In-flight surfing might soon be a reality

In-flight surfing might soon be a reality

By SiliconIndia   |   Monday, 09 April 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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Bangalore: Surfing the Internet while on the plane will soon be a possibility thanks to a research done by a German microwave theory scientist and his team of 150 in Germany.

"The first prototype and flight experience have been conducted with the German space agency and in-flight surfing will become a reality soon," said Dr Ingo Wolff, a German scientist, who pits his mind against real world problems using his knowledge of microwave theory.

Dr Wolff, founder and president of the Institute for Mobile and Satellite Communication Service (IMST), Germany, will be giving a talk at Maxsoft's conference here on the Future of Mobility. A private non-profit corporation, IMST focuses on technology development and evaluation for next generation personal cellular/mobile communications hardware and systems.

The team has designed a flat antenna that sits on top of the airplane. Using digital technology, the antenna locks a beam onto a satellite and ensures uninterrupted connection even as the plane moves. With a 30 GHz band, security and robustness are guaranteed along with a high bandwidth. Users will be able to experience a 100 MBps connection � against the 2Mbps broadband available at home.
Unwiring is the solution to collateral applications too, such as distribution of the entertainment content within the aircraft. �The weight of aircraft can be reduced by removing cabling. We can make the entire in-flight entertainment wire-free,� said Dr Wolff.

Using a 60 GHz band, his team is experimenting with streaming video, audio and other content that is currently offered in planes, wirelessly. This unwiring could also help in easier management of seating arrangements by offering business class passengers a higher quality and variety of content, while offering the economy passengers limited access.
A wireless-enabled computer would be able to wirelessly send appropriate package to the seat. �With a push of a button, the computer on the airplane would know which seat is in economy class and which in first class or business, and automatically transmit the entertainment package,� said Dr Wolff.

This ground-breaking research in microwave theory with applications such as these, could be performed out of Bangalore as Dr Wolff�s association grows with a city based engineering firm, Maxsoft.
�India can profit from investment in mobile communication technology, sophisticated and specialised work in embedded software domain and home automation, and sensors,� said Dr Wolff adding particularly with India's mature space research technology and wireless, he said. However, he added that quality, efficiency and automation would require improvement.

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