As a frequent flyer, my first thought when boarding a flight is often focused around whether there will be space for my carry-on, competing with my fellow passengers for the limited space available. I confess it can be difficult not to be frustrated when several large bags have hogged all the space, leaving me with no option but to check my bag.
Similarly, the aircraft and passengers often experience the same dilemma at 35,000 feet, but for another reason. This competition is for the availability to exchange data on and off the aircraft, or “bandwidth” over the in-flight connectivity service. It is quite likely that you never give a second thought to the physics nor the technological advances that make it possible to connect to the Internet in the sky. But you may ask yourself: given all of these advances, why do we still struggle for “space” in that proverbial data pipe used for in-flight connectivity?