Boeing has become the first airplane manufacturer to put a 50Mbps broadband connection, about 100 times faster than most competing in-flight WiFi options, on a plane. The company announced the first certification and installation of Panasonic Avionics' eXConnect in-flight Internet service in one of its planes. The Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) 737 aircraft will initially be used by Panasonic itself for ongoing testing, validation, and live demonstrations.
Panasonic's system consists of a fuselage-mounted antenna that communicates with a network of satellites, allowing it to provide higher data rates than tail-mounted antennas traditionally used on business aircrafts. The BBJ is ideally suited for carrying a larger antenna than traditional sized business jets so global coverage is possible. Unfortunately, there's still no word on any further expansion to commercial aircrafts, though if it's possible on the 737, it's possible on the 747.
"The eXConnect system installed on the Boeing 737 continues to exceed our expectations, and we are very excited to show customers, OEMs and other groups the true broadband experience made possible by our Ku solution," Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said in a statement. "Panasonic's new high-speed data system opens up a new capability to our customers that will help satisfy the growing need for passengers to be connected all the time, including in the air," Boeing Business Jets president Steve Taylor, said in a separate statement.