Wi-Fi to take off

Infocell predicts that advances in Wi-Fi technology will increase the use of passenger wireless devices on flights.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  May 8, 2005

Infocell predicts that advances in Wi-Fi technology will increase the use of passenger wireless devices on flights. Communications enhancements could make mobile phones interfering with aircraft’s navigation systems a thing of the past. The use of wireless communication devices, including mobile phones, on board commercial flights could become as common as on ground, thanks to advancements in Wi-Fi technology and efforts by aircraft manufacturers to ensure functionality of cell phones, laptops and other electronic equipment on all flights, says Bashar Dahabra, founder and general manager of Info2cell.com. “For quite some time, all of us have been led to believe that using a passenger mobile phone could seriously affect aircraft’s onboard navigation systems,” says Dahabra. “Studies done over the past few years have shown that there is no proof about mobile phone signals interfering with communication between pilots and air traffic controls. At the same time, newer advancements in wireless communications technology have eliminated the last lingering doubts about mobile devices interfering with navigation systems of the aircraft,” he adds. According to Dahabra, a number of airlines around the world are planning to permit use of cell phones on flights, some as early as late 2006. A recent research by Airbus has shown that electronic devices, mobile phones and wireless devices can be used on airplanes without interfering with navigation systems. Until now, many airlines had banned the use of mobile phones during take-off, flight and landing because of fears that they will interfere with aircraft systems and disrupt the two-way radio used by pilots. But the two-year research project carried out by Airbus, and backed by the European Commission, has found that handsets can be used safely on aircraft during flight. The trials, carried out on an A320, successfully tested both voice calls and the sending of text messages to and from phones onboard the aircraft. It also trialled several wireless network technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and wideband CDMA. Info2cell.com is a wireless Application Service Provider (W-ASP) operating in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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