Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mile High Wi-Fi

Long haul flights may never be the same again as high speed Wi-Fi is set to be delivered to air passengers in 2014.

Train travelers and even bus passengers have become used to on board access but the new system will deliver speeds ten times greater than those currently available. The technology is based on the ability to aim a satellite dish with ultra high precision and keep it on target as the aircraft moves.

But as many organizations have discovered, having more bandwidth doesn’t always mean happy customers. Hotels in particular have seen apparently ample connections being hogged by applications like streaming media and file sharing leading to lots of unhappy guests. In the confines of an aircraft at 30,000 feet who knows what the result of a slow connection might be…?

Then there’s the whole question about what content is accessible to users. No airline is going to be happy with illegal downloads crossing its network, adult content is plainly not acceptable, and how to deal with acceptable content in different sovereign air spaces is anyone’s guess.

There are of course several Smoothwall engineers willing to do extensive field research in fitting UTMs onto aircraft heading for warm and sunny locations, providing of course that they are allowed to “recover” for a couple of weeks.

What can we say? Watch this air-space!

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