In-flight Wi-Fi is expanding, but so far service tends to be relatively slow and unreliable compared to its landlocked counterpart. Network provider Inmarsat, however, has promised to boost its speeds to 50Mbps in the next year, and now engineering company Honeywell has signed onto the project as well. Under a new deal, Honeywell will produce on-board hardware that will connect to Inmarsat's Global Xpress satellites, the first of which is supposed to launch in 2013. The partnership could last up to two decades, with Honeywell essentially linking the airplane to Inmarsat's new Ka-band network.
The Ka-band provides more spectrum and will allow for a faster network that could cover more of the globe. Honeywell isn't an entirely new party to Inmarsat's work; it also supports the company's current service. Inmarsat's new network will be sold by Gogo, which provides in-flight wireless to Delta, American, and other airlines. Since Gogo's current ground-to-air service only provides speeds of about 3.1Mbps, that's going to be a big increase if all goes according to plan.