Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep.
Your inflight internet service provider should be able to determine why a connection failure occurred.
With any high-speed data (HSD) connection, there are times and places where connectivity will be lost, particularly in geographic areas with high internet usage or when transitioning between satellite signals.
Congestion occurs when an internet service provider is unable to handle the number of users on their network and begins to throttle back available bandwidth and/or drop users. This is more common during the afternoon and in airspace with a high number of internet users logged in, like New York City or Chicago.
Inflight internet services that offer moderate- to low-speed satellite-based connections, like Inmarsat, tend to experience more issues with network congestion. Ground-based high-speed connections, like Aircell, have more bandwidth at their disposal, which greatly reduces the effects of congestion. Aircell also monitors network use more closely to ensure more evenly distributed bandwidth.
It is also common to momentarily lose connectivity when switching between satellite signals during transcontinental flights.
Your service provider should be able to determine if a connection failure occurred due to congestion or when switching between satellite signals. Usage Logs can also provide clues to the nature of the service interruption. Both Aircell and Inmarsat are able to provide usage logs upon request. If troubleshooting the link between the CNX and your home network, CNX-200s will allow usage log downloads for evaluation by EMS or your service provider.
For help troubleshooting an internet connection issue in your aircraft, contact the Duncan Avionics installation and line maintenance location nearest you.
Adrian Chene is an Avionics Tech Rep for Duncan Aviation. He provides troubleshooting and technical advice on avionics installation services, and specializes in custom, integrated HSD solutions. He began working in aviation in 1996.