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What is Wi-Fi certification and is it worth it?

On-board wireless internet explained

Certified installations are required by law if your aircraft is registered in the United States.

If you’re considering adding wireless internet capability to your aircraft, you may be asking: Is certified Wi-Fi equipment worth the cost?

If your aircraft is registered in the United States, certified installations are required by law. There are installers who often work around those regulations, but in exchange for saving a few dollars, you risk overcoming some future issues.

  • Regulatory
    If your aircraft gets stopped for a ramp check or is in for other inspections or service, someone will eventually find the violation and likely report you. The fines or other penalties will make installing certified equipment worth it from the beginning.
  • Professional
    Flight crews, maintenance technicians and service centers that value their reputations won’t work on your aircraft. They may assume this isn’t the only place you skimped on quality or compliance. They won’t jeopardize their safety, reputation or credentials by associating with you or your aircraft.
  • Resale
    If you plan to sell or trade your aircraft, you can’t without the proper equipment installed. Installing certified equipment, especially Wi-Fi, can help increase resale value and speed up the resale timeframe.
  • Navigation
    Non-certified equipment may interfere with your avionics. When you’re in the soup, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your Wi-Fi system is interfering with life-saving instrumentation.
  • Safety
    Certified equipment will withstand the rigors of being onboard an aircraft—everything from electromagnetic interference to turbulence and hard landings to environmental strains—be it an August afternoon in Phoenix or a February night in Fargo. Everything is designed and built to be a piece of equipment that is safe to have on board.

When you consider long-term issues like safety, resale value and operations, certified connectivity and Wi-Fi equipment is worth it. The extra expense for certified equipment is an investment in you, your passengers and your aircraft.