mnevans
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WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:55 pm

via Consumerist.com from WSJ

"The days when airplanes offer a hiatus from being connected to the office are numbered.

After years of discussion and delay, U.S. airlines will start offering in-flight Internet connections, instant messaging and wireless email within 12 months, turning the cabin into a WiFi "hotspot." Carriers are expected to start making announcements around the end of the summer, with service beginning early next year."

Read More

[Edited 2007-04-03 17:23:30]
 
BoomBoom
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:21 am

Thanks for starting this thread, I saw this article in the WSJ too. I don't know if people without a subscription can get to it. I was really disappointed when Boeing dropped the Connection idea. I'm glad that others are pursuing internet in the sky.

Quote:
AirCell will install equipment on airliners that will act as a WiFi hotspot in the cabin and connect to laptop computers and devices like BlackBerrys that have WiFi chips. In all, it will cost about $100,000 to outfit a plane with less than 100 pounds of equipment, and the work can be done overnight by airline maintenance workers, AirCell says.

What makes the service particularly attractive to airlines is that they will share revenue with AirCell. The service will cost about the same as existing WiFi offerings. Mr. Blumenstein says it will charge no more than $10 a day to passengers. It will also offer discounted options for customers and tie into existing service programs like T-Mobile, iPass and Boingo. Speeds will be equivalent to WiFi service on the ground.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article...s4sjaGWetY_20070410.html?mod=blogs
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SABE
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:31 am

Great! I look forward to reading A.net at 39,000 feet  Smile
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atnight
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:43 am

Why would this time around work? What's the biggest difference between this type of service and the Connexion by Boeing failure? I sure hope it works this time, it would make traveling a LOT more enjoyable, as we could discuss issues while on the air.... but seriously, for those who's work is almost based on internet access, it would be a huge and needed comeback... so, why will this time work and why did the one by Boeing failed?
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mnevans
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:51 am

Quoting Atnight (Reply 3):
Why would this time around work? What's the biggest difference between this type of service and the Connexion by Boeing failure? I sure hope it works this time, it would make traveling a LOT more enjoyable, as we could discuss issues while on the air.... but seriously, for those who's work is almost based on internet access, it would be a huge and needed comeback... so, why will this time work and why did the one by Boeing failed?

I believe that the major difference is that this service uses a different spectrum and that it will be able to handle more bandwidth, be cheaper to implement and maintain. I saw an article about 6 months ago on this subject, from AirCell, and I think they were even talking about possibly using Cellular technology instead of Satellite technology (which Connexion used). Either way, I would be willing to pay 10 bucks a day or even segment to be able to have live access to email, enterprise IM and the web, as I think many people would. I can just picture it now, all the kids going to spring break in Cancun have their laptops out, poking each other on Facebook while they're sitting next to each other (now THAT would be a waste of bandwidth!) END RANT
 
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SEPilot
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:02 am

How much did Connexion cost to the passenger? I agree that $10 is a reasonable price; I am a noted skinflint and I would pay that. I assume that the charge for Connexion was quite a bit higher, otherwise it would have succeeded.
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ikramerica
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:11 am

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 5):
I agree that $10 is a reasonable price; I am a noted skinflint and I would pay that. I assume that the charge for Connexion was quite a bit higher, otherwise it would have succeeded.

DSL is $13 a month in many areas of the country, but $10 a flight is reasonable?

Not to me. $5 tops, and even then, only on a long flight. But I guess if work required me to have internet, I'd pay more.

Problem is, that was the philosophy of AirFone and Connexion, and work NEVER required enough people to pay the high prices for those, and Connexion thusly went away, with AirFone getting pulled from many carriers as not cost effective...
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mnevans
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:33 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 6):
Problem is, that was the philosophy of AirFone and Connexion, and work NEVER required enough people to pay the high prices for those, and Connexion thusly went away, with AirFone getting pulled from many carriers as not cost effective...

And subsequently being dissolved by Verizon. I agree that out of pocket $10 is alot, and if I couldn't claim it as an expense, I probably wouldn't purchase it, whereas $5 out of pocket I could handle.
 
captaink
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:37 am

OH boy flights would become so much easier. They can keep their personal IFE, and inflgiht catering, once I have the internet I am happy.
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ikramerica
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:39 am

Quoting Mnevans (Reply 7):
I agree that out of pocket $10 is alot, and if I couldn't claim it as an expense, I probably wouldn't purchase it, whereas $5 out of pocket I could handle.

Make it the same price as drinks, satellite TV and headphones on airlines that charge for those (though some carriers give away headphones for free or $2, many it's $5). Little unique ID cards can be handed out, and there are plenty of WiFi routers and such that provide time limited access via these types of cards. WiFi should be free for F pax and possibly top tier elites. Make it a cost of attracting business to the airline, not a cost passed on so directly to everyone.
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atlaaron
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:38 am

Quoting Atnight (Reply 3):
Why would this time around work? What's the biggest difference between this type of service and the Connexion by Boeing failure?

I think it is going to be much different. This is much simpler and will be offered by someone like T-Mobile . . . actually it will probably be T-Mobile as they are the leading provider of Wi-Fi hotspots in the United States. It will operate basically off of a wireless router located somewhere in the cabin (how it will get it's signal I am not positive) and will work as a pay per use or a monthly subscription. Just like the Wi-Fi spots in an airport. Some airlines may work out a deal with T-Mobile or whoever where they cover the subscription cost, but I certainly would not expect that from any of the legacies. Might be a good idea for someone like B6 to offer that complimentary though.

This is very exciting news to me!

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 6):
but $10 a flight is reasonable?

Well Wi-Fi at Starbucks is $10 a day if you don't have an account and at the airports it is usually $10 a day. You have to expect that it would cost more on a plane than at the airport, therefore I think $5 or $10 a flight is reasonable. If you don't like the price you don't HAVE to pay for it. It's a luxury and will probably carry a "luxury" price tag. As one who travels on business a lot I think there is $5-10 of value in it.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:52 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 6):
DSL is $13 a month in many areas of the country, but $10 a flight is reasonable?

The cost of the connexion was $30, IIRC. By the way, Connexion didn't fail in a technical sense, it worked as advertised. It failed as a business model. It was very expensive to install and due to 911 very few US airlines could afford it.

Quoting Mnevans (Reply 4):
and I think they were even talking about possibly using Cellular technology instead of Satellite technology (which Connexion used).

Right. Connexion worked anywhere in the world, I doubt if this system will.

One problem I see is that very few airlines currently provide power ports to coach seats, so you will have to carry extra batteries on long flights. Also with a 31 inch pitch it's very difficult to use a laptop especially if the person in front of you is reclining.
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mnevans
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:59 am

Just a thought, but now that Virgin America has gotten approved (no cert yet, correct?) I could see them jumping all ove this technology. I mean, they're running linux in every headrest, how can they not!
 
skyharborshome
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:12 am

Technology like this could put pressure on the LCC's to start offering like services. I know many of you will say that WN and others do not follow the bandwagon and will never offer this type of service. However, every airline knows that the business traveler is the backbone of their business and could entice them to invest in order to maintain business travelers loyalty. Personally, I hardly ever open my laptop on a flight but if wi-fi was available, I know that would change in a hurry.

Think of the possibilities here. Certain level (platinum, gold, whatever) members on certain airlines would surely be granted this perk for being a frequent flier. Also, surely flight attendants would not be involved with this transaction. Passengers would log-on and charge their credit card directly which could open the door for other credit card purchases for in-flight services.

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 6):
Not to me. $5 tops, and even then, only on a long flight. But I guess if work required me to have internet, I'd pay more.

Well, people pay $5 for a beer ($4 on WN effective this month where it used to be $3) so if I had the choice of a beer or internet on my flight... well.... I would probably do both.
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BoomBoom
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:25 am

Quoting SkyHarborsHome (Reply 13):
Technology like this could put pressure on the LCC's to start offering like services.


LCCs will have another service to sell and generate profits:

Quote:
Ryanair Holdings PLC signed a deal to equip all of its 200 planes with a system from OnAir, a joint venture of airplane maker Airbus and SITA, an aviation technology provider.


[Edited 2007-04-03 22:28:01]
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N353SK
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:42 am

In flight WiFi usage could shoot through the roof if customers were able to pay one daily fee and be able to access a Wifi signal at all airports and aircraft visited that day. For example, if I could pay $15 for a day's worth of wifi service and be able to use it while waiting for a flight at DCA, in flight from DCA-ORD, on the ground at ORD, in the air again from ORD-SEA, and on the ground at SEA, the service would be worth its weight in gold. I believe that this will eventually happen due to economies of scale, but for me it can't come soon enough!
 
ikramerica
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:08 am

Quoting ATLAaron (Reply 10):
Well Wi-Fi at Starbucks is $10 a day if you don't have an account and at the airports it is usually $10 a day.

Starbucks doesn't sell many of those one day passes.

Further, it may make sense once or twice, but once people start adding up the cost, they stop paying. I just had this conversation with two friends who paid the daily rate in UK for Starbucks until they realized how stupid they were being.

Quoting BoomBoom (Reply 11):
It failed as a business model.

Because it cost a lot and they tried to recoup it in a short amount of time by charging a ton of money. Which is a bad way to go about it. but with technology constantly changing, the product won't be viable for that long. So it's a conundrum.

Quoting N353SK (Reply 15):
For example, if I could pay $15 for a day's worth of wifi service and be able to use it while waiting for a flight at DCA, in flight from DCA-ORD, on the ground at ORD, in the air again from ORD-SEA, and on the ground at SEA, the service would be worth its weight in gold.

Still too expensive.

The service can't survive if ONLY business travelers pay for it. It can't. AirFone had that model, as no normal person would pay the outrageous fees.

There's a price point that all of a sudden masses of people will pay. $5 tends to be that point for many things (drinks, headphones, snacks).

But airlines might take a lesson from CO and certain airports as well. CO offers free wifi in their clubs, and some airports have free wifi as well, as a way to attract customers. At the airports, if you know you have free wifi, you may arrive earlier to be safe, and then spend money at the overpriced concessions. Same holds for certain hotel chains. Some charge stupid amounts for internet access per day. Other, more business friendly hotels give wifi access away for free. And business people return the favor by thinking of those chains first when booking their next overnight...

The problem with $10 or more access is just as I stated. Many people pay $13 a MONTH of DSL, and the idea of paying $20 for a roundtrip of 8 hours will be too much for people to accept en masse.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:03 am

Sweet. So while I'm sitting on the tarmac at JFK on B6 for 12 hours, I can update my blog and alert the media...  Wink

Just kidding folks, but seriously, there may be some security implications here. I can think of a few issues this could cause.
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atlaaron
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:20 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 16):
Further, it may make sense once or twice, but once people start adding up the cost, they stop paying.

I don't think they stop paying, they look for cheaper alternatives. Which could be getting a monthly plan at Starbucks or switching to a cellular broadband laptop card and paying a monthly service fee. I would expect something similar in the aircraft, buy a monthly or yearly pass, buy a time of purchase or check-in and save over what you would pay when purchasing on board, etc.
 
Stealthz
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:26 am

Quoting RDUDDJI (Reply 17):
Just kidding folks, but seriously, there may be some security implications here. I can think of a few issues this could cause.

Like?

I am not being facetious, I just can't think of any!
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remcor
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:31 am

Quoting Mnevans (Reply 4):
I saw an article about 6 months ago on this subject, from AirCell, and I think they were even talking about possibly using Cellular technology instead of Satellite technology (which Connexion used).

So does this mean that this service will only be available on transcon flights, while anything over water will be a big dead zone?

That takes some of the pizzaz out of it. A 5 hour domestic flight I can handle on my own, but internet on those 13 hour trans-pacific flights would be some sweet action.
 
mnevans
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:46 am

Quoting Remcor (Reply 20):
So does this mean that this service will only be available on transcon flights, while anything over water will be a big dead zone?

Found this link via google: http://www.aircell.com/about/abt_technology.php

From what I read they can use both CDMA (Verizon, Sprint, Alltel), now EV-DO Rev A. (soon to be Rev B.) and GSM (at&t, T-Mobile) now HSDPA/3G. All this means is that they're basically going to build out their own network since they DID buy spectrum at last summer's auction.

I would guess that they would use a hybrid technology that uses CDMA/GSM when available, then switches to satellite when it's not.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:54 am

Quoting N353SK (Reply 15):
if I could pay $15 for a day's worth of wifi service and be able to use it while waiting for a flight at DCA, in flight from DCA-ORD, on the ground at ORD, in the air again from ORD-SEA, and on the ground at SEA, the service would be worth its weight in gold.

That's an awesome idea.

I would gladly pay $10 for wi-fi a trans-con flight. I would even pay $30 on a flight of 10 hours or more. Being able to surf would be an enjoyable way to pass the time, and it would be worth it to me. On the other hand, I won't even spend $5 on a movie, because they're usually stupid.
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
ANother
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:05 pm

Would this permit VOIP?
 
mnevans
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:15 pm

Well, the technology definitely would, but whether the provider or airlines chose to allow VoIP traffic through is unseen. Though there is always ways around it using Hamachi or an SSH connection to disguise the VoIP traffic as something else. Another point to note, I would venture a guess that there would be very heavy QoS (Quality of Service) on the provider side. (i.e. giving certain types of traffic higher priority). This being the case, I don't think I'd want to try to use VoIP since it's not on the top of their list as far as QoS goes. Easier to check voice mail via the Cisco web interface of your intranet or use enterprise IM, IMHO.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:29 pm

Quoting ANother (Reply 23):
Would this permit VOIP?

The article says it would, but only about 14 calls at one time because of bandwidth limitations. I hope they never allow it.

People can email or IM, I dont want to listen to phone conservations.
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
mnevans
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:35 pm

Quoting BoomBoom (Reply 25):
The article says it would, but only about 14 calls at one time because of bandwidth limitations. I hope they never allow it.

I think the article is referring to Cell Phone usage being limited to 14 calls. VoIP however is a regular TCP/IP packet, which is just the same as a data packet.
 
gothamspotter
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 1:30 pm

I'd be stunned and extremely impressed if VOIP or any other bandwidth intensive applications worked very well through such a connection.

First, the bandwidth on even the latest cell networks is not the same as your wired cable/dsl.

Second, cell towers were not designed to communicate with jets passing 7-8 miles above and moving past at 600mph with multiple towers within range. The networking hardware and software on the plane have to compensate for this.

Third, you'll be sharing a wireless connection with many other passengers. The more who sign on, the slower the connection will be.
 
BoomBoom
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:04 pm

Quoting Mnevans (Reply 26):

I think the article is referring to Cell Phone usage being limited to 14 calls. VoIP however is a regular TCP/IP packet, which is just the same as a data packet.

I went back and reread the article, and you are correct. As for VOIP it says:

Quote:
AirCell will block voice calls over the Internet with services like Skype -- except for pilots, flight attendants and air marshals, who will be allowed to talk to people on the ground for scheduling, safety and security issues.
Our eyes are open, our eyes are open--wide, wide, wide...
 
N353SK
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RE: WSJ - Aircraft To Become Wi-fi Hotspots

Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:28 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 16):
The service can't survive if ONLY business travelers pay for it. It can't. AirFone had that model, as no normal person would pay the outrageous fees.

I'm not a business traveler, I just play one on TV  Wink