Feeds

Intel backs in-flight Wi-Fi initiative

Chocks away for the mile-high wireless club

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.