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March 18, 2015

Wi-fi gets wings thanks to Vueling and Telefónica

First low-cost carrier to provide high-speed wi-fi.

By Alexander Sword

Vueling has unveiled its first plane enabled with high-speed wi-fi in the culmination of a partnership with Telefónica.

Passengers on the EC-LZ will be able to use electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets during the flight with download speeds of up to 20 Mbps.

The aircraft is the first Airbus A320 with the new integrated service, with the connectivity facilitated by Eutelsat‘s KA-SAT model, a high-throughput satellite (HTS).

HTSs are based on a payload with many beams which provide small surface coverage, allowing the power to be increased at each point of the beam. Frequencies can be reused, allowing bandwidth performance 70 times greater than conventional satellites.

The installation initially requires wireless access points to be installed in the interior of the aircraft. Additionally, under the cockpit, a satellite modem is installed to send and receive signals from the Ka-band antenna on top of the fuselage.

The move makes Vueling the first low-cost carrier in Europe to offer high-speed wi-fi to passengers.

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