Gogo had become the name most associated with the ability to check email in the sky, much as TiVo Inc., the pioneer of digital video recording, was once synonymous with the ability to fast-forward through commercials. Like TiVo, Gogo effectively invented its category.
But increasingly with in-flight Internet services, "the resources of a small, independent company may not be enough to carry this through," said connectivity consultant Tim Farrar, the head of the consulting-firm TMF Associates Inc. "Ultimately the big boys are going to dictate how this technology gets adopted."
In an effort to expand access nationwide, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachoski in January 2013 issued a "Gigabit City Challenge" calling for all 50 states to have at least one community with gigabit Internet access by 2015.
Since then, it's become a bit of a race between private and public providers. Google, of course, kicked it off with the announcement that it would provide its gigabit Google Fiber to Kansas City for just $70 per month. Later, The Wall Street Journal reported that a small telco in rural Vermont, Vtel, planned to halve Google's offer, providing gigabit services for just $35. Some cites, like Seattle, have already given up the fight.
We've found 16 areas that have or plan to offer Gigabit access (or close to it).
Experiencing the ViaSat Ka Band satellite service on my Jetblue flight to Boston.
The rollout is gradual – only 20 A 320s have the bulge – the radome with the antenna - and the distinctive livery.
The download speed on the basic Simply Surf plan (free through June) is the best I have ever encountered on a flight – GoGo (air to ground) on Delta, Row 44 (air to satellite) on Southwest etc. For $ 9 an hour you can upgrade to the Plus plan for much faster uploads and web streaming.
The nav using Google maps is fairly high res with drill down to every minor streets.
For now, it will be a guessing game if your flight will have wifi. Delta has saturated availability throughout its domestic fleet (and last week I caught the service for 3 hours starting in Canada on a flight from Europe) and so it is more predictable. Southwest emails you night before if your flight offers it – not ideal but the advance notice is somewhat helpful.
“It is well known that America’s military dominates both the air and the sea. What’s less celebrated is that the US has also dominated the spectrum, a feat that is just as critical to the success of operations. Communications, navigation, battlefield logistics, precision munitions—all of these depend on complete and unfettered access to the spectrum, territory that must be vigilantly defended from enemy combatants.
Having command of electromagnetic waves allows US forces to operate drones from a hemisphere away, guide cruise missiles inland from the sea, and alert patrols to danger on the road ahead. Just as important, blocking enemies from using the spectrum is critical to hindering their ability to cause mayhem, from detonating roadside bombs to organizing ambushes. As tablet computers and semiautonomous robots proliferate on battlefields in the years to come, spectrum dominance will only become more critical. Without clear and reliable access to the electromagnetic realm, many of America’s most effective weapons simply won’t work.
Yet despite the importance of this crucial resource, America’s grip on the spectrum has never been more tenuous. Insurgencies and rogue nations cannot hope to match our multibillion-dollar expenditures on aircraft carriers and stealth bombers, but they are increasingly able to afford the devices necessary to wage spectrum warfare, which are becoming cheaper and more powerful at the same exponential pace as all electronics.
“Now anybody can go to a store and buy equipment for $10,000 that can mimic our capability,” says Robert Elder, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who today is a research professor at George Mason University. Communications jammers are abundant on global markets or can be assembled from scratch using power amplifiers and other off-the-shelf components. And GPS spoofers, with the potential to disrupt everything from navigation to drones, are simple to construct for anyone with a modicum of engineering expertise.”
sorry could not resist but do not mean to belittle this amazing piece of technology which could revolutionize mobile communications
“Under Perlman’s pCell system, interference from the cells is not an issue. Instead of blasting out a dumb signal across a given area, Perlman and his team of researchers have developed a smart transmission system. Their networking equipment locates a device like a smartphone and uses complex mathematical operations to create a unique signal—hence the personal cell idea—just for that device. The upshot of this is that you can place the pCell transmitters anywhere and not worry about their signals bleeding into each other. And instead of sharing a signal, each person gets to tap into close to the full capacity of the transmitter. “We believe this is the largest increase in capacity in the history of wireless technology,” says Perlman. “It’s like the wireless equivalent of fiber-optic cables.”
To work properly, a company backing the pCell technology would need to build out a large data center in addition to deploying the transmitters. It’s in the data center where servers constantly crunch away on the algorithms that form the unique wireless stream aimed at each device. As people move about, the servers must keep recalculating and processing a new stream. Perlman expects that a single data center could satisfy the needs of a city like San Francisco.”
Information Age on how the London Olympics technology itself deserved a Gold Medal
“At peak times, the network was carrying 60 gigabits of information a second between 80,000 connections across 94 locations, which was four times the network capacity of the Beijing Games.
And despite the mobility of the Games being well expected, nobody could have predicted that, at peak, 60% of the load would come from devices accessing either the London 2012 mobile website or one of the mobile apps.
“And also to BT, which, with Cisco, created the largest public Wi-Fi installation in the world across the Olympic Park.
‘Those two infrastructure pieces were really the things that were critical to actually delivering that mobile experience for people who were in and around the venues.’”
“Therefore, ‘the real legacy is on two legs’, he says, referring to the people who have gone on to benefit other organisations with the skills they gathered from their Olympics experience. Particularly, Pennell’s team had around 40 interns – students doing a sandwich year out of university – who worked with the IT department. “
Just one year after Sandy turned out the lights on 8.5 million Americans, there's been a proliferation of generators, fuel cells, solar panels paired with batteries, and combined heat and power technologies. These varying microgrids aim to make the main grid more "resilient" — energy's 2013 buzzword.
"Sandy was a game changer," says Tom Leyden, CEO of Solar Grid Storage (in graph below), a company that develops battery systems to store solar power, which fluctuates throughout the day. He says the massive storm — along with lower solar prices, better batteries and rising climate change concerns — has amplified the need for storing renewable energy that is starting to transform the utility industry.
That’s the promise of Canadian startup Adfreetime.com, one of a handful of providers to offer what’s called a DNS-switching service. Launched in May by 26-year-old Richard Probst, the website offers subscribers the ability to mask their browsers’ location by rerouting the embedded geographical identifier through a server somewhere else in the world. Turn on the region-unlocking service through a simple Web interface—Adfreetime has designed these as on/off buttons, like light switches—and it will appear as if a user in, say, Iowa is actually signing on from Ireland. “We have servers all around the world,” Probst explained in an interview.
In my last book I had called Aircell a “digital phoenix” for breathing new life with its GoGo service:
GoGo, the wi-fi service being offered by many U.S. airlines (like Delta, discussed further on, and Virgin America, discussed in Chapter 6) leverages Aircell’s experience with airphones that we had in most seatbacks in the 1990s. Aircell paid the FCC about $30 million to acquire licenses for the air-to-ground frequencies. That allows it to differentiate from the satellite services of Row 44 that Southwest and others utilize. Planes transmit via underbelly blade antennae to 92 cell towers that can be accessed around the country and up to about 100 miles over international waters.
Now, the service is poised to improve in a couple of ways
a) Speed : To keep up with the much speedier ViaSat service being introduced by JetBlue, Gogo’s new service “will use a combination of cellular towers and satellites to beam 60 megabits per second to each plane. Its original service offered 3 mbps to each plane, which is currently used by 1,700 aircraft. They launched an updated product last year which beams 10 mbps, this product is currently being used by nearly 300 aircraft.”
B) Aircell’s roots: “The company announced today its Text and Talk feature, which allows passengers to send texts and make phone calls over its in-flight network using their own smartphones.
To get the service working, passengers have to download the Gogo Text & Talk app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store when they are on the ground and then when they are up in the clouds they can connect to the service. The app connects the phone to a network, which then allows the phone to access the device's phone and texting capabilities.”
LiveTV's system links up with ViaSat-1, a Ka-band satellite capable of delivering more than 140 Gbps of throughput to customers around the country. It will also be compatible with ViaSat-2, which is expected to launch in 2016. ViaSat launched its consumer service early last year, and Fly-Fi utilizes the same satellite and ground infrastructure. The Exede residential product has proven to be a top option for folks without access to land-based broadband, and while latency made certain tasks difficult (gaming, for instance), we were generally impressed during our review. The best part: you can expect similar performance on board all of JetBlue's Airbus A320s, A321s and Embraer 190s, after the installation is complete.
The required equipment, which represents a 350-pound addition, consists of an antenna and radome rig mounted atop the plane, ViaSat and LiveTV components installed in the belly and up to three Motorola access points -- in the case of the A320, they're installed directly above rows 20, 11 and 4, enabling a consistent signal throughout the cabin.