Traveling in a private jet has numerous advantages, but many times, passengers can experience a big drawback: the aircraft’s legacy cabin connectivity system is slow and unreliable—the worst form of jet lag.
“It’s really frustrating when you’re traveling on a multimillion-dollar private airplane, and you have to lower your connectivity expectations the minute you get on board,” explains SmartSky Networks President Ryan Stone. “When some of the SmartSky founders were in the charter and aircraft management business, we heard about and saw firsthand the issues our customers were having with the aircraft’s inflight network. We then put ourselves in the shoes of those passengers and refused to accept that as the norm.
“We believe you deserve data that keeps pace with your life even when you’re flying,” he continues. “That’s why we started developing the technology that would become the SmartSky air-to-ground network. It took many years, but we now have nationwide coverage and configurations for a full range of large and small aircraft.”
As Stone explains it, the SmartSky ATG network transforms the aircraft’s data flow so that it’s now responsive, dependable, secure, and, most importantly, as effortless to use in the air as anywhere else.
Eliminating Jet Lag
While SmartSky Networks’ goal is similar to those of other connectivity providers, Stone says that its patented data transfer methodology that sends sends data to and from the aircraft equally effectively is the true differentiator.
“What we did differently was to figure out how to access a lot more of the available spectrum, by utilizing the 60 MHz of spectrum offered for Wi-Fi on the ground and making it available to aircraft, harnessing enough bandwidth to have the same performance when transferring data both to and from the airplane,” he explains. “We’re making use of the best of 4G LTE and 5G technologies in innovative ways bespoketo the airborne environment.
“It’s one beam talking to one airplane at a time, which is a unique application of the technology,” Stone continues. “What we get is a consistently high-bandwidth, very low-latency user experience throughout the aircraft.”
That’s a fancy way of saying that you can do all the things—connectivity-wise—as easily in the flight deck or cabin as you do now in your home or office. It’s connectivity the way you want it.
A Smarter Way to Get Connected
Stone also says that because SmartSky Networks provides data transfer with equal performance to and from the airplane, it not only greatly enhances passenger productivity, it makes the whole aircraft more intelligent.
“To take advantage of all the available data produced by the aircraft, we’ve developed our Skytelligence capability. Basically, it’s a flexible data-exchange and services platform that enables pilots, passengers, and operations teams to get the most out of current and future aviation applications,” he explains. “For example, our SmoothSky application works with IATA’s Turbulence Aware program to help flight crews avoid areas of turbulence based on real-time, data-driven turbulence reports.
“We also have an app that can give the crew real-time access to NOTAMs, including live airport maps and information,” Stone continues. “That kind of information can greatly enhance decision-making and reduce a crew’s workload.”
He says that’s just the beginning. Through the combination of SmartSky’s patented ATG network, compact hardware, and innovative apps, the next-generation system securely delivers seamless real-time connectivity to increase aircraft efficiency, lower fuel use, and improve the aircraft’s overall operations.
“For us, connectivity in aviation is about much more than just the back of the aircraft. We remain committed to connecting the entire aviation ecosystem by delivering dependable, responsive, and secure access to real-time data,” he adds. “All these capabilities make the aircraft’s connectivity more useful to everyone on the airplane and the ground.
“By delivering really fast and reliable aircraft connectivity, there are no limits to the benefits we can attain from all the available data, and that’s new to business aviation,” he adds. “Starting now, you no longer have to lower your online expectations because you are in flight.”