Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Wireless Networking Hardware

Virgin American In-Flight Internet Review, From In-Flight 198

Posted by timothy
from the latency-desires dept.
wintersynth writes "I've posted a review of Virgin America's in-flight internet provided by Gogo. Here's the scoop: Avg. .90 megabits/sec DL, .283 megabits/sec UL, ping: 130.6 msecs, $12.95 for the duration of the flight. Verdict: AWESOME. In fact, I'm posting this from 36,000 feet right now. Skype did not work for voice, even though I'm pretty sure those stats are over the minimums. Any ideas from the slashdotters on what might be going on?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Virgin American In-Flight Internet Review, From In-Flight

Comments Filter:
  • Skype (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:29PM (#27865177) Journal
    You could be experiencing a difference of bandwidth versus latency. Although the two are related, you could be suffering high latency with Skype's servers. You might try pinging those servers compared to pinging www.google.com. If you are experiencing high latency, Skype uses UDP rather than TCP (like normal web traffic). If I remember correctly, UDP packets are many small packets which may perform badly over connections of very high latency. Your bandwidth readings on a TCP sight might look just large enough to use Skype but since it's a UDP service it could be unusable.

    Another possibility is that Gogo is demoting UDP traffic in some sort of QoS scheme to ensure that things like e-mail and regular HTTP traffic aren't slow or interrupted because 4 people are using Skype.
    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:35PM (#27865285) Journal

      Skype uses UDP rather than TCP (like normal web traffic). If I remember correctly, UDP packets are many small packets which may perform badly over connections of very high latency.

      UDP shouldn't have anything to do with latency, nor is it limited to "many small packets". UDP is just a transport protocol that lacks the error checking/data integrity and ordering mechanism of TCP. If such features are important to you then you need to use TCP or build them into your application that uses UDP.

      The advantage of UDP comes in time critical applications where it's probably better to lose a few packets (i.e: have a second or two of dead air during a phone call) than delay the transmission (conversation stops while it waits for the lost packets to be retransmitted). Latency really doesn't have anything to do with it, although latency is bad for VoIP for other reasons.

      • Re:Skype (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:08PM (#27865935)

        In other words, UDP says:
        "here take it!".

        TCP says:
        Client: "Hi, Nice to meet you, I'm TCP-Client".
        Server: "Hi, TPC-Client I'm TCP-Server." (shakes hands)
        TCP-Client: "I've got data for you. Here you go."
        TCP-Server: "I got most of the data and it appears uncorrupt, but I'm missing page 2 and 374. Cand you send them again?"
        TCP-Client: "Here you go. That's all, Goodbye"
        TCP-Server: "Damn, he left before I could say goodbye"

        Or something like that, it's been a while since my network programming class. But it was a lot of fun implementing these protocols. =P

        • Re:Skype (Score:5, Funny)

          by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmythe@[ ]mythe.com ['jws' in gap]> on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:23PM (#27866187) Homepage Journal

              That's close, but I'm not sure your technical jargon is exactly how I learned it. :)

        • by daveime (1253762)

          Mod +1 Educational.

          That's the best explanation I've heard of protocol handshaking in a long time.

          UDP says "here, take it" ... might make that my next sig ;-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by amoeba1911 (978485)
        Just in case anyone wants more info:
        http://www.networksorcery.com/enp/protocol/udp.htm [networksorcery.com]
        http://www.networksorcery.com/enp/protocol/tcp.htm [networksorcery.com]
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Just in case anyone wants more info:"

          I want more info!!

          If you're still on the flight...how much are drinks on Virgin? What good scotches do they offer? Any single malts? Any good beers?

          • They serve Glenlivet for scotch. I'm pretty happy with that, as I'm a single-malt guy and enjoy the various Glenlivet offerings, but I've heard other passengers complain mildly about the lack of Johnny Walker or Chivas Regal. Drinks run something like $6.

    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Informative)

      by Spazmania (174582) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:13PM (#27866029) Homepage

      I fired up Skype and dialed out. Massive failure. For some reason the sound is horrendously choppy and thin sounding. It was completely unusable.

      You're experiencing high "jitter." Jitter is the change in delay from packet to packet. If odd numbered packets take 100 ms and even numbered packets take 150 ms then you have 50ms of jitter.

      Certain protocols like VoIP and NTP require connections with low jitter in order to perform acceptably.

      • Jitter Buffer (Score:4, Informative)

        by pathological liar (659969) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @05:33PM (#27867525)

        Asterisk 1.4+ has a jitter buffer for at least IAX and SIP which helps to work around jitter in most cases. Given that they know what they're doing, I assume Skype does too.

        Jitter is (relatively) okay, it's packet loss that VoIP is particularly sensitive to. Packet loss at levels that will only mildly inconvenience most other traffic will screw up VoIP quite badly... there's no mention of packet loss in the article that I see, but I suspect that's what's causing the poor quality.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          The GSM codec popularized by mobile phones, and commonly used by VoIP packages actually tolerates bit and packet loss quite well.

          It uses a progressive refining encoding, and a probabilistic packet layout to keep the core 'shape' of the sound through all but the most severe conditions, so that losses are likely to only affect the details.

          It also specifies protocols for 'looping' previous datagrams in a way that makes it easier to understand what was being said through such losses.

          Keeping in mind that there's

          • It uses a progressive refining encoding, and a probabilistic packet layout to keep the core 'shape' of the sound through all but the most severe conditions, so that losses are likely to only affect the details

            If you'd read the article (I know, it's Slashdot etc) you'd know that's exactly what he's describing. The sound was choppy and 'thin' -- that's what happens when you add more jitter or packet loss than the setup can cope with. All things being equal I'm guessing it's not jitter, it's outright packet lo

    • by hwyhobo (1420503)

      If I remember correctly, UDP packets are many small packets which may perform badly over connections of very high latency. Your bandwidth readings on a TCP sight might look just large enough to use Skype but since it's a UDP service it could be unusable.

      Not to be an asshole, but why has the above been modded "informative"?

      All voice traffic is UDP. TCP wouldn't make any sense for streaming. Skype uses separate flows for chat, voice, and control. UDP is perfect for connections with very high latency because i

    • Re:Skype and latency (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BraksDad (963908)
      Skype worked for me over hughesnet from the middle of missouri. That network has serious latency issues.
  • Skype? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HuckleCom (690630) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:31PM (#27865191) Homepage
    Probably blocked everything VoIP related to force airphones on you.
    • Skype is Not Blocked (Score:3, Informative)

      by eldavojohn (898314) *

      Probably blocked everything VoIP related to force airphones on you.

      From the article:

      I'm trying to get some critical production tasks done, and the rep I work with emailed me to call her. Thinking I was so tricky and cool, I fired up Skype and dialed out. Massive failure. For some reason the sound is horrendously choppy and thin sounding. It was completely unusable. I didn't get a chance to speak and see how I sounded on the other end. I tried dialing the Skype test call, but I only caught every other word.

      Sounds like he could connect, it was just choppy.

      • by frieko (855745)
        Tinfoil hat theory: they could throttle Skype packets just enough to "make it look like an accident" that it doesn't work.
        • by Shakrai (717556)

          Tinfoil hat theory: they could throttle Skype packets just enough to "make it look like an accident" that it doesn't work.

          I knew there was a reason why I route all my traffic through a VPN when I use connections I don't own......

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by lefiz (1475731)
            I have an asterisk PBX at work, and have used my VPN to connect to the box using SIP and AIX from multiple Virgin flights (some full, some empty). All of the calls, through any configuration, were choppy (though the call remained connected). I think its a combination of latency, jitter, and the bandwidth that ruin the call quality. Although it was choppy, I could check my voicemail (download side) but voicemails that I left for others (upload side) were nearly incomprehensible. I was getting pings great
            • by Shakrai (717556)

              My experience would suggest that the jitter is more to blame than the latency. It's kind of cool that it worked well enough to check your voicemail though. I'd probably be content with that -- who wants to be making a bunch of phone calls from the airplane anyway?

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Exactly, nobody wants to hear some asshole yammering into his laptop for a 4 hour flight. "WHAT?!? YES!!! I'M FLYING...FLYING. I SAID I'M FLYING!!!" Shut the fuck up already! Send a text message or something. Those people do NOT need to hear from you because (wait for it) YOU ARE FLYING, ASSHOLE! Shakrai, this wasn't aimed at you in particular. It's just that you are the first one to bring this up so far.
    • Re:Skype? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jfruhlinger (470035) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:29PM (#27866355) Homepage

      Probably blocked everything VoIP related to force airphones on you.

      Except that most airplanes removed airphones long ago, since they never really worked economically. Certainly Virgin America's brand-new planes won't have them.

      They probably blocked everything VoIP related so that the people next to you don't throttle you for shouting in to your fucking Bluetooth headset while they're trying to read, sleep, or otherwise try to ignore you.

      • Re:Skype? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nursie (632944) on Friday May 08, 2009 @06:13AM (#27874169)

        "They probably blocked everything VoIP related so that the people next to you don't throttle you for shouting in to your fucking Bluetooth headset while they're trying to read, sleep, or otherwise try to ignore you."

        This, so much this.

        Flight time is quiet time, for god's sake leave the phone alone or I might just kill you. Trust me, I already hate you enough for having the audacity to get up to use the bathroom, for smelling of *anything* and for claiming rights to the middle armrest between our seats. If you start yakking away I can't be responsible for my actions. Now have fun with your internets but PLEASE shut the hell up.

  • by Critical Facilities (850111) * on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:31PM (#27865195) Homepage

    I tried dialing the Skype test call, but I only caught every other word. So much for my dreams of in-flight video conferencing while yelling over the din of jet engines.

    Oh god, I hope you, nor anyone else, ever gets this to work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lawaetf1 (613291)

      Amen. Can you imagine an 8-hour flight with everyone yapping around you? Hideous.

      "yeah.. no that's what I said!.. oh he always acts like that HAHAHA... hey are you going to that thing on saturday?....... yeah but Jim will be there!..... oh this flight is taking for-EVER... geez promise you'll come visit me!.... oh hang on, he's calling, I'll call you right back!.. no, it's ok, we don't land for another four hours.. mmkay, bye--kisses!.... hey honey!"

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        People seem to have no problem doing this attempting to have a convo on a busy street (times square for example), whats the big deal other than people complaining as if they have some logical reasoning? Sure, you don't want to hear about someone's gonorrhea, I get that. People don't tend to scream at the top of their lungs in an airplane, plus it is pressurized to reduce the need to scream further.

        If everyone has small chatter it actually creates a bit of a whitenoise effect = sleep.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Obfuscant (592200)
          People don't tend to scream at the top of their lungs in an airplane,...

          They talk louder because they judge how well they are being heard by how well they hear themselves. Over the constant drone of jet engines, people have to talk louder to hear themselves. Thus, they assume they need to be that loud so the microphone just an inch away from their face can hear them.

          plus it is pressurized to reduce the need to scream further.

          "Pressurized" is a relative term. Standard cabin air pressure is around 8000 f

        • People seem to have no problem doing this attempting to have a convo on a busy street (times square for example), whats the big deal other than people complaining as if they have some logical reasoning? Sure, you don't want to hear about someone's gonorrhea, I get that. People don't tend to scream at the top of their lungs in an airplane, plus it is pressurized to reduce the need to scream further. If everyone has small chatter it actually creates a bit of a whitenoise effect = sleep.

          I assume you've never

          • by poetmatt (793785)

            uh what?

            I've flown both domestic and internationally. The only time the engines are noticably loud is during take-off and landing. The rest of the time, not so much.

            Oh not to mention, for security reasons (this was overseas from new york to israel) we made phonecalls mid-flight using those crap-phones. Plane is pretty quiet, really.

            What would be wrong with having a designated calling area on a plane, similar to smoking areas?

      • Too bad we aren't allowed to bring any sharp objects or weapons...I guess I will just have to slam my head against the wall till I pass out...

      •     Noise canceling headphones, with pressure relieving ear plugs.

            I've flown a few times with slight upper respiratory infection (because I had to, not that I wanted to). With that usually comes Eustachian tube dysfunction. That can range from annoying to painful. By painful, I mean feeling and hearing your eardrum ripping open, and then not being able to hear anything but a rattle for the next few days.

            So when I fly, I buy the pressure relieving ear plugs. They usually sell them in pharmacy stores and the gift shops at the airport. Over them, I wear decent noise canceling headphones. I can hear the movie, music, or my laptop, but I can be completely unaware of the person beside me.

            I've flown with crying babies and shrieking teenage girls near me. The only time I remove the headphones is when I want to ask the stewardess for another drink. :)

            Go for it kids, get your Skype working. Don't disturb my drinks and we're all fine.

            But please, I beg all of you. If your ass is as wide as two airline seats, PLEASE book two seats. No matter how large you are, you're not welcome to share my seat for an 8 hour flight. Don't complain that the seats are too small, when your BMI is over 40. Stop making excuses, and stop eating so much. Your weight is directly effected by your intake. That's all there is to it.

           

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by daveime (1253762)

        "Yes, I'm on the plane now".

        "Well no shit Sherlock, I just dropped you at the airport. You'd hardly be likely to be on the elephant now, would you ?".

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:58PM (#27865715)

      The plastic knives and forks supposedly don't work well for hijacking, but they should be okay to use on an in-flight yapper. For bonus points, use the spoon.

  • by kentrel (526003) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:31PM (#27865203) Journal

    Yes,

    You need to watch this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jETv3NURwLc [youtube.com]

    • This was the first thing I thought of when I saw this article. I knew some knucklehead would bitch about the speed or the fact it does not work with his home-made Linux distribution. Thanks for the perspective.
  • They might have a way to block Skype, or it could just be a large amount of jitter from you to the Skype gateway you were trying to reach.

  • by E. Edward Grey (815075) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:33PM (#27865257)

    Skype did not work for voice, even though I'm pretty sure those stats are over the minimums.

    Everything is awesome and no one is happy!

  • by gcnaddict (841664) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:34PM (#27865265)
    We don't want to hear you talking on the phone while flying, and neither does Virgin.

    Logically, they likely blocked it in order to preserve the sanity of other passengers.
    • by merreborn (853723)

      We don't want to hear you talking on the phone while flying, and neither does Virgin.

      Logically, they likely blocked it in order to preserve the sanity of other passengers.

      The keyboard/controller device for the little computer in the back of every seat on Virgin's planes doubles as a phone handset, if I recall correctly. Because Virgin doesn't want you to talk on the phone on the plane... unless you're paying $2/min.

      Let's be honest: if they're doing anything to prevent skype from functioning, it's purely a

      • by mcsqueak (1043736)

        Let's be honest: if they're doing anything to prevent skype from functioning, it's purely a financial decision.

        I've never seen anyone use an airplane phone. Granted, I've only flown 20 times total in my life thus far, but still... I don't think "forcing" people to use their phones is a decision that will really help them stay financially viable.

  • Srsly? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:34PM (#27865271) Journal
    Maybe I'm just insufficiently wealthy, or insufficiently internet addicted; but is 13 dollars for what is essentially five hours of DSL actually exciting?
    • by Rycross (836649)

      It is if you're stuck in a crowded, narrow tube for 5 hours, little to keep your mind off the situation.

    • When you're paying 300 or more for the flight, and you're sitting in a cramped tin can for 6 hours, 13 bucks for internet is a godsend. I just wish the power adaptor under my seat wasn't broken on my last flight.

    • Re:Srsly? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by netsavior (627338) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:54PM (#27865645)
      2 magazines at the airport gift shop could easily cost you $12.95, nobody bats an eye at that...
    • Re:Srsly? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rm999 (775449) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:01PM (#27865769)

      Am I the only one who assumed they are targeting business travelers? 13 dollars is nothing to them, literally - their company pays for it.

      Internet on the plane is an awesome concept to the average person, but I think most people will change their mind when it comes down to typing in their credit card number.

      • Exactly. Especially if it has VPN access.

        The price at the new Vancouver Convention Center for a wireless 1.5/0.5 mbps conncetion with VPN is something like $120/day.

    • Depends on the reason you're flying.

      Business travel is sometimes "fire fighting". There is a big problem, so the company flies in an expert to fix it (or at least diagnose and convince the customer a fix is forthcoming).

      In this situation, being able to work on the problem remotely while in the air is a good thing.

    • by PAjamian (679137)

      Yes, when you can get work done on the flight at a rate of several times that per hour it is very much worth it.

    • is 13 dollars for what is essentially five hours of DSL actually exciting?

      It is for freelancers like me; it means I can earn back the cost of the flight.

    • Maybe I'm just insufficiently wealthy, or insufficiently internet addicted; but is 13 dollars for what is essentially five hours of DSL actually exciting?

      I've routinely paid that much per day for access at hotels while traveling on business. For me, it was a cost of doing business. Now that I've gotten Boingo my costs are reduced dramatically at Boingo hotspot locations (~10/month). Beats tethering my Treo or iPhone.

      while it may be aimed at the business passenger it's still only two or three drinks on a transatlantic flight so I suspect you'll see more passengers spring for it; especially those with kids who'll spend the entire flight on chat with friends

  • Traceroute? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maxrate (886773) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:34PM (#27865275)
    A traceroute to (anything) would have been very interesting.
    • by StikyPad (445176) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:53PM (#27865635) Homepage

      Tracing route to www.l.google.com [74.125.45.103]
      over a maximum of 30 hops:

          1 3 ms 1 ms 1 ms linksys.local [192.168.1.1]
          2 4 ms 2 ms 6 ms really.powerful.transmitter [192.168.1.0]
          3 424 ms 527 ms 530 ms secret.router.on.the.moon.moo [127.0.0.2]
          4 830 ms 832 ms 927 ms pwnt.by.brazil.sat.mil [403.406.408.410]
          5 84 ms 79 ms 79 ms GOOGLE-INC.FTL.warp.Level3.net [4.71.20.22]
          6 52 ms 53 ms 51 ms yx-in-f103.google.com [74.125.45.103]

      Trace complete.

  • Banned VOIP (Score:2, Informative)

    Joining American Airlines, Virgin America has demoed its in-flight Gogo broadband service. Official policy for Virgin Airlines is to block VoIP parts, but, rather than just let sleeping dogs lie, it seems to be a rite of passage for tech media wonks to demo work-around as they write about their experiences. From: http://www.fiercevoip.com/story/no-voip-blocking-virgin-america-beta-voip-holes-aa/2008-11-23 [fiercevoip.com]
  • Welcome (Score:5, Funny)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:39PM (#27865345)

    "AWESOME. In fact, I'm posting this from 36,000 feet right now."

    Let me be the first to welcome you to the Mile High Virgin Club.

  • by kindbud (90044) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:39PM (#27865361) Homepage

    Any ideas from the slashdotters on what might be going on?

    No. Is there anything else I can help you with?

  • Your choice (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:40PM (#27865369)

    Any ideas from the slashdotters on what might be going on?

    It's the "block the VOIP" feature which tested much more positively than "kill the annoying guy on the phone" with focus groups.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      I can't imagine why.

    • It sounds like they're not outright blocking VOIP (yes, I get that it was a joke, bear with me) but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find that they're screwing with VOIP traffic. Don't they already provide phone service on board? Sounds like what I would do to protect that business.
  • . . . you at least get something for the extra money.

    As opposed to those other airline surcharges, like: extra baggage charge, security charge, too little baggage charge, late charge, early charge, right on time charge, homeland security charge, screaming kid charge, lack of screaming kid charge . . .

    "Hello, and welcome to our flight. In order to ensure Homeland Security, alcoholic beverages will now cost $20 each. And non-alcoholic beverages will not be served."

    "Our toilets are fitted with lapping se

  • seriously, no WoW raid, no TF2 performance stats?
  • I tried this service several weeks ago between LA and NYC. While I didn't try Skype, I did RDP back to my computer back at my office through a VPN. Surprisingly, it worked quite well. There was also a novel trill in people asking where you were, and giving them a location 30,000 ft above some midwest state. Having outlets underneath the seat was nice too. Those perks alone are *almost* enough for me to dump JetBlue as my priamry airline of choice and fly Virgin America. But sadly, their routes and time sche
  • Crypto (Score:2, Insightful)

    by t00le (136364)

    You might want to try to vpn into work or home, then try to use Skype. Chances are they filtering what ports are allowed, so going through a crypto tunnel will remove this ability.

    • Re:Crypto (Score:4, Insightful)

      by t00le (136364) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:53PM (#27865627)

      I didn't added QoS into my original post. If you VPN into work or home you can remove their ability to filter or tag your connections through a VPN. By tunneling everything through a VPN it would be a true test since anyone with a clue will set crypto traffic with a high priority on a border network.

      If it's still unusable it will be due to errors on the transmission, which with tcp would be classed as slowness. With UDP it would be missing packets that are not re-transmitted.

      An analogy, in quake w/ tcp code you would hump a wall when lagged, but with udp you would teleport through the wall.

      • Actually the difference inbetween NetQuake and Quakeworld performance was the addition of clientside motion prediction... it really had very little to do with TCP or UDP. Prior to that, a client had to wait ~300ms for a status update before you were allowed to move, or other players would move. With client side prediction, for a limited period of time you can keep moving in the world even after you've lagged out, and the other players will get a predicted path of movement until you come back. If you've been
  • Any of you fellow nerds will make your laptop adhoc/an access point to share the connection if you end up buying service.

    Or, better yet, offer a discounted rate for the above and make some or more of your money back :D
    • Using your laptop wirelessly to connect to other laptops is against FAA rules, duh.

      • by PRMan (959735)

        So connect 30,000 feet down to your home PC across town to their PC and back up 30,000 feet.

        See, no problem.

  • Skype did not work for voice, even though I'm pretty sure those stats are over the minimums.

  • by Brit_in_the_USA (936704) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @03:53PM (#27865611)
    ...you can send wave file samples and receive them as "packets" using the record button. Start with this 2 way radio approach to talking and see where you can go from there.
  • Voip in the sky (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Igarden2 (916096)
    If there is a god in the sky, voip will stay blocked.
    I can't imagine sitting around someone who is talking incessantly on a phone on an airplane.
    I don't care to listen to my own family members talk on a telephone for any length of time.
  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:26PM (#27866275)
    I was an early adopter of WAN wireless internet in my area. While reasonable download speeds *could* be achieved on average the latency was terrible. Essentially the latency of data traversing the cellphone networks with some proprietary transmission protocol was unavoidable, since these networks were never designed for Teh Internets. Indeed you don't really notice 200-300ms of unstable latency when you're on a mobile call, but you do when your trying to shunt data over it the same network. All up, I had a 5mbps connection where a minimum latency floor of 300-350ms to local servers was the norm. These days with new GPRS through to HSDPA or whatever, things are a bit better.

    The same with something in flight internet.

    I would have been more interested in your pings to Google.com I bet they would have been rubbish.
  • by Eharley (214725) on Thursday May 07, 2009 @04:30PM (#27866403)

    Southwest is testing Wi-Fi on four of its planes now. I was on one on a flight from Las Vegas to Baltimore. They sent me an email the day before telling me that the plane would have wi-fi and that it would be free during this test period.

    The speed was fantastic, but I didn't benchmark it. However, I was able to do a video iChat with my wife at home. Didn't try to do any audio, just video.

    The big drawback about Southwest is that their planes have no power outlets. Not sure if they're going to add them. But they're aware of the issue.

  • Skype and video games will probably never work because of the huge latency of satellite communications. Pretty much anything that is real time is going to be tough over a consumer grade satellite connection. I mean I play video games over the internet with my tethered cellphone and that is pushing it and the latency of cellular connections is lower by orders of magnitude then satellite connections.

    But having any internet connection, especially one with decent bandwidth, is a god send to any buisness travele

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Princeofcups (150855)

      I've been working as a contractor for Aircell, the company behind the network, and it is not satellite, except for a few points. The network is 100 cell phone towers to T1 to internet. Max bandwidth is 3Mb. And yes VoIP is blocked for obvious reasons.

      For more info, check out aircell.com.

  • "Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfscking skypes on this motherfscking plane!"

    but seriously: I've done some pretty serious coding and work with VoIP using several codecs and most are very bad at dealing with high latency connections -- variable latency is even worse. This has been pointed out several times in here already.

    The pipe is big enough, but it's too long. {Insert your own joke here}

FORTH IF HONK THEN

Working...