Feeds

SPUDS ON A PLANE! Boeing boosts in-flight Wi-Fi with tater tech

And no sign of Samuel L. Jackson

High performance access to file storage

Vid Boeing engineers have filled an aeroplane with potatoes to improve wireless internet coverage on flights.

Substituting their passengers for approximately 20,000 pounds (9,000kg) of potatoes, engineers at Boeing's Test & Evaluation Laboratory are trying to work out how best to propagate Wi-Fi signals through a busy aeroplane cabin. The technology is aptly called SPUDS: Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution.

One little-vaunted quality of potatoes is that they respond to electromagnetic waves in a similar way to the human body, so the sacks are a good stand-in for airline travellers.

Using potatoes instead of real people speeds up the testing period from two weeks to ten hours.

The engineers want to ensure that they can keep an aeroplane's communications and navigation systems running while boosting in-flight Wi-Fi hotspots; such access points already exist but their reception could be improved.

"One of the wonderful aspects of our improved testing is that we can describe both strong and weak signals with incredible accuracy," Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler told CNN. He added:

Engineers who are concerned primarily with operational safety of an airplane can see if the strong signals are safe for the airplane's communication and navigation systems. Meanwhile, an engineer who is concerned with getting every passenger a really good network signal can see if the weak signals are propagating through the airplane with enough power to provide a good usability experience.

The Wi-Fi-exposed spuds are donated to a food bank after testing. ®

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

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
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.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
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.