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64kbps @ 40,000 ft. 232

Posted by Hemos
from the lucy-in-the-sky-with-diamonds dept.
jumpstop writes "The NYT Technology section reports that 64kbps is now available on business jets. Sure, you can read your email and surf the web, but can you blast away at Wolfenstein?"
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64kbps @ 40,000 ft.

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  • by Squareball (523165) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:23PM (#3367778)
    Wow so this could bring a new kinda mile high club.. Cyber Sex at 40,000 feet ;)
  • by tps12 (105590) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:25PM (#3367796) Homepage Journal
    The NYT Technology section reports that 64kbps is now available on business jets.

    I would also like to announce that 56mph is now available in my house.

    Also, as a special favor, I am offering 92 degrees Celsius to any interested parties.

  • And I still cannot get first post:-(
  • er (Score:2, Redundant)

    by digitalsushi (137809)
    but can you blast away at Wolfenstein


    not if your latency still sucks :)

    • Re:er (Score:2, Funny)

      by morgajel (568462)
      somehow I don't think they'll let you bring BFG's on board- the security guards I saw didn't exactly seem like they would be able to comprehend the difference:)

      (btw, I know BFG isn't wolfenstein, so humor me)
    • not if your latency still sucks :)

      The blurb didn't state which Wolfenstein or which 64 kbps. For all we know, it could be referring to "Castle Wolfenstein" for the Apple II family. The Apple II's disk drive operated at a maximum sustained speed of (you guessed it) 64 kbps (with any OS more recent than Apple DOS 3.3 such as Diversi-DOS, ProntoDOS, or ProDOS).

    • Nah, I mean you're flying at 300 mph, that kind of speed must be reflected in the latency.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:26PM (#3367806)
    SPEED demons, the kind who like corporate jets that do 500 knots at 40,000 feet, are reaching the point where they can cruise the Internet at that altitude as well -- and at speeds comparable to a deskbound computer's.

    This month Honeywell, the satellite service provider Inmarsat and the French electronics company Thales demonstrated a system in which fliers with laptops can be linked, by an Ethernet LAN or wireless connection, to an antenna on top of the fuselage, allowing speeds of up to 64 kilobits per second.

    Laptop users need a network card or a wireless modem. The system, called Swift 64, is fast enough to handle streaming video or video conference calls using standard equipment.

    The first market is corporate jets, but the builders hope to sell the system to airlines, too. The companies did not give a price but said it would depend partly on how much equipment was already on board. Many planes already have some satellite communication gear for passenger seat-back telephones and for the cockpit crew to use to communicate with the airline or maintenance base.

    Boeing has a competing product that is in service on 11 corporate planes, and Lufthansa is hoping to offer it on a Boeing 747 late this year or early next year. Boeing and Lufthansa have not worked out how they will charge customers. Communications experts say they could charge by the minute or the bit.

    A spokesman for Connexion by Boeing, the subsidiary that produces the system, said it would allow the use of palmtop-based e-mail service in addition to laptops, and speeds far higher than the Swift 64 system, 20 gigabits per second.

    Tenzing Communications, a Seattle company partly owned by the European plane maker Airbus, also provides a slower satellite-based service on a handful of airlines.

    Honeywell's demonstration plane, a Cessna Citation, a twin-engine business jet that carries two crew members and as many as eight passengers, carries an antenna about the size and shape of a surfboard.

    Planes with long over-water routes often carry satellite antennas; older antenna models are steered mechanically to keep them pointed toward the satellite as the plane banks, climbs and descends. The one on the Honeywell plane is steered electronically. On a recent demonstration flight from Dulles Airport near Washington, the antenna was pointed at a satellite in orbit over Brazil that transmitted back to a ground station in Connecticut.

    On the demonstration flight, a user of a Dell Latitude CPx found that the Web site of the Federal Aviation Administration popped up on the screen so fast that the system's performance was nearly indistinguishable from that of a desktop in a corporate office.

    Such speed offers white-knuckle fliers new possibilities: for example, it took no time at all to download a 238-kilobyte aviation safety manual.
    • by realdpk (116490) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @03:01PM (#3368163) Homepage Journal
      Such speed offers white-knuckle fliers new possibilities: for example, it took no time at all to download a 238-kilobyte aviation safety manual.

      I would hope they'd have such a manual on the aircraft already.
  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Quixote (154172)
    Hate to break it to you guys, but the dot-com days are over. How many of the slashdot crowd can afford to take a spin in a "business jet" ?
    • and the article does mention things like "The first market is corporate jets, but the builders hope to sell the system to airlines, too"

      so, no most of us aint gonna be surfing the web in flight just yet, but the article does lead me to believe that it's coming
  • spoiled (Score:1, Interesting)

    by theblacksun (523754)
    We're all spoiled now a days. I remember blasting away at quake I and II, Starcraft and wonderful games over an unstable 36.6 dialup. I still managed to win some despite the lag.
    • Yeah, though of course the dynamics of the game have increased dramatically : For instance I regularly play on a 16 player server in enormously complex environments with dynamic objects and 3D sound of all actions around you, versus the 2D+ Doom world against one other player (could you even jump in Doom? Could you crouch? You didn't even have to aim up and down but rather just had to point the right compass direction).
  • by samael (12612) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:29PM (#3367846) Homepage
    Does the whole plane have a 64k connection?

    Or are we all going to have to share it between us?

    And what happens when the 15 year old in row 27 loads up Gnutella and uses _all_ the bandwidth?
    • by benwb (96829) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:44PM (#3367971)
      Sadly enough the dot com days are over, so there are probably not all that many 15 year olds tooling around in business jets anymore.
      • by jsled (11433)
        Seriously, though: what happens when the Outlook-constrained CEO next to me opens up his VPN and grabs his inbox, with the mind-bendingly-over-large PowerPoint attachment and video clips and copies of websites that the employees mail around [instead of sending just a pointer or link to].

        My responsible limited-bandwidth network use will get lost in the noise. :(

        Implementers of these technologies: please implement per-connection throttling.
    • And what happens when the 15 year old in row 27 loads up Gnutella and uses _all_ the bandwidth?

      You setup some QoS rules at the router.

      Or, you can just go and hit him in the head with something heavy.

      -jfedor


  • I can download the latest Slackware ISO!
  • Wireless networks on planes? Should open up a lot of opportunities for would-be corporate spies...a whole ad-hoc, heterogenous "network neighborhood" to plunder...and frequent flier miles to boot!
  • "On a recent demonstration flight from Dulles Airport near Washington, the antenna was pointed at a satellite in orbit over Brazil that transmitted back to a ground station in Connecticut. "

    I imagine the ping your looking at will be from plane to satellite would be horrible. I know a few people with direct PC service get relivitly high pings that it makes playing online games horrible.

    Though playing a flying game online with other people while your riding in a plane could be cool.
    Or perhaps renting a jet to fly to a lan party while holding one on the jet during the trip would also be cool. too bad the only ones who would be able to afford this for a while is the PHB's and higher.
  • A spokesman for Connexion by Boeing, the subsidiary that produces the system, said it would allow the use of palmtop-based e-mail service in addition to laptops, and speeds far higher than the Swift 64 system, 20 gigabits per second.

    Gotta hate this... pay big bucks and you get sweet speeds on a figgin' plane, while the unwashed masses down here still have crappy 56k in many places! Damn capitalist pigs!

    I wonder if they'll charge big bucks for access, like they do with the phones on the planes?
    • Gotta hate this... pay big bucks and you get sweet speeds on a figgin' plane, while the unwashed masses down here still have crappy 56k in many places! Damn capitalist pigs!

      You hate it? I'm sorry; as soon as you're willing to lay down the big bucks required to establish such an infrastructure, then you, too, can get the sweet speeds... wherever and whenever you want them. Indeed someone has to pay for it.

      When money can be exchanged for necessary technological goods and services, it would appear that the system works after all.

    • You can pay alot and get high satellite latency on the ground already. See Star Band [starband.com].
  • Cox Communications announced it will be dropping 'hard lines' in favor of the new long range 64k wireless network. "64k outa be enough for the neightborhood."

    • And then again, you're an idiot. Cox is building QUITE the high speed network, and even before they were, I consistently max out my cable modem to the cap they put on it, no matter what time of day. 128Kilobytes per second isn't all THAT bad.
  • The companies did not give a price but said it would depend partly on how much equipment was already on board. Many planes already have some satellite communication gear for passenger seat-back telephones and for the cockpit crew to use to communicate with the airline or maintenance base.

    And you thought those seat-back telephones were expensive...

  • by Minuo (172787)
    Anyone else notice that the article states that Boeing offers a 20Gb/s connection on 11 business jets and soon 747s?!?

    <sarcasm>wonder how they accomplish THAT!</sarcasm>

    "A spokesman for Connexion by Boeing, the subsidiary that produces the system, said it would allow the use of palmtop-based e-mail service in addition to laptops, and speeds far higher than the Swift 64 system, 20 gigabits per second. "
  • Sure, you can read your email and surf the web, but can you blast away at Wolfenstein?

    No, but you can Slashdot the nonstop from Atlanta to New York!
  • So we can set up 802.11b networks on airplanes, but we can't use cell phones.
    • Contrary to popular belief, the main reason you can't use a cellphone in a plane is the altitude. A cell phone will register with any cell it can reach. On the ground, this isn't going to be a problem, but at 30000 feet, your phone could theoretically tie up many many cells with the same connection.
  • Sheesh! People are computing faster than I am, even at 40k feet. Our neighborhood still has the same copper that was put up in the early 60's. No connections over 31.6 :-(
  • Well... duh. Of course you can blast away at Wolfenstein. You're right there next to the satellites, so your latency is nil.

    (oh, btw... ;)

  • But seriously... it costs like $3/minute to make US calls how much will it cost per minute/kb used?
    • Who cares?

      The folks flying corporate jets certainly don't. Fuel costs alone for a low-end jet run ~$300/hour, not counting maintenance, pilot fees and the like.

      If you'd rather fly something like a Citation X [cessna.com] you're up to $600/hour or so for the JetA. Don't even ask what it costs for the whole package.

  • by Peter Trepan (572016) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:46PM (#3367997)
    An airplane traveling at 50% of light speed in a straight line towards the broadcast satellite should be able to provide access speeds of up to 128 Kbps. Faster even, if you include the effects of time dilation.
    • An airplane traveling at 50% of the speed of light leaves Kennedy Airport in New York City at 10:16 AM EST, and is scheduled to land 4 hours 23 minutes later at Los Angelos International airport. At what Pacific Daylight Savings time will the 40-year-old pervert sitting in Seat 37C finish downloading his first 10MB S&M video clip from www.spankme.com, assuming he is able to utilize 80% of the available 64kbps bandwidth and with the satellite directly in front of him?

      With the satellite directly behind him?

      With the satellite in geosynchronous, low-earth orbit where it should be instead of directly in front of a jet flying at 40,000 feet?
  • Communications experts say they could charge by the minute or the bit.

    Why not the flight? Or the day. I'd pay $15 to have a solid net connection on a 5 hour flight.

    I'm looking at this from a passenger point of view, but I think we're eventually going to see (and need) net connectivity in the air.

    And it should be cheaper then they think. Why go for a wired network in the plane at all? Pulling cables through a pre-existing airplane has to be expensive. A decent WAP which can handle 64 users at the same time and cover the entire cabin gives you a lan at ~$5-700 installed. Couple that with pre-existing antenneas, get a decent switch, and violla, you have internect connectivity in an average craft for a few thousand bucks.

    Wi-fi is already becomming the standard at airports (even though current coverage stinks). Why not partner with one of the many wi-fi providers popping up? I don't subscribe to any of them, but if I found out that my subscription to boingo would keep me connected at the airport, in the plane, and the hotel when I landed, I'd sign up in a second.

  • Sure, you can read your email and surf the web, but can you blast away at Wolfenstein?

    Probably not, considering that Wolfenstein wasn't multiplayer. Try Doom :)
  • On the demonstration flight, a user of a Dell Latitude CPx found that the Web site of the Federal Aviation Administration popped up on the screen so fast that the system's performance was nearly indistinguishable from that of a desktop in a corporate office.

    Man, if I only got 64kbps at my office, I would be talking to our network admin! 64 kbps reminds me of the days of sharing a 56k dial-up internet connection among 30 people. Now that was slow...

  • Arrested? (Score:5, Funny)

    by tarsi210 (70325) <nathan@nOsPAM.nathanpralle.com> on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:55PM (#3368083) Homepage Journal
    can you blast away at Wolfenstein?

    And if you did, would you get arrested or attacked by the passengers for wielding a weapon?

    Maybe arming pilots with a plasma rifle would be a good thing. Or maybe they just need Jabber:

    SkieHighPil0t: Help! We're being hijacked!
    Sl33pyGrndCtrl: Thanks, SkieHighPil0t, but I'm away from my computer right now. Leave a message! :)
  • I have had 87564 kb/s in my bat plane for years.

    YAWN

    .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, 2002 @02:56PM (#3368105)
    This has already been achieved using the GlobalStar constellation:

    http://www.qualcomm.com/press/pr/releases2001/pr es s27.html
  • We played Wolfenstein on 2400 baud modems back in the day, what would stop us from playing on 64k? =)

    If you're talking about RTCW on the other hand....
    =)
    • We played Wolfenstein on 2400 baud modems back in the day

      Dude your thinking doom not wolfenstein.
      Wolfenstein didn't have a multiplayer mode.
      /me fondly remembers long nights and short mornings back in the days of doom.
  • 64kbps... time travel back to the era of kilotonne 'portable' pcs with glowing green screens... imagine if you will.
  • I just flew back from Dayton to LA on a nice Delta jet, but in coach. The lil GTE AirFones proudly screamed at me "NOW, HIGHER DATA RATES!" Flipping through Sky magazine, I found that top speed is 9600bps.. rock! Now I can play LORD in the air!

    (legend of the red dragon... fuck yeah)
  • Jetstream (Score:4, Funny)

    by africanswallow (556130) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @03:13PM (#3368271)
    Actually, I heard that the 64kbps is the net of the 56kbps you get going west against the jetstream over the Pacific and 72kbps going with.
  • The big question.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by andyring (100627) on Thursday April 18, 2002 @03:29PM (#3368372) Homepage
    While this is all cool and good, if these satellites provide coverage pretty much anywhere for airplanes, couldn't us slashdotters figure out a way to acquire the laptop PC card and any antenna(s) needed to use this bandwidth at home? I obviously don't know how hard (if even possible) this would be, but hey, if nothing else, it sounds like there is potential here for good-quality wireless Internet for the masses back on good 'ol planet Earth. Maybe even a reasonable end to Internet for rural areas?
  • I'm finally going to get to join the mile-high club!
  • That's almost twice the speed of my the connection I have on my desktop! That's progress for you
  • It seems to me, with my really dorky sense of humor, that Rockford-in-the-sky-with-diamonds is funnier. But hey, I'm a loser who comments on the taglines so what do I know? :-)
    • Oooooh flashback!

      boodeewooodooleeeedoooobeebooooo....

      chig chig chig chig chig chig chig chig kerching! chig chig chig chig chig chig chig crash! chig chig crash! crash! kerching! kerching! chig chig chig chig ....

      Boulderdash- one of the best games ever.

      graspee

  • but can you blast away at Wolfenstein?"

    I think not. I would bet that this is a pretty high latency connection to the internet. Thus, playing pretty much any kind of action game would be useless.

  • Airline Security? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plugger (450839)
    How will the airlines deal with people using encrypted connections to communicate with a third party? It sounds like the ideal way for someone to coordinate, say, a large scale terrorist attack.

    Hell, anyone with a modern web browser has the software installed. Then again, GSM mobile phones encrypt their traffic (I think, correct me if I'm wrong), so maybe it isn't seen as a problem.

  • Nope. Not unless you want to be taken into custody for using a terrorist training program.

  • I still think that's proportionately not as cool as my 19.2 Kbps paraglider setup. =] No link yet, but when I get it working you'll be able to watch my flights real-time, along with what meager telemetry you can get out of a 35-pound nylon and Kevlar aircraft.

    Anyone know where I can get a super-compact frame grabber? Maybe I'll put my helmet-cam online too. =]
  • "Boeing and Lufthansa have not worked out how they will charge customers. Communications experts say they could charge by the minute or the bit."

    Well let's see - voice grade phone calls are $5.00/minute. I wonder what it would cost to download that Powerpoint attachment in my email? A hundred bucks? Yeah that's what I'm thinking.
  • Sooo, when ppl start sharing music and movies on board, what laws apply 40k ft above the atlantic/pacific? Or would it just be illegal when they enter national airspace?


  • In March, I was flying from Denver to San Diego in an American Airlines DC80. They had those AT&T phones in them, one per row attached to the back of the center seat headrest. They all had a sticker on them that stated they would be out of service at the end of the month.

    I can believe this. How much utility is there in using a phone on an air plane? Almost none. Who wants to talk on a phone when the plane is crowded? How much do you want to pay to use the thing? Nobody that I see ever uses them. It must have cost a lot of money to install those phones, one in every seat. I bet that AT&T lost a lot of money on that one.

    Flying on an airplane is sitting back and relaxing for a few hours. If you are on an international flight, then you are going to drug yourself before hand too, else the monotony of sitting there doing nothing for hours.

    It would be cool to be able to plug in my laptop on an air plane, if I could get power and data. But how much of the populous will also want to do that? I doubt enough to make it worth the costs.

    In business planes, this might be okay. So, who here is going to be flying in a business plane?

    This technology application matters not.

    In a side note...

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! ! Giant Jon Katz banners! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
  • Now we don't have to hijack the plane physically anymore since the plane has an Internet connection.

    Just fire up Microsoft Flight Sim on your home computer and then connect to the plane.

    (Remember Turbulence III? :))
  • I wonder though, with all the advents that have occured lately, (9/11, security tightening, civil right violations that are state sanctioned) how will the gov't get there hands into this? I know it sounds slightly stupid to think, but the cautious side of me *knows* beyond a shadow of a doubt there will be some kind of sniffer running. Hell, since you can't bring nail files onto the plane, whats to stop people from just turning off their freakin' laptop and cracking peoples skulls with it? (users of Dell Latitudes know what I'm talking about.. the thing almost looks designed for that)

    But seriously... caution by the consumer cattle needs to be taken. I've wondered about the airplane phones for years, but at the price of those I seriously doubt anyone but a PHB or a PHB lacky would use one of those... or someone with a corporate card and no reason to hold back :)

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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