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Honeywell “tech lab” plane tests in-flight Wi-Fi

The Honeywell Test Flight launched from Sydney Airport yesterday on a loop between Sydney and Auckland in order to test its JetWave high-speed in-flight wireless hardware.

JetWave connects to Inmarsat’s network of three Ka-band geosynchronous satellites, Global Xpress; a high-speed broadband satellite network that provides connectivity over both land and water. According to the company, the network can achieve download speeds of 50Mbps and uploads of 5Mbps over a wide coverage area.

Honeywell believes that there will be strong interest from aviation operators, due to the promise of satellite Ka-band service that will be 100 times faster than the current L-band system and one-twentieth of the cost. The system’s connectivity is also expected to be more reliable than existing services.

Currently, there are a number of airlines flying in and out of Australia that offer Wi-Fi. Some of the biggest names include Etihad, Qatar, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air Asia, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, and Delta Airlines. However, major Australian airlines do not currently offer the service.

According to Gizmodo, both Qantas and Virgin Australia have plans for in-flight Wi-Fi, making them potential future partners for Honeywell.’s tech expert Angus Kidman noted in a comment to ITWire that “For travellers looking to be connected, access to Wi-Fi could well be the deciding factor when choosing an airline”.

He added that free Wi-Fi is another major incentive for passengers, and that with Qantas announcing its plans for free Wi-Fi, Virgin Airlines is likely to follow.

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