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Business jets get inflight 3G

Prole class to follow suit

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TriaGnoSys and 3Way Networks have announced a collaboration on the world's first 3G service in the air - providing a 4Kg box which offers 3G connectivity for up to 10 passengers in their private jet.

Since 2001, business jet travel has grown at twice the rate of prole-class, according to air traffic management agency Eurocontrol, making the focus on selling 3G to those customers eminently sensible.

But there is no technical reason why the technology wouldn't work in any airliner, and we can expect the transition from 2G to 3G services in the air to be rapid.

The box supports HSDPA, with rates of up to 3.6Mb/sec to a 3G data card or handset, but the actual speed of connection will depend on bandwidth from the aircraft to the ground.

Right now that connection is generally provided via satellite, but that is expensive and introduces a latency which may become unacceptable as applications increase in complexity.

There will be a demand for more effective air to ground communications, and several technologies are waiting in the wings for sufficient market interest to make them cost-effective.

It will be some years before most of us get a 3G signal on our flights, but with many companies valuing the speed of a response more than its quality, those without connectivity may find themselves disconnected in more ways than one. ®

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