The Great Race: Reducing Broadband Installation Time

With more people flying longer distances, airliners are competing by offering more amenities such as in-flight internet service. For a lot of airliners, that means finding the right service provider who will outfit and retrofit their fleet with the fastest broadband service, in the fastest installation time. It’s become a bit of a race between service providers. Airliners have massive fleets, generally a mix of older and new model planes, that all have to be fitted with broadband service. However, taking a plane out of service to get fitted incurs a loss; the longer it takes, the higher the lost. Knowing that the installation time can be crucial to an airliner’s decision, broadband providers are racing to reduce their installation times and even develop new and easier to install equipment.

At Gogo, their 2Ku installation time is consistently around 36 hours. Initially clocking in at 5 days, they were able to reduce down to 3 days, the current 36 hours, and occasionally down to 30 hours. With technicians becoming more efficient with each installation, Gogo has seen a lot of commercial success. At Inmarsat, the Ka-band satellite-based broadband service called the GX Aviation has an installation time averaging 4 days. They’ve recently launched a hybrid commercial Digital satellite and air-to-ground based EAN that cuts the installation in half at 2 days due to the newer and simpler technology.

Other companies like Phasor, ThinKom, and Panasonic are racing not to shave off their installation time, but to create and market a new connectivity system or antenna that is smaller, simpler, easier to install and maintain, and offers better broadband service. However, as Gregory Montevideo, senior director at Panasonic Avionics’ Global Communications Group, points out, current estimates on these new antennas are already 3-4 times the current cost of traditional antennas on the market, making it very difficult to market to airliners who already want to keep costs low.

Regardless of what kind of broadband service your airline of choice uses, you can trust that your connection is stable and strong for hours of inflight entertainment. Because, airliners and MROs know that if they need a replacement or spare part, they can come to us at Complete Sourcing Solutions, one of the premier suppliers of aviation components and electronic parts. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we have everything from antenna parts to satellites.


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