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Onboard Internet Access: Two Approaches  
User currently offlineFlashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2939 posts, RR: 6
Posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1536 times:
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The latest war between the manufacturers is on, specifically being Internet infrastructures on airliners. Boeing, and now Airbus, both have plans in place.

With Airbus' recent acquisition, they are in the position to offer narrow-band internet access to email and selected webpages (via a proxy server onboard). It's available today.

Boeing's product will apparently offer 56k+ speeds on a broadband basis. I'm not aware if Boeing will open it up to the whole web or selected sites via a proxy server. That product won't be available for some time (a year or so, I believe).

Which is the better path? Would you want email now or wait for the whole enchilada later?

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 9027 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1518 times:

If Boeing is going to open up the Web in most of its whole, I'd go with Boeing. If Boeing does open it all up and is offering better speeds, I'd go with Boeing. However, it is nice to see that both companies want to open up the web and help consumers.


User currently offlineLZ-TLT From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1508 times:

any more details on transfer protocols and communication aids to be used(ie satelite uplink, conventional radio or what?)

I remember Ericsson coming some years ago with an experimental technology allowing using all the data channels of a conventional GSM mobile phone and thus allowing 33600bps transfer rate. Well, now as the common GSM standart is to be replaced by the UMTS standart, it sounds logical that Airbus is going with the actual technology as Boeing is awaiting the establishment of UMTS.

OK, I'm aware GSM's DON'T work above 10000 ft, but I can imagine pretty well the common up(down)link technologies being used to establish the link between aircraft and ground/space transmitter station.

Any additional technical details?

User currently offlineFlyBoeing From United States of America, joined May 2000, 866 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1505 times:

From what I've read about the Boeing idea, it's a lot like DirectPC satellite Internet access (the two way kind) accessible through an onboard LAN. What Boeing did was develop an electronically scanned conforming satellite antenna that helps the DirectPC connection work as the platform is moving at 500 kts.

Click here to access the Boeing site

The Tenzing Communications idea simply periodically downloads pages from selected sites and uploads them with a low bandwith reciever to to give you the illusion that you're accesing the internet.

I like the Boeing idea, because I could use my own computer and it's capable of very high speeds, as well as giving me the whole Internet.

The Tenzing system is for use in seat back TVs; even if it was accesible through some sort of LAN, I would have to deal with crummy slow access speeds. Not my cup of tea.

User currently offlineCAETravlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 922 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1500 times:

I would say that the Airbus partnership has the upper hand in this. They can offer it now, and their rates that they are talking about offering are many times more reasonable than what Boeing was talking about. I am sure that Boeing will have to come off of the usage fees to be competitive. For international flying, passengers really could make their decisions on which carriers to fly based on the availability of internet connection, the quality of the connection, and the price of the usage. Just my thoughts. That is how I would think.

A woman drove me to drink and I didn't have the decency to thank her. - W.C. Fields
User currently offlineN863DA From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 48 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1498 times:

I hate to be the one to say it, but do we really NEED to be in contact with email ALL the time?

Can't we just flight-time as rest time?

As to the main idea, the idea of real-time Boeing Connexion access to the internet sounds like a good idea to me.


N 8 6 3 D A

User currently offlineWatewate From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 2284 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1490 times:

I'd give Boeing the upper hand on this won- for now. If I want to view archived pages, I could download it on my handspring and view it on my own without costing me an arm and a leg.
I have yet to run into one person who had chosen their flight due to the internet availability on board. I have a feeling that it's going to be another GTE Airfone until airlines can offer the services cheaply AND in real time.

User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13756 posts, RR: 18
Reply 7, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1484 times:

I think that this is just a gimmick. However, the more you have, (normally), the better you are so it's just something extra.

I don't think we should rule out TENZING which is the first on-board internet and e-mail access provider with Singapore Airlines. (Not CX actually).

Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
User currently onlineSingapore 777 From Australia, joined May 1999, 1032 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1466 times:

Does SIA's Internet Access cover surfing of ALL websites on the Internet? Because if it does not, then I think Boeing has the upper hand on this one with their Connexion system.

User currently offline767-322ETOPS From United States of America, joined May 2001, 324 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1465 times:

I second Watewate's GTE theory. A Financial Times article mentioned that Boeing and the airlines are thinking of pricing it at $15-$25/hour. A lot cheaper than $4/minute with GTE, but for me is too much $$$ just to surf the net.

Might be useful to make last minute Hertz or hotel reservations, but I wouldn't use it otherwise.

User currently offlineSingapore_Air From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 13756 posts, RR: 18
Reply 10, posted (14 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 1455 times:

I dunno. Tenzing has this thing called Best of the Web. I think it's a selection of sites on Yahoo and downloaded onto a server or something. Any help anyone?

Anyone can fly, only the best Soar.
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