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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 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

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