does WiFi work on planes?

A video on how internet services through WiFi works on airplanes

The central government has permitted airlines operating in India to provide in-flight WiFi services to passengers.

WiFi in airplanes let you use your gadgets with an internet connection just like on ground, but with the flight mode turned on.

As inflight WiFi becomes available in more and more airlines, ever wondered how it works at 40,000 feet?

There are two systems of connectivity for inflight WiFi - Air-to-ground and satellite.

Air-to-ground system is a ground based system that works similar to mobile data network on cell phones. There are towers that project signals upwards unlike mobile data towers that projects downwards. Antennae fitted beneath the airplanes receive signals from these towers and send them to an onboard server. The server has a modem that converts these signals, thereby providing WiFi to passengers. These towers are connected to operation centres run by service providers.

In Satellite based WiFi system, antennae are fitted on the top of airplanes. Antennae receive signals from satellites orbiting the earth. The antennae need to constantly adjust their position to receive signals as both the satellite and the airplane are constantly moving. These satellites are linked to ground stations that are connected to operation centres run by service providers.

The air-to-ground system works seamlessly, unless the airplane is flying over a space with no towers. In that case, satellite WiFi systems can be utilised.

Even though airlines all over the world are rushing to provide inflight WiFi services, WiFi in airplanes are slower and expensive than on the ground.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you

Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 8:46:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/how-wifi-works-on-airplanes/article30999529.ece

Next Story