[FoRK] WiFi in the Sky Will Die..

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Fri Feb 2 15:06:48 PST 2007

One of the stories I heard specifically pointed out that they were 
comparing wired access with wireless where there was an access point 
planned for Each Row! Probably something was lost in translation, but on 
the face of it that is idiotic... With all of that signal bouncing off 
the inside of the shell, you would hardly need more than one or two 
access points for each large area, assuming that multipath isn't too 
much of an issue.

There may be regulations somewhere or some other memos that have the 
weight of regulations, but the FAR regs that I read make it pretty much 
up to the company and pilot in command what they allow on a plane. I 
know that if I'm Pilot in Command (PIC) I have the first and last word 
about what electronics are used, and using a cell phone is fine when you 
can get it to work.

All of the detailed statements that airlines say that you are "required 
by law" to follow and mentions of "FAA regulations" come down to a 
handful of requirements to brief passengers on their seatbelts, etc., 
and a catchall that passengers have to obey "required crew", which 
includes flight attendants on a commercial flight of a certain size. 
That's why it's a big deal to argue with a flight attendant (or pilot), 
or me when I'm flying a Cessna.


Ian Andrew Bell wrote:
> It was in 2004 that United announced it would have in-flight WiFi on 
> every domestic route by the end of 2006. Can anyone on this list 
> confirm that it has achieved that goal on any single flight?
> Now comes more conventional wisdom that the hassle of shielding 
> paneling, cabling, radios, and antennae actually causes weight bloat 
> on aircraft, and it's cheaper and less trouble to just wire up every 
> seat with Ethernet.
> http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/01/26/tech-787.html
> ... that's probably true when you're starting from scratch, since you 
> could likely combine cabling for other stuff (audio, etc.) with it. 
> But on a retrofit WiFi might still... well... fly.
> Then there's the FCC. The STA. The NTSB. The FAA.
> Then there's 108 other flying nations with their own Alphabet 
> Agencies, all wanting their pound of flesh.
> Yeah, good luck.
> -Ian.
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