The demand for making air traveling more 'pleasant, secure and productive for passengers is one of the winning factors for airlines and aircraft industry. Current trends are towards high data rate communication services, in particular Internet applications. In an aeronautical scenario global coverage is essential for providing continuous service. Therefore satellite communication becomes indispensable, and together with the ever increasing data rate requirements of applications, aeronautical satellite communication meets an expansive market.
Wireless Cabin (IST -2001-37466) is looking into those radio access technologies to be transported via satellite to terrestrial backbones . The project will provide UMTS services, W-LAN IEEE 802.11 b and Blue tooth to the cabin passengers. With the advent of new services a detailed investigation of the expected traffic is necessary in order to plan the needed capacities to fulfill the QoS demands. This paper will thus describe a methodology for the planning of such system.
In the future, airliners will provide a variety of entertainment and communications equipment to the passenger. Since people are becoming more and more used to their own communications equipment, such as mobile phones and laptops with Internet connection, either through a network interface card or dial-in access through modems, business travelers will soon be demanding wireless access to communication services.
Wireless Cabin Architecture
So far, GSM telephony is prohibited in commercial aircraft due to the uncertain certification situation and the expected high interference levels of the TDMA technology. With the advent of spread spectrum systems such as UMTS and W-LAN, and low power pico-cell access such as Blue tooth this situation is likely to change, especially if new aircraft avionics technologies are considered, or if the communications technologies are in line with aircraft development as today
When wireless access technologies in aircraft cabins are envisaged for passenger service, the most important standards for future use are considered to be: UMTS with UTRAN air interface, Blue tooth, and W-LAN IEEE 802.11 b. Of course, these access technologies will co-exist with each other, beside conventional IP fixed wired networks. The wireless access solution is compatible with other kinds of IFE, such as live TV on board or provision of Internet access with dedicated installed hardware in the cabin seats. Hence, it should not be seen as an alternative to wired architecture in an aircraft, but as a complementary service for the passengers.
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