Feeds

Web access from the skies

Check out porn and join the virtual mile high club

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Emails will soon become commonplace at 30,000 feet, following the satellite groups offering faster connection rates to planes in flight.

The first step to mile high web access and email is airlines introducing the third generation of in-flight entertainment systems. These will be based around an on board server holding a walled garden of content that passengers may access from their seats. This will be uploaded to the plane as it is being refuelled at the gate, using technology called Gatelink.

But passengers can also choose to access the web or send email, through the server using the satellite phone connection.

Currently, satellite phone services are available on many long haul flights, but connection rates have not been fast enough to allow airlines to offer all passengers data services.

The two satellite companies offering their networks to provide inflight services are Globalstar and Inmarsat.

Dick Smith, technical manager of the aeronautical division of Inmarsat, said: "What we are doing is bringing the system up to a higher speed. Currently it is running at 9.6kbps, but the new system will go at 64kbps like the land based system already in operation, enabling much cheaper email and file transfer."

At the moment it costs around $4.50 per minute to make a call from a plane. The new data transfer speeds will still mean an email in mid-air will be an expensive option, but it will cost significantly less per message.

Smith suggested that there would be some security issues for airlines to address. "They may wish to restrict access to some sites while in-flight," he said. Presumably it would be a bad thing for passenger to be able to access a site with instructions on how to fashion a bomb from a sickbag and overcooked spinach.

Airlines interested in the technology include Virgin, Singapore Airlines, SwissAir and United. ®

Related story

Navy sends underwater emails

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.