Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Welcome to our forums

5G - any relevance to data connectivity during a flight?

Just wondering whether 5G does anything for us.

Airborne connectivity is highly patchy once above a few k feet, and the pattern is strongly country dependent.

Or indeed whether there is any point in it at all, given that large swathes of the countryside don’t have GPRS, 3G or 4G

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I don’t think so; 5G is generally meant for very short range (the biggest cell as I understand it being the metro cell, which will have a range generally under 1km, the smaller cells are more comparable to WiFi).

Andreas IOM

The next generation of airliners will be much more automated, with auto take off and landings, single pilot, and autonomous capability in case the « cockpit technician » has a stroke (or fall asleep of boredom). Trajectories should be anticipated around weather etc… There is a possibility that an airborne weather data link is developped, GA could benefit from it. Like XM weather.
I read airports will have 5G for the ground vehicles that will become autonomous.
Maybe Sebastien G has more info ?

Everyone will be behind a screen or unemployed those days


@Peter I think Starlink is what we’re looking for…

5G incorporates both sub 6GHz communications for long range, similar to today’s LTE, and millimeter wave communications, for short distance high bandwidth.

However I don’t think most operators will install basestations where you can have beams pointing at the sky. Most operators want to use MIMO beams for scanning the horizontal plane, and possibly slightly the vertical plane but still at ground level.

So the problem with 5G for aviation will be the same as with 4G, most basestations will not be pointing at the sky.

Yes, there are use cases for providing connectivity to airliners, but that requires special equipment beyond a simple phone.

Source: I worked with 5G, no it doesn’t give you Corona.


Reading about 5G, it seems to be largely aimed at delivering a higher bandwidth in the densest population areas i.e. cities, allowing loads of concurrent movie downloads. It doesn’t appear to be relevant outside large cities, where 4G is more than enough.

The networks will spend money where they need to

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

@Peter the problem with that is the same rings true for fibre optic cables. The towns and cities get it but if you live in the rural areas forget it.
So there is little point in 5g except for someone to hack into your kettle,steal all your computer data and raid your bank account.


gallois wrote:

…the same rings true for fibre optic cables. The towns and cities get it but if you live in the rural areas forget it.

That’s mainly a political question. Right now about 50% of households in rural areas of Sweden has fiber access and the figure is increasing rapidly. Considering that by European measures Sweden is a sparsely populated country, it should not be difficult for countries such as France or the UK to achieve the same or better figures, if there is a will.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Well, yes, but ADSL is a different debate.

I would argue copper, say 10-20mbps, is good enough for the vast majority of people, so “fibre everywhere” is largely a symbolic national-politic chest-beating thing. The typical movie channel bw is well under 10mbps; you would need to be watching subscription 4K p0rn to need more I would also argue, from my own experience of service levels on voice over copper versus ADSL over copper, that any dumping of analog phone lines (or ISDN) should not be done until FTTP (fibre to the premises) can be delivered to all relevant customers.

ADSL is perhaps not relevant to 5G, but, in big cities, an awful lot of people, living a “modern life”, have no landline and therefore have no ADSL, and live entirely on their phone, and that is probably where a lot of bandwidth is going, because 100GB/month is quite a common load on ADSL now.

Perhaps another thing driving the need for more cellular bw is the abandonment of wifi usage in cafes, where getting of the password from an illiterate checkout worker has often been a hassle.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

At the moment I pay Orange for 8Mb, if we ever get 1MB download speed or more than 0.5MB for more than a minute for upload we break out the champagne.We are usually getting less than 50kb/s .The last few months I have been trying to upload a video 2GB. Even to go to Google Drive which starts up from the place you get to, it has taken 2days. I tried another way of sending the file which had no memory so needed to start again if I got cut off.This is why I don’t write up photographic or video trip reports.
The network engineers laughed when I asked if we would be getting fibre optic soon as the politicians has been promising.
I was hoping that 5G might be the answer but reading this thread it looks like I am going to be disappointed.

16 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top