First 5G network for in-flight connectivity proposed by Gogo

The major provider of broadband connectivity products for aviation, Gogo, has announced its intention to create a contiguous U.S. and Canada air-to-ground (ATG) network which will be designed for use by business aviation aircraft, commercial regional jets and smaller mainline jets. It is anticipated the network will be operational for business and commercial aviation by 2021.

Oakleigh Thorne, CEO of Gogo, commented that: “We expect to launch Gogo 5G at the same time as the terrestrial telecommunications companies are deploying the same generation of technology on the ground – a first in the inflight connectivity industry. Gogo 5G is the next step in our technology evolution and is expected to deliver an unparalleled user experience, pairing high performance with low latency and network-wide redundancy.”

The 5G network will be built on Gogo’s existing infrastructure of over 250 towers, using unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz range, along with a proprietary modem and advanced beamforming technology. Gogo’s 5G infrastructure will support all spectrum types (licensed, shared, unlicensed) and bands (mid, high, low), which will enable Gogo to take advantage of new advances in technology as and when they have been developed. In a similar way in which wireless carriers provide redundancy across their networks, Gogo will continue to employ its 3G and 4G networks throughout the continental U.S. and in Canada which can be used as backup to the 5G network when needed.

Compared to satellite technologies, ground-based network technologies normally deliver certain operational advantages such as lower cost of operation and lower latency. Gogo will provide straightforward upgrade routes to 5G connectivity for existing Gogo air-to-ground customers.

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