People who use business jets, private jets and charter flights do so for a lot of different reasons. One thing that’s universal among nearly all passengers is an expectation for a certain level of convenience, entertainment and comfort.
To list internet and smart device connectivity as a nice feature that enhances a traveler’s flight experience would be downplaying its importance. Modern flyers, especially those on business or corporate jets, expect connectivity as a standard feature.
When it comes to enhanced aircraft cabin features – like touchscreen cabin displays, high-definition personal and bulkhead screens and even moving flight maps – functional usefulness often hinges on network connectivity.
Charter flight operators and business and corporate jet owners who fail to provide these enhanced cabin features will inevitably find themselves lagging behind their competitors.
Internet Connectivity Options
The discussion doesn’t just end at, “Is there internet connectivity or isn’t there?” There’s a lot more to in-flight entertainment (IFE) and cabin avionics to consider:
- Which type of internet services and equipment is best for planes?
- How much bandwidth is necessary for passengers to stream Netflix or Spotify?
- To which devices will passengers be streaming content – their smart devices? Personal monitors? Bulkhead displays?
- Once you get internet onboard, how do you network all the sound systems and monitors together? Or will each monitor have its own input?
- What type of flight status monitoring systems are available for passengers on private jets?
We have also developed several distribution systems, such as media inputs for onboard screens and headphone distribution amplifiers, as well as display panels for hosting apps and streaming synchronized video to handled devices, onboard monitors and other smart displays.
Rosen Aviation is truly a development, engineering and manufacturing company when it comes to cabin avionics. We sell and support aftermarket solutions but also focus in developing customized solutions for our clients’ cabin enhancement needs.
Ground-Based or Satellite Broadband?
If enabling streaming is one of your desired uses of broadband on a flight, there are really only two feasible internet options – satellite broadband and 5G. Ground-based broadband tends to top out at a few megabytes per second (MBPS), which is shared by everyone onboard a flight.
To put that bandwidth into perspective, a “standard” quality Netflix stream requires at least 3 mbps, with high definition requiring around 10 mbps.
Ground-based broadband also requires ground cell towers to operate, which makes the option unusable over water or when over areas of low connectivity.
Even satellite broadband isn’t entirely flawless. Maintaining interruption-free connectivity can sometimes be difficult. Most satellite broadband systems utilize an antenna attached to the fuselage of an aircraft. This antenna rotates to point at the nearest satellite to offer the best connectivity.
If a better satellite is in range or must be located, the antenna must rotate to the new target, meaning connectivity may potentially drop for passengers. Whether that interruption is discernable to passengers depends largely on what they’re doing online at the time.
The Unfortunate Reality of Stressed Platforms
Over the past decade of widespread aerial Wi-Fi service, a lot of things have changed. Passengers these days have a voracious data appetite, especially those using smart devices. A 12 mbps satellite internet connection that would have been perfectly adequate 10 years ago may not be enough for several passengers to each watch or listen to their preferred media.
The condition and speed of broadband satellites also varies. Some satellite internet companies have an average satellite age of over 20 years in their fleet. Other younger providers might only have an average satellite age of 5 to 10 years.
Physical distance of satellites also affects bandwidth. It takes approximately 230 milliseconds for a signal to get to the Earth and back from geosynchronous orbit. To put that speed in perspective, 230 milliseconds is approximately how long it would take a signal to travel between New York and London nine times over fiberoptic cables.
There are some broadband satellites that operate in low earth orbit, which is closer than the 35,000 kilometers of geosynchronous orbit.
Other Cabin Features that Make Flights More Comfortable
Bedrooms, full-service kitchens, full-size bathrooms and even meeting rooms are all benefits that some business jets, corporate jets and private jets offer, but the thing that really makes a flight go by faster is always entertainment.
Companies like Rosen Aviation raise the bar for in-flight cabin electronics in an array of areas, including entertainment, flight monitoring and networking technology.
Rosen Aviation boasts a full suite of development, design, engineering and manufacturing services to provide customized solutions for all types of cabin electronics needs.