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Images courtesy Boeing
Boeing lists reduced weight and increased bandwidth among the reasons for the switch to wired networking

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner passenger jet is moving along swiftly in development and is not too far away from its August 2007 maiden flight. The twin-engine aircraft will feature body and wing construction that is comprised by as much as 50% composite materials and has a cruising speed of Mach 0.85. Boeing also claims that the Dreamliner is 20% more fuel efficient than competing aircraft.

In keeping with the advanced nature of the plane’s engines and construction, the Dreamliner was also supposed to make use of wireless networking for DVD-quality in-flight entertainment.

Boeing has decided to nix that idea and has switched to a wired networking arrangement for the Dreamliner. The company says that the move to wired networking only adds 50 pounds to the aircraft instead of the 200 pounds required for wireless networking components. There were also concerns over the amount of bandwidth that could be provided by a wireless network.

Reduced weight and bandwidth, however, aren't the only reasons why Boeing has decided to go with a wired network. Boeing learned that some countries would not give it permission to use frequencies necessary for wireless networking. "Knowing that the regulatory issues were basically insurmountable, it just did not make sense to apply those resources there," said Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter.

Boeing has stated that the switch to a wired network will not result in production delays of the aircraft, and that customers have already been notified of the change.

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By hunter44102 on 1/26/2007 11:36:24 AM , Rating: 3
I would think that the weight of all the copper wiring going to every seat in that plane would be much more than a bunch of access points.. I guess I'm curious where the weight differences come from.

RE: Weight
By Hyperlite on 1/26/2007 11:50:35 AM , Rating: 2
thats what i was thinking as well....wireless routers don't weigh much...

RE: Weight
By VooDooAddict on 1/26/2007 12:24:18 PM , Rating: 1
I think the airline means that the Wired only adds 50lb more then the wireless.

RE: Weight
By CorrND on 1/26/2007 4:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
Whatever the intention of the article, why is the weight even mentioned in the first place? Aren't these weight differences VERY insignificant compared to the overall weight of the plane? The weight difference has to be much lower than even the variability in the weight of the passengers.

I'm guessing regulatory controls must be the bigger concern to Boeing.

RE: Weight
By timmiser on 1/27/2007 10:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct. The issue that some countries might not allow a wireless signal in an airplane basically meant that Boeing would need to have a wired backup anyway plus the advantage of wireless while you are sitting in a seat for 6 hours really is not that important.

RE: Weight
By Martin Blank on 1/26/2007 1:15:03 PM , Rating: 3
Enterprise-level APs can weigh more than you think. We just got a couple of them in at work, and they're not especially bright, handling only association and encryption duties. They have a controller (rather hefty itself) that acts as the authenticating agent, traffic monitor, and configuration manager, and the APs themselves weigh about twice or maybe three times as much as my WRT54GL.

RE: Weight
By Janooo on 1/26/2007 1:39:57 PM , Rating: 3
If each seat has LCD it needs receiver (maybe 50g each). 300(or more)x50g = 15kg ~ 33lb right there.

RE: Weight
By Doormat on 1/26/2007 12:43:08 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest reason why the weight goes down is because of the overhead panels that needed to be stronger to house the AP.

Remember that the heavier of the two wires (the wire that supplies power) is already being run to every seat to power the display. Running a data wire along side it is a small fraction of the weight.

RE: Weight
By Martin Blank on 1/26/2007 1:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
Power cables don't get run in these cases. Since you already have to run Cat-5 or (more likely) Cat-6 cable anyway (unless using WDS), you'd use Power-Over-Ethernet (PoE), which for many newer devices is the only way that you can power them now.

RE: Weight
By masher2 on 1/26/2007 1:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
You run power to a cabin seat for the display and (for some airlines) a power port. I don't know what "devices" you're talking about powering using PoE, as the terminus at the seat is going to be the passenger's laptop, not some hub.

RE: Weight
By TomZ on 1/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: Weight
By mindless1 on 1/26/2007 9:55:24 PM , Rating: 2
No, the power wire for a display does not need be heavier than CAT6. If they were being conservative with a combined use supply, maybe then the size would be similar.

Running a data wire isn't all that heavy as a %, but obviously every little thing adds up, we can assume they are making similar kinds of weight vs benefit decisions on many areas of construction.

RE: Weight
By mindless1 on 1/26/2007 9:57:08 PM , Rating: 2
By heavier I meant in total, not gauge of one wire lead as the CAT6 has to be 4 tighter TP of wires.

RE: Weight
By SoCalBoomer on 1/26/2007 1:28:45 PM , Rating: 2
It's not just the APs. Count the APs, count the specific antennas which will be needed for the specific signal shape needed for the strange interior of an airplane, count the receivers for each device. They'd also likely be going with n devices for bandwidth capability.

Now, go to cable and cat-6 does not really weigh very much.

I obviously don't have the calculations, but I can imagine that most things would end up cancelling out.

RE: Weight
By kirbalo on 1/29/2007 11:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
They'll be more than likely using "Fiber to the Seat", or even more likely, Fiber to the Row or group of rows. PoE is doubtful...

By Shadowself on 1/26/2007 11:13:47 AM , Rating: 5
I always find it amusing that these companies always show business/first class in their pictures.

They should show what it really looks like when trying to use your "laptop" in coach when the person in front of you has his seat fully reclined. Now THAT would be an amusing picture!

RE: Pictures
By AmpedSilence on 1/26/2007 11:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
All companies do that, car companies advertise their flagship cars, Intel and AMD tout the performance of their flagship processors.

I am going to New Zealand in a week and when i was buying tickets they were charging $17,000 for one first class ticket! thats more than the cost of my car!

RE: Pictures
By Tsuwamono on 1/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: Pictures
By StevoLincolnite on 1/26/2007 12:07:39 PM , Rating: 1
38 Grand for a car? No thanks, Luckily I live in Australia where the Holden Commodore resides :) My car is 18 years old, Done 400 thousand KM's Runs like a dream, and being a Buick 3.8Liter and really common, Cheap to keep running. And plus its not speed limited to 180km's like Ford.
All things mechanical break down, Thats the way it is, If you think it will never break down well... You will be surprised when you put a piston through the block, Bend a push rod, blow the computer, etc. For 38 grand... I could put a deposit on a house!

Back on topic.
Going from wireless to wired, does this mean all those Zune's, and other wireless devices will become negated?
I personally prefer having wired, Having all the wires running everywhere makes my computing area seem more sophisticated, And wouldn't the wireless interfere with the planes electronics? could someone clear that up for me?

RE: Pictures
By AmpedSilence on 1/26/2007 12:12:52 PM , Rating: 4
Honestly, are you really going to be like that?

My car is only 4 years old, has 55k miles on it, and i still get 25+ mpg on it. It will be paid off in six months and once i put new tires in an month i won't have to do anything to it for another two years. Why be in debt when you don't have to be? Unless you paid full cash for your car, i am coming way ahead, and with the money i saved i can afford the First class tickets (to stay OT) for my future trips!!

RE: Pictures
By FITCamaro on 1/26/2007 12:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
Not everyone wants to spend $38,000 for a car. For that much you better be buying a sports car. A GTO, (puke) Mustang GT, STI, or an Evo doesn't cost $38,000. The only car over that much I'd ever buy would be a Vette. For a daily driver for a family, no way would I spend that much.

I'm guessing a BMW 3 series since thats what all the little "I wanna look rich" people are buying today. The most expensive family car I'd buy would be the new Impala SS with the 5.3L V8 and DoD. Of course the GTO is about the same price, seats four as well, and has RWD, 400hp, and a 6-speed.

RE: Pictures
By mydogfarted on 1/26/2007 2:29:22 PM , Rating: 1
Your wealth of ignorance amazes me.

$38,000 barely touches most popular SUVs where I live and 3 series BMWs are what the rich parents buy their kids. Shit, I've seen pickups on dealer lots with sticker prices higher than that!

RE: Pictures
By Lakku on 1/26/2007 4:18:52 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you should try to become intelligent yourself then. I don't know where the hell you live, but the MSRP on 6 or 7 out of the top 10 most popular SUVs range from 20k to 34k. This includes the the RAV-4, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Honda Pilot, Grand Cherokee (can get up to aorund 38 in some areas), 4 Runner (can also get up to 38), and the Honda CR-V. All of these vehicles are WELL under 38k for the majority of models. And don't think pickups should be less expensive or that they are somehow 'cheap' cars as your tone or writing seems to suggest. I have ridden in many an expensive truck that rides better then most any car under 40 grand, and can haul the things you need as well. They are also the highest margin cars for US automakers, so yeah, they are expensive.

RE: Pictures
By rippleyaliens on 1/26/2007 9:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
WHOAH Rich guy, lol.. I drive a 95 Ford Mustang GT, and i am so PISSED i have to get rid of it. Now looking for cars, MAN, what happened to the 10k car, lol. I priced a honda civic, 18k , OUCH.. I am just driving to work in it. I guess i am getting old..
Only thing good is that i live in Detroit, and MAN, are the car dealers scrambling to sell cars. 1st the american dealers are just cutting prices massively. 2nd the Imports are selling at COST, just to pound the american dealers.. good times i guess, except a new $400 car note. (Rather buy computer hardware)

RE: Pictures
By Jedi2155 on 1/27/2007 2:48:19 AM , Rating: 1
Bah on all of you!

I drive a '88 Camry LE with over 200k miles on it. The best part....with my strict driving habits i'm beating the EPA rated Highway MPG of 29 as my calculations put me to 31.2 MPG City/Highway :-D.

The paint is completely worn and it's broken down on me twice in the past year :( including once on the freeway to school. I do love my license plate cover that newegg sent me :-D.

But I have about 10k saved over the past 5 years for a 2009 Prius! A Prius has been my dream car since I was 11-12 years old around 1998 when I first heard of them! I'm just waiting for their redesign! hah!

RE: Pictures
By Micronite on 1/26/2007 4:15:01 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, the unfortunate thing is that my car doesn't go Mach .85 (or about 612mi/hr or 985km/hr).
But I guess when I reach my destination I get to keep my car.

RE: Pictures
By nothingtoseehere on 1/26/2007 6:15:52 PM , Rating: 3
Talking about coach. Who said this wired network will be available at all in coach? If history is any indication, then the absence of laptop power in coach and unclear marketing to hide that it is so pretty much guarantees that there will be no networking in coach...

At least with the wireless network, it can be assumed the cell will be big enough at least for the people in the front of coach, but this, I don't trust 'em...

mobile users are screwed?
By fliguy84 on 1/26/2007 1:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
So it means that palmtops and Blackberries don't work. Damn I was just thinking that I could play my DS on wireless in the airplane :(

PS: That Asian guy in the pic looks just like the bad guy in the Kung Pao movie :D

RE: mobile users are screwed?
By b2386 on 1/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: mobile users are screwed?
By Sulphademus on 1/26/2007 2:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe he really does?

Don't know, haven't seen it but want to be sure that we aren't breaking out the Jump-To-Conclusions mat immediately.

RE: mobile users are screwed?
By fliguy84 on 1/27/2007 3:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
Man, I don't know what's going on here. Pointing somebody looks the same as somebody else as racist? Wow, isn't that a heavy accusation made by a mere sentence from me? FYI, I'm an Asian myself, though not Chinese.

RE: mobile users are screwed?
By Ringold on 1/26/2007 2:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
Are you talking about the main character? They look nothing alike

Damn girlfriend back then forced me watch that. Over. and over. and over.

RE: mobile users are screwed?
By SonicIce on 1/26/2007 3:47:00 PM , Rating: 2
cool girlgriend

RE: mobile users are screwed?
By SonicIce on 1/26/2007 3:47:27 PM , Rating: 2

RE: mobile users are screwed?
By fliguy84 on 1/27/2007 3:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
No, I was talking about the bad guy. Can't you read?

Here's the pic:

RE: mobile users are screwed?
By Ringold on 1/27/2007 8:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
Woops! Sorry, apparently I can't.

I blame my public school education. kthx.

Smart move
By masher2 on 1/26/2007 11:05:49 AM , Rating: 3
A wireless network is what you install when you can't run cables. A wired network is always preferable in terms of performance and cost.

RE: Smart move
By TomZ on 1/26/2007 11:13:48 AM , Rating: 3
I agree. Gigabit Ethernet is cheap and reliable, and offers far more bandwidth than wireless. The only benefit of wireless is the convenience and portability, which is not required for relatively fixed installations.

RE: Smart move
By Martin Blank on 1/26/2007 1:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
Wireless networks can be preferable in terms of cost. Where I work, we have a courthouse that is over a century old. Because of this, it is tremendously expensive to run new network cabling, both because we are forbidden to drill holes in the brick and concrete and so much find different routes that are longer and sometimes require additional equipment because we can, and do, go past the 100m mark on overall distance, and because some of the areas where we can drill come under asbestos abatement laws, requiring special equipment and measures to minimize exposure. Placing a router and three switches can easily cost $15K -- before buying any hardware. Throwing a few wireless units in place, since electrical power is already run, can cost far less.

I had to deal with similar things in the older buildings backstage at Disneyland.

RE: Smart move
By masher2 on 1/26/2007 1:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
> "Wireless networks can be preferable in terms of cost..."

Are you reading posts before you reply to them? That's exactly what I said-- you run a wireless network *only* when its cost-prohibitive to retrofit cabling.

RE: Smart move
By mindless1 on 1/26/2007 10:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
No that is not what you wrote. It would now be a good idea for you to go back and read.

By Scabies on 1/26/2007 12:22:01 PM , Rating: 2
What madness will these people be doing, 24bit color remote desktop connection with sound? do they really need more than 54/108mbps? Greater bandwidth may be an attraction in this deal, but it shouldnt be a selling point as no one is going to use it all...

RE: upstream/downstream
By fermc on 1/26/2007 12:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the problem is the access points would work at minimal power, to avoid interference with avionics.
This solution would require much more access points installed, thus the weight.
Other explanation is the fact they would never grant the licenses for use of certain frequencies, and so the weight and bandwidth problems would be perfect excuses.

RE: upstream/downstream
By FITCamaro on 1/26/2007 12:34:24 PM , Rating: 2
It's for the entertainment system. Streaming video.

And the international issues were the biggest factor, followed by cost and weight. The extra bandwidth was just a bonus probably.

RE: upstream/downstream
By George Powell on 1/26/2007 2:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
Almost all downstream. Video on demand is a bandwidth hog.

Think DVD quality video at 300 seats that you can pause/rewind/fast forward whenever you want during the flight. Also take into consideration that each of these streams could be of a different film and you start to get the idea of how much data you need to chuck around.

RE: upstream/downstream
By crimson40 on 1/26/2007 11:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind that wireless is shared. So, it's not 54/108, but rather 54/108 per access point. There is certainly not 1 AP per user. Furthermore, with 802.11g you can only have 3 non-overlapping channels. So, this limits the number of APs you can feasibly deploy in the same area.

Lastly, you never actually get 54/108 of throughput especially when 802.11b clients are present (which would almost certainly would be in this environment). In this type of environment, each user would be lucky to have more than 5Mbps each of actual throughput.

RE: upstream/downstream
By mindless1 on 1/28/2007 8:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
There's no way they'd get even 5Mbps each if they're all streaming video. That is, unless they went away from standards and used a bit more spectrum than 802.11x

saving 150 lbs !!!
By lazyinjin on 1/26/2007 11:43:43 AM , Rating: 2
I under stand that weight savings is a big part of this new airliner and that saving a little bit every place you can can add up to a lot, but 150lbs seems really insignificant(were talking super/ultra/mega-jumbo-jet here.... not formula 1)

But i do believe that wired will be better performance-wise and more simple to use.

RE: saving 150 lbs !!!
By pnyffeler on 1/26/2007 11:57:15 AM , Rating: 3
Multiply that times hundreds of flights per year, and that 150 lbs. will eat up a measurable amount of fuel.

RE: saving 150 lbs !!!
By Ringold on 1/26/2007 1:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Airlines will split hairs over a LOT less than 150 lbs. Net profitability for individual flights can be as little as a few dollars, and Jet-A costs, at least at my airport, a blistering 4.26/gal.

Even those inserts in the pouchs on the back of seats have to justify their profitable existance on a quarterly basis or they'll get axed to save weight.

I think at this point though they're trying to shave weight just to offset the growing mass of their passengers.. Weight & Balance calculations used to assume when I started I think 130lbs/person, but it creeps up seemingly by the year.. 140lbs, 150lbs.

RE: saving 150 lbs !!!
By peldor on 1/26/2007 1:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
Much more significantly they can charge you $2 to $5 to rent a piece of CAT5 when you realize you forgot it.

RE: saving 150 lbs !!!
By mindless1 on 1/26/2007 10:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Remember that if you want to fly somewhere, you'd not going to drive instead merely because the airline had wireless or wired DVD. They could just get rid of it all and you still have to get there. Whatever they offer is an additional weight as are all other addt'l weights.

It may seem cool to watch DVDs, but not everyone is dying to do it individually. Frankly I'd just as soon have them spread out the seats, make them larger, and eject everyone that can't stop talking.

By knowyourenemy on 1/26/2007 11:00:22 AM , Rating: 2
Looks like a winner in my book.

Diction nazi
By hellokeith on 1/26/2007 11:07:50 AM , Rating: 2
"compromised" should be "comprised", unless you were insulting their material choices ;)

Another Thing . . .
By vanka on 1/26/2007 2:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if the network will be available for consumer devices like laptops, etc (the article implies that it's only for the entertainment system in the plane); but if it is there's another benefit to a wired network: longer battery life for your laptop. Of course this becomes a moot point if you've got an outlet by your seat.

Even if the network is only for the plane's entertainment system, there is still a benefit: it takes less energy to send a signal through a cat6 than to broadcast it through the air. While the energy saved appears insignificant, it will add up over time.

Call me crazy...
By RockfordFile on 1/26/2007 3:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
...but I'll venture this might be a security consideration too. In the off chance something would be loaded onboard without being detected, a wireless signal could be used to set it off. I dunno. That's one thought I had.

The only reason I can think of that wireless weighs more is maybe in switching equipment on board to handle a maxed out plane where each flyer has an internet ready laptop? I'm not sure about this either. My guess is there are other reasons that aren't stated that lead to the decision.

Speaking of wireless networking...
By TimberJon on 1/26/07, Rating: -1
RE: Speaking of wireless networking...
By CrasHxxx on 1/26/2007 12:23:49 PM , Rating: 3
Can you explain to me how you "Wash up" in an economy seat while flying?

By Sulphademus on 1/26/2007 2:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
I thought he was going to say something about ditching in the ocean until I read the Wash Up part. I don't get it either.

By dice1111 on 1/26/2007 3:25:51 PM , Rating: 3
I'd smack a guy giving himself a hand bath next to me on a flight. Thats just gross.

By RockfordFile on 1/26/2007 3:49:58 PM , Rating: 4
Exactly which thread on which site did you think you were on when you posted this?

Obviously not everyone benefits from tabbed browsing...

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