Wireless Internet inside plane

I just used reasonably priced wireless Internet in plane. I flew yesterday with Norwegian Boeing 737 plane. When the plane took off there was a surprising announcement on the plane: This plane has a free wireless Internet system on board. As soon as the plane is in flying altitude and the fasten your seatbelt light has bee turned on you are free to start to use your tablet or laptop with WLAN. Norwegian says that it is the first flight company that offers WiFi internet in the plane in Europe.

I tried the WLAN connection with a small tablet (5″ Deal Android tablet). When I opened the web browser I was forwarded to Norwegian plane home page that gave view to flight information like flight time, altitude, speed and route map. Quite ueful. That page has a button to activate free Internet connection. When I pressed I was forwarded to a web address in row44.com domain. The registering felt to be taking long time (at least 30 seconds). After registering Internet connection worked. I could access Internet well, but the connection had noticeable latency (extra several seconds) every time I opened a web page. But after some waiting things worked quite similarly what I would get with Internet through cellular network data (works but takes time to load pages). So not very broadband connection but worked acceptably.

I tried to figure out some details of the system they used. When looking at WLAN frequency use I saw there were two different channels in use with same similar naming. I quess they have two WLAN basestations on different channels to cover the airplane, not just one base station. The system seems use some form of Web Accelerator server on board. I got some 504 errors sometimes, and the error page told that the web accelerator system had problem with satellite connection. So based on that the system seems to be using a satellite uplink from plane to Internet. I could not do any actual performance testing of the network, because I could not get any speed test pages to work on my tablet (I am not sure if that problem was with my crappy tablet or if those pages were somwhow blocked). Some general details of the system can be found at Row 44 web page.

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I think that Internet connection during flight is a good idea. Norwegian is planning to offer WLAN in all of it’s planes during 2012. I am waiting for other flight companies to catch up on this.

108 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    International Telecommunication Union ITU indicates that the frequency range of 1087.7 ​​to 1092.3 MHz is allocated to continuous monitoring of aircraft.

    In the past, these ADS-B frequencies (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) is used for communication between the aircraft and ground stations LOS connections (line-of-sight), or a link operates as between aircraft and the ground station is line of sight. 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface has been the ADS-B out of reach.

    Continuous monitoring of aircraft frequencies set in the ongoing WRC15 radio at the meeting.

    In 2017 the ADS-B receivers satellites will be moving the ADS-B signals of all the earth fly the aircraft control towers throughout the world. This makes all aircraft equipped with ADS-B transmitter business data practically in real time.

    The solution enables aircraft can be monitored on the high seas, deserts, polar regions and mountainous areas, where the machines have so far been outside the radar field of view.

    In addition, the system increases the information on aircraft movements can therefore help to optimize the machines air routes.

    In the United States each aircraft must be installed in the transmitter at the latest in 2020.

    Source: http://etn.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3595:lentokoneiden-jatkuva-seuranta-sai-taajuudet&catid=13&Itemid=101

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
    Amazon Video, Music And More Now Available On Majority Of JetBlue’s “Fly-Fi” Enabled Planes
    http://techcrunch.com/2015/11/24/amazon-video-music-and-more-now-available-on-majority-of-jetblues-fly-fi-enabled-planes/

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Wi-Fi network named ‘mobile detonation device’ grounds plane
    Fears spark two-hour delay as nervous passengers disembark
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/05/03/wifi_hotspot_named_mobile_detonation_device_grounds_plane/

    Australian airline QANTAS delayed a flight for two hours on Saturday after a passenger reported seeing a Wi-Fi network named “Mobile detonation device”.

    The passenger reported the network’s name to crew, who in turn reported it to the captain of the 737, which was due to fly from Melbourne to Perth.

    The captain demanded that the offending device be produced, an order that apparently had no result.

    Crew were eventually satisfied the SSID posed no threat and the plane made it to Perth without incident, albeit a couple of hours late.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Brian Heater / TechCrunch:
    JetBlue completes its rollout of Fly-Fi, with free high-speed Wi-Fi on all planes
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/11/jetblue/

    JetBlue today announced that it has officially completed its fleet-wide rollout of Fly-Fi, bringing free wireless internet to all of its planes. The carrier first introduced the service in late 2013, bringing speeds of around 12 to 15Mbps — far surprising the wireless offerings available on other domestic flights at the time.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Laptop Flipflop: Now U.S. Tries To Ban Laptops In Checked, Not Carry-On, Luggage
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/martinrivers/2017/10/21/laptop-flipflop-now-u-s-tries-to-ban-laptops-in-checked-not-carry-on-luggage/2/#1b63c2c5245f

    Seven months after America banned laptops from the passenger cabins of flights from the Arab World – forcing travelers to check them into cargo holds – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants global airlines to ban the very practice its government had previously imposed on them.

    The FAA’s advice is based on new safety tests showing that the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries found in laptops could bring down an aircraft if they overheat when packed next to flammable items in checked luggage.

    ts findings are published in a paper submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN agency that issues non-binding air safety guidance to the international community. The proposed ban has already won the backing of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer, establishing a consensus that ICAO is unlikely to overrule. Even after it weighs in, though, individual governments will retain the final say on ratifying any measures.

    The report cites ten experiments the FAA conducted with fully-charged laptops packed inside a suitcase.

    For the first four tests, the bag contained no other hazardous items and the resultant fires were extinguished by the Halon fire-suppression system that is widely used in cargo holds. In a fifth experiment without other hazardous items, the Halon system was not present and the suitcase was fully consumed by fire.

    But it was the subsequent tests that were most alarming, as they demonstrated how certain everyday items can exacerbate thermal runway to such a degree that the lifesaving Halon system becomes ineffective.

    Other experiments showed that nail polish remover, hand sanitizer and rubbing alcohol also accelerate battery fires, but it was the explosive effect of the aerosol can that had experts most concerned.

    While an exploding aerosol can is unlikely to cause structural damage to an aircraft, the impairment of the Halon system means that a fire could spread freely through the cargo hold and into other compartments such as the passenger cabin and electronics bay. This chain of events, the FAA warns, “could lead to the loss of the aircraft”.

    One reason that such an incident has not yet occurred, it suggests, is that passengers are “not typically placing their [laptops] in checked baggage”

    The FAA has repeatedly warned about the dangers of lithium-ion batteries and devices that use them, specifically banning spare batteries and e-cigarettes from checked luggage. Other battery-powered devices such as hover-boards and certain cell-phones have also been subject to FAA edicts.

    When did laptops become such a danger on planes?
    http://mashable.com/2017/05/12/laptop-ban-airline-europe-trump/#im3DkzrefOqu

    First shoes, then liquids, and now laptops.

    With reports suggesting the airplane cabin laptop ban may soon expand from flights originating in eight Middle Eastern and African countries to parts of Europe, it’s clear that our computers have now joined the list of things we have to worry about when flying.

    However, some big questions remain: Why now, and why are laptops considered OK in a plane’s cargo hold but not in its cabin?

    CNN reported in March that an unspecified al Qaeda affiliate was in fact working to disguise explosives as laptop components. As such, we know that the initial laptop ban wasn’t totally out of the blue.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    That laptop ban may soon get a whole lot worse for plane passengers
    FAA suggests a worldwide ban on laptops in checked bags
    https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/airline-laptop-ban-extension/

    Reply
  7. tomi says:

    I use Amazon for hosting.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FCC Kills Plan To Allow Mobile Phone Conversations On Flights
    https://yro.slashdot.org/story/17/04/10/1957250/fcc-kills-plan-to-allow-mobile-phone-conversations-on-flights

    On Monday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission killed a plan to allow mobile phone calls during commercial airline flights. Since 2013, the FCC and the Federal Aviation Administration have considered allowing airline passengers to talk on the phones during flights, although the FAA also proposed rules requiring airlines to give passengers notice if they planned to allow phone calls.

    US FCC kills plan to allow mobile phone conversations on flights
    The FCC’s chairman reverses course on a 2013 plan to allow you to place phone calls during flights.
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/3188638/mobile/us-fcc-kills-plan-to-allow-mobile-phone-conversations-on-flights.html

    Reply

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