Essar aircraft goes Wi-Fi
A 12-seater aircraft owned by the Essar Group has been Wi-Fi enabled. While
commercial aircraft can offer only Wi-Fi Internet access, privately-owned aircraft
can provide this as well as WLAN connectivity because the travellers belong
to the same enterprise.
The Essar aircraft has been provided with WLAN and Wi-Fi connectivity using
DWL-2100AP access point and wireless print-server DP-311U from D-Link. The Wi-Fi
equipment using the 802.11g protocol and an HP inkjet printer with USB interface
are permanently installed in the aircraft. Executives carrying their own Wi-Fi
enabled laptops get connected when they are on the flight. Internet connectivity
is provided through satellite communication services.
In-flight connectivity may turn out to be the most important productivity tool
for business travellers. The cost of connectivity, compared to the cost of flying
itself, would be negligible. Commercial aircraft with high-speed wireless access
are being tried out by leaders in the aviation industry.
Wireless connectivity is needed as you cannot have Ethernet cabling running
criss-cross all over the interior of the aircraft. Wi-Fi enabled laptops are
best suited for such applications since business travellers often carry their
own laptops with them and like to continue with their day-to-day work even on
Boeings Connexion, which offers wireless access, is currently available
on 65 aircraft from 11 airlines. By the end of 2006, about 150 aircraft will
be Wi-Fi enabled. Airbus OnAir, which will offer in-flight Internet connectivity
and cellular service, is expected to be launched in 2006.