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SUCCESSFUL: Deutsche Telekom, Alcatel-Lucent and Airbus test LTE-based in-flight Services
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 15.03.12 - 16:23:31 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 7174x
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While this is nothing for long-haul flights across the ocean, in that case airlines might better rely on satellite links, Deutsche Telekom, Alcatel-Lucent and Airbus have successfully tested direct data communication - using LTE technology between an aircraft and a wireless network on the ground. When commercial, this solution will be able to provide in-flight mobile voice and broadband data communications services cost-effectively. These tests represent the first steps on the road toward future commercial implementation of in-flight wireless services for passengers over continental Europe leveraged by a terrestrial cellular LTE network. Current solutions target international routes and are based on satellite systems.

These can now be supplemented with a number of improvements. When made available in the future, LTE technology can provide a more efficient, cost-effective alternative to satellite, offering high-speed connections for passengers via onboard WiFi and onboard cellular services. This approach offers an attractive way to give traveler's access to the Internet along with the huge range of services that are now available via home and office broadband networks.

The first flight test took place in November 2011 over the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is a part of the joint R&D project between Airbus, Alcatel-Lucent and the Innovation Laboratories of Deutsche Telekom. Airbus provided an A320 test aircraft equipped with test equipment and Alcatel-Lucent was responsible for the overall technical solution. This included an "onboard unit" installed in the test aircraft to send and receive mobile data signals, for which Alcatel-Lucent developed special algorithms. On the ground, Alcatel-Lucent provided its end-to-end LTE solution including radio access and core network. Deutsche Telekom prepared a ground network of two base stations positioned about 100 kilometers apart. The base stations were connected to Alcatel-Lucent's LTE test center in Stuttgart via Deutsche Telekom's data transport network.

Neither Airbus nor Deutsche Telekom or Alcatel Lucent have yet lost a word when a commercial implementation might be expectable.

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by M. Alexander on 16.03.12 - 10:24:29

It's really about time that we also get in-flight Internet in Europe! I'm often using Lufthansa FlyNet on my way to the U.S. and have to wonder why we can have it across the pond but not within Europe! The only problems I see are international roaming hand-overs and the Alps! But within Germany it would be a good start!

Posted by Cubitus on 16.03.12 - 17:13:31

Yeah but this one has not much to do with the in flight coverage. This is really a separate issue about using LTE between the plane and the ground. I have some doubts this is deployable: The plane will ultimately be "heard" by not only 2 but many more LTE base stations on the ground and will pollute the spectrum. There are good reasons why it is not authorized to use a mobile in the air!

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