How do airlines use internet in the skies?


It is common knowledge that as soon as the belts are fastened, instructive messages begin directly not to use the phone, turn off their electronic devices, and activate the airplane mode, but how do airlines use the Internet while they are flying among the clouds in the sky?!

Basically, Wi-Fi connection in airplanes depends on two main parallel systems. The first uses ground tower networks named air-to-ground or ATG, during which it relies on antennas connected to the plane that pick up the signal from mobile phone towers on the ground.

It sends signals that are picked up by receivers inside the airframe. Transforming it into a Hot Spot, allowing travelers to connect to the Internet.

Then, the roaming data is sent through the plane directly to the ground. It depends on the connection to the nearest tower to the plane, and during the fly, it moves from one tower to another throughout the flight.

Although it is used a lot, its disadvantages are the interruption or poor communication, when flying over oceans, rural areas and deserts.

The other system relies on satellites, where they are less chances for interruptions, as they are able to cover the entire flight from space, and the signal remains active for a longer period of time during flight.

Why should we turn off phones while flying?

The use of portable electronic devices interferes with the signals of sensitive electronic systems of the airplane. And this poses a potential danger to communication and access safely, because these devices all use radio waves, which are the same waves used for the aircraft’s signals.

Therefore, it is not allowed to use telephone networks at altitudes less than 3,000 meters, and the phone or any electronic device is in “airplane mode”, and beyond this altitude, the use of devices such as laptops and music players is permitted, while phones must remain closed whatever the height.


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