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.


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.


  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

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
    Amazon Video, Music And More Now Available On Majority Of JetBlue’s “Fly-Fi” Enabled Planes

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Wi-Fi network named ‘mobile detonation device’ grounds plane
    Fears spark two-hour delay as nervous passengers disembark

    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.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Brian Heater / TechCrunch:
    JetBlue completes its rollout of Fly-Fi, with free high-speed Wi-Fi on all planes

    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.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Laptop Flipflop: Now U.S. Tries To Ban Laptops In Checked, Not Carry-On, Luggage

    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?

    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.

  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

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Is in Talks to Buy Nokia’s Airborne Broadband System

    Google is in talks to acquire Nokia Oyj’s airplane broadband business as the Alphabet Inc. unit seeks to tap into new services and reach more users by offering in-flight high-speed internet, people familiar with the matter said.

    Nokia’s technology could help Google offer a faster alternative to existing Wi-Fi on airplanes, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Talks are advanced and an agreement may be reached soon, the people said.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sweating or Shivering on the Plane? Now There’s an App for That

    Tired of sweating (or shivering) through your flights?

    A new phone app from the Association of Flight Attendants will allow you to report uncomfortably high or low temperatures to the trade group directly from your seat on the plane — no awkward in-flight conversation necessary.

    Available free to passengers and crews, the AFA’s 2Hot2Cold mobile phone application is part of a broader effort to introduce operational standards for cabin climate control. By documenting problems, the AFA hopes to gather data in support of a petition it filed earlier this month asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to require that airlines maintain a cabin temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (about 18 to 24 Celsius).

    “When we talk to flight attendants and we say, ‘Have you experienced this, an extreme temperature event?’ Every single hand goes up,”

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Passenger cellphones could still pose a crash threat to some models of Boeing 737 and 777 airplanes.

    Cellphones a Flight Risk? Could Be on Some Boeing Jets

    FAA said mobile signals posed safety hazards on some 737s
    Airlines have until November to make changes from 2014 order

    U.S. government officials in 2014 revealed an alarming safety issue: Passenger mobile phones and other types of radio signals could pose a crash threat to some models of Boeing 737 and 777 airplanes.

    More than 1,300 jets registered in the U.S. were equipped with cockpit screens vulnerable to interference from Wi-Fi, mobile phones and even outside frequencies such as weather radar, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which gave airlines until November 2019 to replace the units made by Honeywell International Inc. Honeywell estimates that 70 or fewer planes with cockpit screens in need of repair are still flying.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    American Airlines to offer free Wi-Fi? Here’s what it’ll cost you

    As the big airlines begin to promise that Wi-Fi on flights will be free, they’re gambling on flyers tolerating more big discomfort.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finnair sacks employees for using customer logins to access Wi-Fi

    As many as 100 employees of the national carrier are suspected of inappropriate use of the in-flight service.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Finally, an Effort to Make Inflight Wi-Fi Less Awful

    Inflight Wi-Fi is terrible.

    To be fair, the fact that we can connect to the Internet at all while we’re screaming across the sky at hundreds of kilometers an hour in a metal tube is pretty incredible. But still, the quality of that Internet connection often leaves something to be desired.

    Jack Mandala, the CEO of the industry group Seamless Air Alliance, credits the generally poor inflight Wi-Fi experience in part to the fact that there have never been industry-wide standards developed for the technology. “With regard to inflight connectivity, it’s largely just been proprietary equipment,” he says.

    wireless equipment and have systems custom-designed for their fleet, to the tune of roughly US $600,000 or $700,000 per plane. These wireless systems are not just for passenger Wi-Fi, they’re also responsible for the rest of the pilots’ and plane’s communications with the ground.

    each airline typically ends up locked into a proprietary wireless system that only works with the specific vendor that built it

    Mandala says the biggest challenge in establishing the standards wasn’t anything technical, per se, but rather how granular they could get in establishing subsystems without infringing on companies’ proprietary technologies. In the end, he says, the standard defines eight subsystems, so that an airline can mix and match components and still expect a functional wireless system.

    a plane’s antennas are currently stored in a relatively small hump on the top of the craft, typically about 45 centimeters high. Even though it’s so small, that hump causes tremendous amounts of wasted jet fuel, Mandala says, causing an estimated minimum of an extra $750,000 per aircraft per year in fuel costs.

    A standard for inflight Wi-Fi won’t directly impact your wireless experience in the near future.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mike Dano / Light Reading:
    In-flight internet provider Gogo says it is pushing its 5G rollout back a year, to 2022, due to the global chip shortage

    Gogo delays 5G launch due to chipset shortages

    Gogo’s CEO Oakleigh Thorne said Thursday the company will delay the launch of its planned 5G network from this year to 2022 due to problems stemming from the global chipset shortage.

    The company declined to provide details, including which of its vendors might be impacted by the situation. Nonetheless, the development directly ties ongoing global chipset shortages directly to the 5G industry.

    Optical networking company Infinera already has signaled that chipset shortages will cost it up to $10 million over the next three months. Infinera is one of the world’s leading providers of silicon and technology for core telecom networking. The company’s products generally sit inside the fiber networks that crisscross the world, carrying the bulk of the Internet’s traffic.

    In response to the issue, President Joe Biden signed an executive order last month meant to address the shortages. They have affected industries ranging from medical supplies to electric vehicles.

    However, his order won’t have an immediate impact as it instead calls for ways to bolster the supply of chipsets for US companies, including potentially increasing domestic production of chipsets.

    In a related development, Samsung is now considering four sites in the US for a new $17 billion chipset manufacturing plant, according to new reports.

    Gogo, for its part, announced in 2019 that it would construct a 5G network in order to supply in-flight Wi-Fi to airline passengers.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    #PROTIP – Potatoes work as a human being analog when mapping out wi-fi propagation.

    Boeing uses potatoes instead of people to test wi-fi

    US planemaker Boeing used an unusual substitute for passengers to test its in-flight wi-fi system – potatoes.

    Passenger seats on a decommissioned plane were loaded with huge sacks of the tubers for several days as signal strengths were checked.

    The company’s researchers say that potatoes “interact” with electronic signals in a similar way to humans.

    The technique also took advantage of the fact that spuds – unlike humans – never get bored.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IPv6 tulee vihdoin lentoliikenteeseen

    IPv4-osoitteet loppuivat käytännössä jo syksyllä 2019, eikä aihe juuri sen jälkeen ole noussut otsikoihin. Nyt laajempi IPv6-standardi tekee tuloaan myös lentoliikenteeseen. Esimerkiksi Lynx kertoo yhdistävänsä IPv6:n lentokoneissa erittäin käytettyyn LynxOS-178-alustaansa.

    Lynx Software Technologiesin ohjelmistoja käytetään laajalti monissa tehtäväkriittisissä sulautetuissa järjestelmissä niin sotilas- kuin ilmailukäytössä. IPv6-tuki mahdollistaa LynxOS-178:aa käyttävien laitteiden suorituskyvyn parantamisen, ja niissä on edistynyt osoitus ja muita parannuksia, kuten parannettu tietoturva IPsec-tuen avulla sekä yksinkertaistettu datapakettien käsittely.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Passengers Exposed to Hacking via Vulnerabilities in Airplane Wi-Fi Devices

    Researchers have discovered two potentially serious vulnerabilities in wireless LAN devices that they say are often used in airplanes.

    Researchers Thomas Knudsen and Samy Younsi of Necrum Security Labs identified the vulnerabilities in the Flexlan FX3000 and FX2000 series wireless LAN devices made by Contec, a Japan-based company that specializes in embedded computing, industrial automation, and IoT communication technology.

    One of the security holes, CVE-2022-36158, is related to a hidden webpage that can be used to execute Linux commands on the device with root privileges. The device’s web-based management interface does not provide a link to this hidden page.

    Flexlan wireless LAN device vulnerabilities could allow airplane hacking

    “From here we had access to all the system files but also be able to open the telnet port and have full access on the device,” the researchers explained in a blog post.

    The second vulnerability, CVE-2022-36159, is related to a backdoor account and the use of a weak hardcoded password. The researchers found a root user account with a default hardcoded password that is likely designed for maintenance purposes. The password is stored as a hash, but it was quickly cracked by the experts. An attacker can use this account to gain control of the device.

    [CVE-2022-36158 / CVE-2022-36159] Contec FLEXLAN FXA2000 and FXA3000 series vulnerability report.

    Product Description:

    The FLEXLAN FXA2000 and FXA3000 series devices from CONTEC are WiFi access point mainly used in airplanes and allows very high speed communication to provide movies, musics, but also buy foods and goodies during the flight trip.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Helpommin ja turvallisemin nettiin lentokoneessa

    Helpommin ja turvallisemin nettiin lentokoneessa

    Julkaistu: 12.10.2022

    Networks Software

    Lentomatkustajille on jo usein tarjolla internet-yhteyksiä, mutta usein verkkoihin liittyminen on ongelma. Esimerkiksi yritysten VPN-yhteydet voivat jopa estää liittymisen koneen verkoon. WBA-järjestö (Wireless Broadband Alliance) on nyt julkaissut suuntaviivat sille, miten lentoyhtiöt voivat poistaa esteitä Wi-Fi-käytön tieltä.

    WBA:n raportti “In-Flight Wi-Fi Connectivity: Improving Passenger Experience, Engagement and Utake” kattaa tärkeimmät liiketoiminta- ja teknologiset haasteet, joita sidosryhmät, kuten lentoyhtiöt, identiteetin tarjoajat, mukaan lukien matkapuhelinoperaattorit, satelliitti- ja ilma-maa-backhaul-palvelut, avioniikkatoimittajat ja verkkovierailua helpottavat hub-palvelut kohtaavat.

    Vaikka lennon aikana Wi-Fi on nyt laajalti saatavilla monissa kaupallisissa lentokoneissa, matkustajat eivät ole yhteyksistä vielä innostuneet. Yksi suuri syy on perinteisen captive portal -menetelmän aiheuttamat vaikeudet muodostaa yhteys Internetiin. Matkustajien on yhdistettävä oikeaan Wi-Fi-verkkoon, navigoitava sitten oikealle aloitussivulle ja lopuksi määritettävä, minkälaisesta yhteydestä he haluavat maksaa.

    Tutkimusten mukaan jokainen vaihe johtaa ongelmien ilmaantuessa yleensä keskeyttämiseen, ja lentoyhtiöille, palveluntarjoajille ja muille ekosysteemin jäsenille jokainen tästä tarpeettoman monimutkaisesta yhteysprosessista johtuva keskeyttäminen tarkoittaa tulonmenetyksiä.

    Lentoyhtiöt ovat investoineet lennon portaalipalveluihin, ja työnantajan VPN on este niitä käyttäville liikematkustajille. Kun heillä on Internet-yhteys, yhteyden muodostaminen VPN-verkkoon estää heitä pääsemästä näihin sisäisiin palveluihin. Saadakseen yhteyden heidän on katkaistava VPN-yhteys. Tämä edestakaisin liikkuminen vähentää todennäköisyyttä ostaa lennon aikana palveluita.

    WBA:n raportissa tarkastellaan, kuinka sidosryhmät voivat voittaa nämä ja muut suuret esteet ja parantaa prosessia. Esimerkiksi Passpoint-kirjautumisen käyttöönotto vapauttaa matkustajat joka kerta kirjautumistietojen manuaalisen syöttämisen vaivasta. Sen sijaan lentokoneen verkko tunnistaa laitteet automaattisesti ja yhdistää ne jokaisella lennolla automaattisesti ja turvallisesti.

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    5G on airplanes could mean the end of Airplane Mode
    The measure is currently being discussed

    The EU is deciding whether to let airplane passengers use data and make calls while in the air.
    The ruling would allow airlines to provide 5G connectivity instead of requiring passengers to pay for slow Wi-Fi.
    If agreed upon, members of the EU would need to make 5G on airplanes ready by June 30, 2023.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hacking Airline WiFi The Hard Way

    We’ve all been there. You are on a flight, there’s WiFi, but you hate to pay the few bucks just to watch dog videos. What to do? Well, we would never suggest you engage in theft of service, but as an intellectual exercise, [Robert Heaton] had an interesting idea. Could the limited free use of the network be coopted to access the general internet? Turns out, the answer is yes.

    Admittedly, it is a terrible connection. Here’s how it works. The airline lets you get to your frequent flier account. When there, you can change information such as your name. A machine on the ground can also see that change and make changes, too. That’s all it takes.

    It works like a drop box. You take TCP traffic, encode it as fake information for the account and enter it. You then watch for the response via the same channel and reconstitute the TCP traffic from the remote side. Now the network is at your fingertips.

    PySkyWiFi: completely free, unbelievably stupid wi-fi on long-haul flights

    The plane reached 10,000ft. I took out my laptop, planning to peruse the internet and maybe do a little work if I got really desperate.

    I connected to the in-flight wi-fi and opened my browser. The network login page demanded credit card details. I fumbled for my card, which I eventually discovered had hidden itself inside my passport. As I searched I noticed that the login page was encouraging me to sign in to my airmiles account, free of charge, even though I hadn’t paid for anything yet. A hole in the firewall, I thought. It’s a long way from London to San Francisco so I decided to peer through it.

    I logged in to my JetStreamers Diamond Altitude account and started clicking. I went to my profile page, where I saw an edit button. It looked like a normal button: drop shadow, rounded corners, nothing special. I was supposed to use it to update my name, address, and so on.

    But suddenly I realised that this was no ordinary button. This clickable rascal would allow me to access the entire internet through my airmiles account. This would be slow. It would be unbelievably stupid. But it would work.

    Before I could access the entire internet through my airmiles account I’d need to write a few prototypes. At first I thought that I’d write them using Go, but then I realised that if I used Python then I could call the final tool PySkyWiFi. Obviously I did that instead.

    Prototype 1: Instant Messaging

    Here’s the basic idea: suppose that I logged into my airmiles account and updated my name. If you were also logged in to my account then you could read my new name, from the ground. You could update it again, and I could read your new value. If we kept doing this then the name field of my airmiles account could serve as a tunnel through the airplane’s wi-fi firewall to the real world.

    This tunnel could support a simple instant messaging protocol. I could update my name to “Hello how are you.” You could read my message and then send me a reply by updating my name again to “Im fine how are you.”

    I created a test airmiles account and logged into it on both computers. I found that I could indeed chat with myself by updating the name field in the UI.

    This was a lousy user experience though. So I wrote a command line tool to automate it.

    Using this tool I could chat with someone on the ground, via my terminal. I wouldn’t have to pay for wifi, and neither of us would have to know or care that the messages were being sent via my SkyVenture Premium Gold Rewards account.

    Prototype 2: Live headlines, stock prices, and football scores

    The tunnel I’d constructed through my airmiles account would be useful for more than IMing. For my next prototype I wrote a program that would run on a computer back at my house or in the cloud, and would automatically send information from the real world up to me on the plane, through my airmiles account. I could deploy it before I left for my next flight and have it send me the latest stock prices or football scores while I was in the sky.

    The real thing: PySkyWiFi

    During the rest of the flight I wrote PySkyWiFi. PySkyWiFi is a highly simplified version of the TCP/IP protocol that squeezes whole HTTP requests through an airmiles account, out of the plane, and down to a computer connected to the internet on the ground. A daemon running on this ground computer makes the HTTP requests for me, and then finally squeezes the completed HTTP responses back through my airmiles account, up to me on my plane.

    This meant that on my next flight I could technically have full access to the internet, via my airmiles account. Depending on network conditions on the plane I might be able to hit speeds of several bytes per second.

    DISCLAIMER: you obviously shouldn’t actually do any of this

  20. tomi says:

    I use Amazon for hosting.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    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.


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