Feeds

Intel backs in-flight Wi-Fi initiative

Chocks away for the mile-high wireless club

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

An initiative supported by Intel is in the final stages of outlining a method to disable the radio transmitters of handheld devices during aircraft takeoff and landing. The development should help pave the way to greater freedom to use wireless-enabled mobile devices while in the air.

The work has been carried out by RTCA, a non-profit organization that advises the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on communications technologies. The body also intends to define a universal symbol that can be used by mobile device manufacturers to indicate compliance. This may display onscreen or elsewhere when activated.

The use of the symbol should aid flight attendants assessing the risk wireless devices present to aircraft control and communications systems. Many airlines take a dim view of today's crop of mobile computing devices. This is especially so where they also function as mobile phones which may be barred from use during flight, despite the fact that many such devices allow the radio to be disabled if required.

Radio interference is considered a risk to essential control systems, especially when a plane is flying below around 10,000 feet, primarily during takeoff and landing. The low altitude leaves little time to correct problems or initiate backup systems if any interference from the devices affects control systems.

"The way you need to think about what we're doing is that we're defining the master circuit breaker [for wireless devices]," Jeff Schiffer, manager of wireless research communications and interconnect technology with Intel and a prime mover in the RTCA's working group, told ComputerWire.

Airlines such as Lufthansa already offer inflight Wi-Fi access on some routes, typically powered by the Connexion system from aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

However, the importance of two-way communication onboard aircraft is growing, with the ability to enable wireless access in-flight extending beyond WiFi access and into applications such as Bluetooth-enabled network gaming. While Mr Schiffer is aware that the efforts will not completely stop the risk to airplanes from wireless devices, he is convinced the work marks an important step forward in improving safety.

Source: ComputerWire/Datamonitor

Related research: Datamonitor, "MarketWatch: Telecoms Annual Subscription"

Related stories

Wi-Fi takes to the skies
Boeing prices up in-flight Wi-Fi
Airships to deliver broadband to rural areas

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.