Feeds

In-flight calling given lukewarm reception

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

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Google has spaffed more cash on lobbying this year than Big Cable
Don't worry, it'll be cheaper when they use drones
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?