Feeds

In-flight calling given lukewarm reception

'It sounds like I'm talking to a small robot'

High performance access to file storage

Air France has started to allow passengers to make voice calls on its flights, though the first passengers are unimpressed by the quality of the service.

OnAir's service works by having a low-power base station on the plane to connect calls via satellite. This means calls suffer the lag associated with satellite communications, and are limited - at the moment only six can be made simultaneously.

Connecting calls over a satellite is easy enough. The clever bit is keeping signalling to a minimum. Mobile phones constantly communicate with their home network even when not involved in a call, and if those communications were all routed over the expensive satellite link then the system would quickly become uneconomical. So the on-plane base station can also pretend to be the home network, only using the satellite connection when really necessary - such as when a mobile is switched on in the plane.

The New York Times reports that Air France passengers were able to make calls, though most had to make a couple of attempts and incoming calls failed to connect at all.

But even when a call was connected the quality was far from ideal, with one passenger being told: "It sounds like I'm talking to a small robot" - which is a concern as bad sound quality may result in passengers raising their voices, and thus generating exactly the kind of nuisance that has prompted Lufthansa to say it won't be deploying the technology.

No such concerns at Ryanair. The cheap flight specialist's head of communications says: "We are not concerned about the noise because our cabins have never been quiet places. People are constantly coming up and down the aisles selling scratch cards or food and we believe there is a market for this." ®

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.