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Old 01-12-2017, 05:59 PM
dljosephson dljosephson is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: monterey ca
Posts: 18
Default Airborne broadband internet access, experiences?

This isn't APRS, but I figured this was the best group of VAF members to ask. We all know that traditional cell phones (800-870 MHz) can't be used in flight due to FCC prohibition (47CFR22.295). However, WCS, AWS and PCS phones are licensed under different rule parts and don't have the airborne use restriction that's in Part 22. Everyone I know who flies carries their cell phone with them, and nearly all of them switch automatically between 850 and one of the higher (or sometimes lower) bands depending on coverage. Many carriers provide data service only on the non-850 MHz bands.

Wireless carriers use various methods to prevent airborne use -- often you get four bars of signal strength but are not able to complete a call. I'm looking for experience reports... has anyone here run actual internet throughput tests, ping and latency etc. while airborne? What carrier, where, what antenna... you get the picture. Trying to figure out what's practical. I get quite variable service on Verizon in central California; sometimes OK sometimes nothing, with it seeming to work better at lower altitudes and slower speeds (no surprise.) Anyone else?
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