Airborne Internet is a peer-to-peer aircraft communications network which is private, secure, and reliable and uses the same technology as the present day Internet. It connects aircraft to a On ground Internet access node, including any information or data which is passed across this communication link. It has several uses like flight planning, en route reservations, travel arrangement and is also useful in providing the information about weather, and for aircraft-to-aircraft communications. The security applications of Airborne Internet (A.I.) include flight tracking/deviation monitoring, in-flight video monitoring, cockpit voice/video recording.
A.I. began as an underlying technology for NASA’s Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) and now has found new uses in communication and transportation.
At present, three different companies are working on this technology. Angel Technologies is setting up an airborne Internet network, called High Altitude Long Operation (HALO), which plans to use lightweight planes to circle overhead at an altitude of 52,000 to 69,000 feet (15,849 to 21,031 meters) and provide data delivery faster than a T1 line . At this height, the aircraft will remain undisturbed by inclement weather and commercial air traffic. AeroVironment is also planning to work on a idea of using a solar-powered, unmanned plane that would work like the HALO network, and Sky Station International is working on a similar venture using blimps instead of planes.
Deploying high-altitude aircraft will also have a cost advantage over current system of satellites as they don't need to be launched into space.In addition, the airborne Internet will not replace the existing system of satellite and ground based internet but compliment these technologies This technology will overcome the last-mile barriers facing conventional Internet access options to a large extent .