stories about: "boeing"
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 7th 2008 10:12am
Wired is running an article about FAA concerns about the computer networks on Boeing's new 787. Apparently, the airplanes have been designed with a computer network in the passenger area that can give fliers internet access. That seems reasonable enough. However, somewhere along the way, someone at Boeing decided to connect that network to the plane's control, navigation and communication systems. It's hard to fathom how anyone would ever consider connecting a general passenger network on an airplane to critical systems that actually deal with issues related to keeping the airplane in the sky. Boeing's response is less than satisfactory as well. While it claims it's fixing some of the issues raised, it also says the report is overblown, noting: "There are places where the networks are not touching, and there are places where they are." That really doesn't matter. If the network is touching anywhere it should be seen as a fairly serious problem. There's simply no good reason to connect the two in any way, no matter how "secure." Glenn Fleishman is saying that this report is Wired making a mountain out of a molehill, and insists that the story is probably not a big deal at all. Yet, I'm still wondering why the two systems would ever touch each other.
Thu, Aug 2nd 2007 12:28am
from the looking-through-the-clouds dept
One of the many modern tech myths seems to be the idea that in-flight internet access is guaranteed to be a success, even though this has proven not to be the case. The supposed demand for the service among travelers hasn't been enough to overcome the cost of the service, both for airlines and end users, and technical barriers, as highlighted by the failure of Boeing's much-hyped Connexion service. Now, however, one of the airlines that offered Connexion, Lufthansa, says it's working with T-Mobile to bring back in-flight internet access, while American has signed a deal with AirCell to offer its service to travelers on some planes. Lufthansa wants a system that supports WiFi, but also SMS and cellular data, though it won't allow cellular voice calls; American plans to test WiFi access on some transcontinental domestic flights before deciding whether to proceed. The American system will differ from Connexion in that it won't use satellites, but an air-to-ground radio system, explaining why it will only be available domestically. Hopefully this will translate into lower costs for consumers than the $30 per flight Connexion charged, otherwise the service will suffer the same fate. Lufthansa is reportedly looking at a satellite-based system for its long-haul flights, and unless it's figured out some way to slash the costs of such a system and pass the savings on to consumers, it's hard to see things working out any better this time around.