Using VPN during flight

4 things business aviation operators need to know

What is VPN?

VPN is an important tool for corporate flight departments—both on the ground and, increasingly, in the air. Gogo insights show a rise in VPN data as more corporate professionals (not just the C suite) are using business flight department aircraft to efficiently and productively get where they need to be.

But let’s back up. What, exactly is VPN and why is it important?

A virtual private network (VPN) is an encrypted tunnel that connects your device to a protected remote server elsewhere. VPNs use encrypted data in real time to secure your information, internet traffic and online identity. Your IP address is then hidden and redirected through a configured remote server operated by the VPN host. In turn, if there is a snooper out there, they won’t be able to read or utilize your data. While Gogo offers end-to-end data security in our solutions, it’s easy to see why corporate IT encourages business flight passengers to use VPN for all things work related during flight.

Why VPN is important to business passengers.

Modern business is powered by data, digital tools, and web-based interactions. Gogo insights show that the amount of data and devices being used on every business aviation flight is growing at a staggering rate.

It’s no surprise, then, that Inflight connectivity has become an undisputed necessity -- because it enables executive passengers to keep working as though they’re still in their home or office. But just like being at home or at the office, most businesses with an IT department either encourage or require the use of VPN when accessing important company information, tools or web sites.

So while cybersecurity is built into the DNA of all Gogo networks, platforms and services, VPN serves a critical role, especially for corporate flight departments plus larger fractional and charter organizations.

Benefits of Using a VPN:

  • Protect your data and traffic from other devices on the aircraft.
    • Using a VPN encrypts that data before it ever leaves your device, preventing it from being seen by others.
  • Protect yourself on the internet.
    • Your data can be tracked by the websites that you visit and the apps that you use on your personal devices. Use of a VPN will anonymize your traffic on the internet from these services and apps.
  • Change your location.
    • Some services and content are only available in certain areas. As you travel, you may lose access to these services because your location has changed. Many third-party VPNs allow you to change your endpoint location allowing you to still access those services.
  • Work securely in the skies.
    • Most companies use private VPNs to allow employees to have a secure connection into their private network while working away from the office and accessing sensitive and confidential company data.

Gogo VPN and security

VPN’s impact on inflight Wi-Fi performance

The encryption process, the distance to the server, and the VPN protocol your VPN uses can impact your Internet speed. But what really matters is: Is that slowdown noticeable?

The reality is that with older networks (and networks like GEO satellite that already have higher latency) VPN is certainly doable, but the inflight Wi-Fi can “feel” slower when you’re on VPN. That can compound with multiple users on VPN simultaneously. 

However, Gogo was the first provider to make VPN a reality for simultaneous users on a business flight. Right now, our Gogo Biz 4G network (powered by the AVANCE L5 platform) connects more than 2,200 aircraft (more than 700,000 flights and counting) with the high-speed, low latency broadband that minimizes any noticeable impact of VPN, which is a boon to business travelers.

But when we launch Gogo 5G…

GOGO 5G will completely change the game

With the upcoming launch of Gogo 5G, corporate flight department passengers will gain two key benefits that will make VPN a seamless and easy option for everyone on board, with effectively zero impact on overall Wi-Fi performance: 

  1. Gogo is gaining a bigger broadband “pipe” (more throughput) to the plane. The bigger the pipe, the more data it can handle without any slow-downs.
  2. 5G protocol and newer radios are much faster with “handshaking” giving more time to transfer data.

As an executive passenger, VPN is an indispensable part of your work tools, both on and off the ground. Gogo is the only provider who makes every VPN touchpoint – the network to and from the aircraft, the onboard systems, the software that manages the experience, and the network operations infrastructure – VPN friendly. It’s one of the reasons why Gogo connects more business aircraft than any one else combined. To learn more, discover how AVANCE L5 creates an incredibly productive experience for your corporate executive passengers right now, and gets you ready to add Gogo 5G when it launches.

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