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March 16, 2017

Airlines are racing to speed up in-flight Wi-Fi, but they're all playing catch up to passengers' desires for faster connections. Before the technology improves (and is installed on all aircraft), there might be a temporary solution.

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a Google Chrome browser extenstion that can “drastically improve web browsing speeds,” the Deccan Herald reported.

ScaleUp, as it's called, increases browsing speed in a few ways: It drops the font-load request and slightly increases the size of fonts and images, which pushes some objects further down, reducing the amount of data the browser is requesting and trying to load. The end result: Web pages loaded up to four times faster.

Related: The U.S. Airports With the Fastest Wi-Fi

“Travelers are paying a lot of money and getting modem-like performance,” Fabian Bustamante, professor of computer science at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, said in a statement. “We need to better understand how else we can improve the web experience regardless of the conditions.”

(A modem, for those readers who do not remember, is very slow. And involves lots of sounds.)

Get the free extension in the Google Chrome web store.

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