I'm typing this on a Southwest plane where my email is loading at a snail's pace, but the guy across the aisle from me is happily watching a golf tournament in real time video on his iPad.

Not that it would do anything to help, but is his TV taking up all the bandwidth and my email has to make do with the remainder?

Or is the reason for abysmally slow wifi on Southwest unrelated to all the TV-watching?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about network configurations – JonathanReez May 2 '16 at 22:22
  • If you think one person watching video sucks up all the bandwidth, what do you think happens when five people watch video? Or 100? – DJClayworth May 3 '16 at 3:27
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    You should also be careful using the in-flight internet. The providers of that service (GoGo, etc) are known to implement man-in-the-middle spoofing of certificates so they essentially can see everything you do. When I worked in healthcare we were actually not allowed to use in-flight internet since it was a potential violation of HIPAA. (Not related, just a side note.) – Roddy of the Frozen Peas May 3 '16 at 3:41
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    @Roddy its impossible to spoof certificates without the browser raising a huge red flag. That's the whole point of SSL. – JonathanReez May 3 '16 at 6:53

The video on demand is served from an onboard media server and is not using any of the available bandwith of the in many cases very slow internet connection available on flights.

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    The pre-recorded shows are, but many airlines (I don't remember if this includes SWA or not) also have live satellite TV available (which, being live, is obviously not sourced from an on-board server.) In either case, though, you're right that it's not hogging the bandwidth. The early on-board WiFi services were just slow. The ones that are being rolled out now, though, are much faster from what I understand. – reirab May 3 '16 at 6:12
  • SWA doesn't have satellite TV (or seatback TVs, for that matter.) Unless they've changed something since the last time I flew them that now streams satellite TV through the on-board server to let it be watched from a personal iPad. I know JetBlue does have satellite TV at each seat. – Andrew Maiman May 3 '16 at 10:20

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