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WiFi On Airlines Tech News AB Computer Repair Westlake Village

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WiFi In The Sky: 5 Essential Tips

What you need to know before-and after-you take off.

by Michael S. Lasky – Laptop Magazine, April 2012 issue

The door to your aircraft has just closed and you are asked to turn off all cellular and electronic devices. That, of course, is business as usual on any commercial airline flight. But once aloft above 10,000 feet, those laptops, smartphones and tablets can connect to the web, transforming the crowded cabin fever into a productive trip with none of the typical office distractions.

Currently there are two in air WiFi service providers. Gogo inflight (www.gogoair.com) services nine airlines using its proprietary cellular tower infrastructure across the US, including Alaska. Its current commercial airline customers include Air Trans, Alaska Air, American, Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways ans Virgin Atlantic. The cost is 12.95 for a 24 hour pass or 39.99 per a month, but you can find discounts if you look around.

Row44 (row44.com), relying on satellite-to-WiFi technology, handles onboard wireless Southwest Airlines as well as the private business aircraft industry.

The good news is that we are able to check email and surf the internet while aloft, activities previously barred by the Federal Aviation Administration. The bad news is wireless connections are available on only a portion of each airlines fleet. For example, WiFi is only installed on United’s transcontinental “p.s. Service” planes between New York’s JFK and Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO).

So  How do you make sure that flight will have WiFi? How do you make the most of that connectivity? And how do you save money? Use these five tips.

  1. Plan Ahead – If you are absolutely, positively depending on there being WiFi available on your flights, plan ahead. Each airline has a dedicated Web page with info on its internet service. A few even have a Web form to input your flight numbers to check on specific availability. And to find the best seats for WiFi on your aircraft, complete with power ports, check out www.seatguru.com.
  2. Stay Secure – Just because you are insulated in a steel shell at 36,000 feet in the sky doesn’t change your need for vigilance of internet security. Treat onboard WiFi as you would any earthbound public connection at an airline terminal, cafe or hotel. Although the connection through which you purchase time on the WiFi network is an SSL-encrypted link, that’s as far as encrytion goes. After that, you are online without security “net.” VPN service, if you have it, is advisable for sending and receiving sensitive data. Computer repair and, data recovery for business located in Westlake Village.
  3. Maximize Bandwidth – Your bandwidth will understandably vary based on where your plane is as well as the number of passengers connected on your flight. But there are a few ways you can optimize your throughput by tweaking your laptop, smartphone or tablet. Start by turning off automatic updates on Mac and Windows systems. That also goes for any other apps in the background that ping the Web on a periodic basis. Temporarily turning off CPU-hungry flash and extraneous browser add-ons/ extensions can also boost throughput. Because bandwidth is still precious with in air WiFi, don’t plan on streaming any long form video. If you are connecting onboard with your cell phone, a good option is to use a sites alternate minimized mobile version. In most cases, it will load automatically when it is pinged from a phone. The standard address for most mobile sites has an “m” in front of the address, such as m.google.com.
  4. Beef up your browser – In-air internet connections are, by their very nature, slower, but you can easily score some more thrust. Just setup a secondary, speedier browser such as Opera for notebooks and Opera Mini for phones and tablets. Opera has a built in feature called turbo that automatically detects slow connections and adjusts reception accordingly. In addition, with its leaner build and availability on almost all platforms, Opera handles page refreshes quickly – an important feature when you’re trying to get the latest news.
  5. Get it cheaper – Check out www.retailmenot.com/view/gogoinflight.com to see what’s available before you fly. Also check www.gogoinflight.com for periodic promotions, which can very from airline to airline. On Facebook and Twitter, follow and “like” Gogo as well as domestic airlines you frequent to find periodic promotions. Examples of recent promotions include a 10 percent discount on Delta Airlines 24-hour passes, a GoGo Facebook free session offer and, if you chat live at www. gogoinflight.com, you can get a free one-time pass.

WiFi On Airlines Tech News AB Computer Repair Westlake Village

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