Using The Beryl MT3000 On A Flight

I am flying worldwide constantly. I need a strong WiFi signal while airborne. I will have up to 20 devices connected with crew.

  1. What is the best way to optimize/maximize performance?

  2. Does the VPN work in this environment?

  3. Will a VPN limit speed and functionality?

Thank you!

What? Wardriving in a plane are we. Um I somehow think this violates multiple aviation regulations. If you are referring to repeating the inflight wifi I don’t think that can be done or it would be even slower max speed for the entire plane is around 100Mbps or lower usally passengers get 15Mbps

https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/03/tech/inflight-wifi-technology/index.html#:~:text=But%20even%20satellite%20connections%20are,terrestrial%20WiFi%20is%20capable%20of.

1 Like

I’m been successful repeating the Wi-Fi on Delta, AA, and JetBlue flights (they’re all using Viasat I believe). I can usually get 30-40mbps… fast enough to stream a show and do stuff… sharing with a bunch of active users would likely cause the uplink (Wi-Fi repeater) to be the bottleneck…

Well I stand corrected
image

Are you using a GL.iNet router?
How are you handling power?

1 Like

Hahaha. Appreciate the reference. :wink:

I am using GL devices, I’ve been successful with AXT1800, and MT3000, I’ve also done it with MT1300 (now retired). For power, I have a 10,000mAh Anker USB-C power-bank that can keep any of the routers powered for hours; easily covered 6hrs between airport and flight. I also have an Omni-charge 20 for longer battery use I travel with.

The only catch or gotcha I’ve experienced is, the need to often ‘randomize’ the MAC address. I usually do that when the flights are at cruising altitude (~30k feet), and prior to paying for the Wi-Fi for the flight. I’ve never had an issue once randomized and connected/paid for… but I have experienced weird black-holed traffic if I don’t randomize the MAC — to the point that the page to buy the pass fails to load. Simply randomizing the MAC and getting a new IP from the plane Wi-Fi fixes it. - I suspect duplicate IP issues or something like that.

Forgot to answer the VPN question…

OpenVPN Cloud (CloudConnexa) works for me… though, it is…. Very slow. The latency and jitter on Viasat in the plane doesn’t translate well using OpenVPN in my experience. I would advise against using it unless necessary. I haven’t tested Wireguard.

The latency/jitter on the plane can range anywhere from 600ms to 2,500ms… bandwidth again is 30-40mbps… but you’ll need to resort to satellite-phone talk codes to be on a call; and again, OpenVPN in my experience made everything else much slower.

VPN by nature will always have overhead. GL iNet post their ‘perfect world lab results’ publicly on each devices page. Even their results are easily obtainable with the right WAN connection… but yeah, I’d put satellite plane shared internet in the “worst possible environment for VPN” though, maybe a submarine could be worse — don’t have access to one for testing. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks for your reply’s. I purchased United wifi on the ground before setting up the router. At that point I was able to read your email explaining that it’s best to do so at cruise altitude. I tried the Repeater function. It did not work. The Unitedwifi.com was listed but the WiFi symbol showed a line through it. I tried using the Random setting under the Mac Address heading. Still, nothing. Under Internet- Switch Network- I get a message that says Repeater (STA) Disabled. Any ideas?
Thanks

That’s odd. The “Repeater (STA) disabled”
image

There should be a “Connect” option. You should be able to connect to the Wi-Fi the plane is broadcasting e.g. SSID: “Unitedwifi”. Once connected, you should see an IP Address assigned under the repeater… If you do, and the plane is at cruise altitude (I think they turn wifi on only above XX thousand feet), You should b able to browse to with united.com, unitedwifi.com, or sometimes type in “http://captive.apple.com” ← “HTTP” and NOT “HTTPS” is important here… Your device should be redirected to a captive portal prompting to buy the flight pass…

If not, verify that you’re getting an IP address shown in the repeater, If you’re not… That’s when I have needed to randomize the MAC address. Once that updates with a new MAC, I’ve always got an IP address (sometimes new IP, replacing one that wasn’t working)… and finally the captive page will load.

The captive.apple.com is just a common one, but you could use something like http://8.8.8.8/ or whatever random IP address you want to enter that’s going to go to the internet as HTTP so that you’ll be redirected to the captive portal.

I’ve never flown United with the travel routers. But I anticipate they use the same backend as others (Viasat). I’ve only experienced one flight where Wi-Fi was down for the entire flight – acknowledged after troubleshooting and finally asking the flight attendant if they were aware of issues and they confirmed it along with another passenger. They refunded the wifi fight pass.

The key is… you need to buy the flight-pass while connected through the router… They tie the purchase to the MAC address of the device… So buying it from your phone, will only work for the phone… Buying it while connected to the router, will work for all devices connected to (and through) the router…. Hope that makes sense.

As a flight crew member, I’d be kinda pissed if I saw someone doing this. The onboard Wi-Fi is provided via an engineering order or similar depending on what part of the world it is. To be connecting and spraying out a Wi-Fi signal on any channel you so wish is irresponsible and stupid as you don’t know what interference you may be causing. Do you know what “safe” channels are to be used? Thought not…

1 Like

Use a signal booster: A signal booster can help increase the strength of the WiFi signal, making it easier for multiple devices to connect and stay connected.

I cannot speak for Wi-Fi outside of the USA… Other countries do things differently. But there’s absolutely no problem or risk running Wi-Fi on planes in the United States. This is the only documented case of EMI/Wi-Fi interference on planes; causing issues with screen display and has since been addressed and resolved through regulation:

Studies have shown, the majority of people don’t even turn “airplane mode” on these days. If it was a problem, it would be easy for smart-phone manufactures to implement software safeguards to detect speed, GPS altitude, etc. and automatically enable airplane mode; but there’s no such need. Also, when you connect to and repeat Wi-Fi, it repeats on the same channel it’s connected on… Sure, maybe it connects on 2.4GHz, and 5GHz is running at a different channel, but again… This is not going to cause ‘interference’ with critical flight systems; it would be a pretty poor design if anything critical ran on consumer grade Wi-Fi channels. The consumer grade Wi-Fi spectrum is one of the most heavily regulated, overused sectors for reasons like this. GPS, Radio and other wireless technologies the plane relies on, aren’t on that spectrum; and would even overpower standard consumer products if they were. Don’t get me started on Bluetooth and 2.4GHz interference… Again. Plane’s and modern aviation equipment are not at risk of interference or any other consumer grade products within the US, and I would imagine most other countries as well.

That said, you’re welcome to be pissed, and are fully entitled to your feelings. I just don’t think you should be spreading the fear-factor… The only reason the airlines should be upset, is due to the fact that it’s breaching their terms of use – and therefore they’re losing money they could be making off each device connecting to their on-board wi-fi, rather than ‘sharing’ over a single paid connection.

1 Like

Airline cockpits rely on portable devices now more than ever. Everything we do is on a company issued iPad which provides streamed weather and traffic information that is far superior in detail compared to our flight instrument display info. We can now see three dimensional forecasted turbulence and weather, weather and turbulence that is 1000 of miles ahead instead of just a few 100 miles so maneuvers to avoid problem areas can be made well in advance. The devices also provides pilots with the worldwide navigation database. A strong WiFi signal is essential in terms of being able to access this critical information. The WIFI reception in the cockpit however, is far below that of marginal when compared to the main cabin. A travel router fixes this reception deficiency. Using one is a matter of safety for pilots and crew. And trust me, if travel routers were a threat, the FAA would ban there use immediately no questions asked. For us, using one is a matter of safety.

2 Likes

Our flight deck receives all that information via datalink and ADSB to the avionics. The iPads are a backup to the onboard servers. Anyway, wouldn’t happen on our aircraft, Wi-Fi signal is fine with installed equipment.

1 Like

We have similar systems - all major airlines do an of course is our primary source of information. The iPad apps provides 3D turbulence models and worldwide satellite weather radar that enhances what we have onboard. Various apps also provide excellent traffic info especially when traveling through African airspace where Comms are marginal at best and even nonexistent in some regions. It’s all there to improve SA and keep things safe. I can only speak of the specific plane I fly and our WiFi coverage upfront is week so we all use routers to improve the signal which enhances safety.

Fair enough. I’m in corporate, so in our Global we pretty much get all that info in the flight deck, and the iPads are just there for charts, etc. Fly safe

Corporate Aviation …… the Garmin Avionics that most corporate aircraft have installed offer significantly more functionality than most US carriers aircraft including the 787 which I fly. We would love to have Garmin installed in all of our aircraft!! Great stuff. The avionics on the 777s, 756/767 are really outdated by todays standards. I understand where you are coming from…Fly safe👍

Problem Fixed ……… 4.2.2 Snapshot

On the flight to my NY base from Tokyo, just could not get the AX3000 to work. I tried everything suggested in this thread to no avail. Later in the evening, I stumbled upon a forum post where others were having the exact same issue. Several posters stated that the problem was fixed when they installed the 4.2.2 Snapshot update. So I gave it a try and this update work perfectly. On my flight back home from work, I was able to connect the AX3000 up to the aircraft’s WiFi without issue. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to contribute to this thread - really appreciate.

2 Likes

Yeah Collins Fusion. Take care.

I’ve been using my USB-150 for ~5 years (and as of the last year, my old 750S) on at least 50-75 Southwest Airlines flights per year … unless this is the Afterlife (and if so, why am I at work RN?!) the number of takeoffs has equalled the number of landings (and all at the designated airport).

IOW, OP, I wouldn’t worry about it. That being said, packet loss is huge so a UDP-based VPN like Wireguard is far less reliable than a TCP-based solution like OpenVPN.