A 2Ku antenna. Image via Gogo

A 2Ku antenna. Image via Gogo

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of APEX EXPO this year, APEX Media is looking back at its members’ most significant achievements. Today, we discover how Gogo’s 2Ku service changed the game for in-flight connectivity.

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In April 2016, Gogo launched its 2Ku in-flight connectivity (IFC) service with Aeromexico on board a Boeing 737-800. A little over three years later, the solution is now flying on over 1,100 aircraft across 18 airlines and there’s a backlog of 800 more aircraft waiting to have it installed.

Not only was the service a game changer in terms of the passenger experience it has enabled – today, Gogo said it is capable of delivering more than 100Mbps to an aircraft, which enables content streaming – but 2Ku also made waves with its antenna design.

Typically, the gimbaled antennas used for IFC purposes are eight to 12 inches in height. The dual set of mechanical phased array antennas used to enable 2Ku (one to transmit data and one to receive) is only four inches in height. The resulting reduction in drag can help airlines save significantly on fuel costs. A surface area four times larger than its gimbaled counterpart also means higher throughput.

One of the continuing benefits of 2Ku’s design is its open architecture. For example, when hybrid Ku/Ka-band geostationary high-throughput satellite SES15 came online in January 2018, all aircraft equipped with the next-generation modem began benefitting from increased capacity without having to make any changes to their aircraft.

John Wade, Gogo’s president of Commercial Aviation, stated, “We’re achieving the highest level of Net Promoter Score (NPS) from passengers we’ve ever seen, so we’re really delighted with where we are today.”

In May of this year, Gogo announced plans to launch a new 5G air-to-ground IFC network for smaller mainline and regional jets operating between the US and Canada, which will complement its 2Ku offering.

See more posts from the 40 Success Stories campaign.