eli5 how does wifi work on airplanes?


eli5 how does wifi work on airplanes?

In: 1

The same way as it works on land. There is a wireless access point that devices onboard connect to over radio.

The difference, is how that access point connects to the wider internet, which is usually via ATG cellular connection or satellite connection.

Internet connection on airplanes can be achieved by different means…

Either by geostationary satelites (long latency, slow speeds, but reliable) or by ground towers (better speeds, but less reliable and doesn’t work over ocean)

When you add 200+ people connecting you get that slow painful experience

I heard that planes might have starlink connection in near future… That could solve speed and reliability issues

The other answers have the technical information correct. You’re just connecting to a wireless access point that’s on the plane. Now, how your connection gets to the wider Internet is the other question. I’m certain that the connection, at least on United flights, is via geostationary satellite. When I run a ping over a “normal” Wi-Fi connection, response times are sub – 100 ms. When I do the same on the United flight, the response times are about 650 ms, which is a dead giveaway for a satellite connection.