Boeing Inflight Entertainment: Wired

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Boeing is scrapping plans to offer wireless in-flight entertainment in their new 787 Dreamliners, say Aero-News. The company couldn’t acquire regulatory approval from some countries to use certain frequencies, meaning they’d have to turn the service off while flying over those countries.

Boeing says it found the system’s broadband capacity might not provide a large enough “pipeline” to support high-definition video, “And that’s where the industry is going,” said Boeing’s Mike Sinnett, director of 787 systems.

Boeing’s Dreamliner, which has its maiden flight this August, was supposed to make use of wireless networking for DVD-quality in-flight entertainment.

The Thales TopSeries i-8000 (right), provided a wireless network to deliver DVD-quality video to each seat on the airplane. Thales i-8000 planned to use the emerging 802.11n flavour of WiFi, for a total of 19 channels available on the aircraft.

Thales guaranteed at least 2Mbit/sec to each seat and to support MPEG-2 content at 205 seats simultaneously. It was designed to interface with the Connexion by Boeing system for access the Internet and e-mail systems. But Connexion went belly up.

A wired network will be used instead. It requires only 50 pounds instead of the 200 pounds required for wireless networking components and should be easier to install.

Thales’ compact servers ($3,950) use 1.67 GHz dual-core Xeons and on-board 4GB FLASH disk drive. Perhaps train and bus seats will sprout video displays in the future. Terrestrial travelers wouldn’t have 5 GHz regulatory issues.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, January 26th, 2007 at 10:19 am .

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