Southwest, American test in-flight Wi-Fi
Airlines use different technologies for wireless access
Computerworld - Mile-high Wi-Fi is taking off.
Both airlines would need Federal Aviation Administration approval before launching their Web services.
Southwest announced today that it will test satellite-delivered broadband Internet access on four aircraft this summer.
If the tests are successful and Southwest receives the FAA's OK, passengers of the airline who have Wi-Fi-enabled devices would be able to access the Internet to check e-mail and surf the Web.
The technology to be used aboard Southwest planes is from Row 44 Inc. in Westlake Village, Calif. In addition to data access, Row 44's system is designed to support cell phone and voice-over-IP service.
However, "Southwest has not embraced voice calling" because of passengers' concerns about cell phone calls made during flights, spokeswoman Brandy King said in an interview. "Voice is not a direction we're taking."
Yesterday, American Airlines said that it had installed a broadband Internet connection on a Boeing 767-200 plane and that it will install and test the technology on 15 such aircraft throughout the year. American uses 767-200s primarily for transcontinental flights.
American is using technology from Aircell LLC in Itasca, Ill.
Like Southwest, American plans to offer its passengers full data service but not cell phone or VoIP service.
Aircell provides an air-to-ground system that uses three lightweight antennas installed on the outside of the aircraft -- one mounted on top of the plane and the other two on the bottom. Wireless access points are distributed throughout the ceiling of the aircraft's interior. Each American aircraft will be connected to a network of 92 cell towers in the continental U.S. using a 3-MHz signal, the airline said.
The satellite-delivered system from Row 44 that Southwest is testing requires an antenna atop the plane's fuselage that communicates with satellite networks, according to Row 44's Web site.
In September, Aircell announced plans to equip Virgin America planes with Wi-Fi access systems this year. JetBlue Airways Corp., Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Qantas Airways Ltd. have also announced in-flight Wi-Fi in various forms.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!