Low Cabin Data Speeds? How to Fix It

You don’t need to suffer an inadequate cabin connectivity system in silence. Brian Wilson shares how clever planning and right timing can improve your jet’s Wi-Fi... and you could even save tens-of-thousands in costs doing so!

Brian Wilson  |  16th February 2023
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    Brian Wilson
    Brian Wilson

    Brian has more than 40 years’ experience in the aviation field, and currently he is the Director...

    What cabin connectivity upgrades are available for your aircraft

    There is nothing more frustrating than a weak internet connection aboard a business jet. Waiting for files to download or experiencing buffering during a video call is sure to cause the blood pressure to surge. But what can you do about it? Thankfully, there are solutions irrespective of your cabin size...

    When we’re on the ground, we can easily move to another area, or connect to another network when we encounter connectivity problems, but when it occurs in-flight, there’s little you can do to fix the situation.

    For those who’ve recently purchased an aircraft, whether new or used, it is not unusual to find a few shortcomings. Many connectivity systems can’t be fully evaluated on the ground. Even if a test flight has been performed in one geographical location, the connectivity solution that appeared to work well could see diminished functionality elsewhere.

    Owners of aircraft who have seen expansions to their mission profile that could include new locations or increased passenger loads may also experience problems with the existing connectivity solution in the aircraft's cabin.

    If either situation describes your experience, then what should you do?

    Reviewing your System…

    Start with a review of the existing system. There could be a minor modification that you can do which is not too intrusive or costly. It might not be the perfect or final solution, but if the upgrade can improve the experience to an acceptable level until the next significant maintenance event is due, it will be worth the time and money as a temporary solution.

    For systems that do not have a quick or temporary fix, it will be necessary to plan for an upgrade that will enable your requirements to be met – in which case, two variables will need to be factored, irrespective of cabin size: downtime and interior access.

    Review your maintenance inspection schedule and identify the next event with the downtime and access required for the upgrade you need. Larger inspections usually require a substantial portion of the interior to be removed, which is an ideal time.

    When planning for the connectivity upgrade, many operators fail to budget for the interior access costs which can exceed $30k. Therefore, if the interior is being removed anyway, this potential surprise is eliminated.

    In fact, MRO shops aggressively discount or waive the interior access costs in order to win a major maintenance inspection, whereas interior access tends to be quoted at full retail for one-off installations.

    Following, we’ll look at what upgrade solutions are available for the different categories of private airplane and the approximate costs.

    Continue reading this article in our free digital edition, and find handy tips for installing cabin connectivity upgrades in your category of aircraft…

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    Brian Wilson

    Brian Wilson

    Editor, Jet Connectivity

    Brian has more than 40 years’ experience in the aviation field, and currently he is the Director of Key Accounts at Gogo Business Aviation

    Having worked 35 years in Business Aviation, Brian lists Jet Aviation West Palm Beach and Banyan Aviation amongst his previous employers where he has developed and planned STC certifications projects on cabin connectivity. He has been involved in more than 1,000 avionics installations, having previously headed up various avionics, engineering, and interior departments.



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