Tech companies join Gogo to develop inflight 5G network


Inflight broadband connectivity company, Gogo, has announced the three strategic partners that will play key roles in the development of its 5G system and network ahead of the planned launch in 2021. A US-based team comprising Cisco, Airspan Networks, and First RF Corp. will work to ensure that every element of Gogo’s 5G aviation network and onboard system hardware, software and antennas will be 5G-capable.


“When we announced we were going to build a 5G network for aviation, we stated that we would leverage the expertise of US-based companies to help us bring it to life,” said Sergio Aguirre, president of Gogo Business Aviation. “The three partners are on the leading edge of wireless network technology and together we will bring the most capable network and systems in aviation.”

Cisco will provide core network solutions that will power Gogo’s air-to-ground (ATG) 5G network across the USA and Canada, with a cloud-to-client approach. According to Gogo, Cisco was selected for its expertise in providing 4G/5G solutions for some of the world’s largest wireless telecommunications networks. Together, Gogo and Cisco will work to enhance the inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) experience with a high throughput, low-latency nationwide 5G network. Cisco’s cloud applications and services will help customers unify multi-vendor solutions into a single, standards-based architecture.

The Gogo 5G system will use the same carrier-grade technology as Airspan’s Air5G product line. The Air5G platform will provide 5G virtualised-RAN base station technology that uses Massive MIMO antenna arrays for increased capacity. The platform also features advanced beamforming and tracking techniques, capable of communicating with an aircraft travelling in excess of 750mph, at long range, all while providing an enhanced mobile broadband 5G experience.

First RF will provide its advanced antenna and RF systems technology portfolio to deploy a solution that pairs Gogo’s existing 3G and 4G networks as well as the new 5G network. This technology will includebelly-mounted airborne multi-band antennas that will connect Gogo’s onboard 5G system to the Gogo 5G network on ground. This technology will include complex multiband apertures, advanced beamforming technology, and phased arrays.

Gogo will build the 5G network on its existing infrastructure of more than 250 towers and will use unlicenced spectrum in the 2.4GHz range, along with a proprietary modem and advanced beamforming technology. According to the company, the 5G infrastructure will support all spectrum types (licenced, shared and unlicenced) and bands (mid, high, low), and will allow Gogo to take advantage of new advances in technology as they are developed. Similar to how wireless carriers provide redundancy across their networks, Gogo will continue to employ its 3G and 4G networks throughout the continental US and in Canada that will provide backup to the 5G network when needed.

Gogo says that, when compared to satellite technologies, ground-based network technologies can deliver operational advantages, including lower operational costs, symmetric bi-directional throughput, and lower latency.

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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