IP Networking solution provides inflight broadband service

Jan. 15, 2003
15 January 2003 -- Passenger trials on the airline industry's first onboard broadband network on a commercial plane begin this week with a Boeing 747-400 flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Washington, DC.

- Lufthansa Frankfurt to Washington D.C. flight marks initial trials of Cisco's mobility solution

15 January 2003 -- Passenger trials on the airline industry's first onboard broadband network on a commercial plane begin this week with a Boeing 747-400 flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Washington, DC.

Operated by German airline Deutsche Lufthansa, this pioneering flight offers air travellers high-speed Internet access from the comfort of teir own seats.

Connexion By Boeing, a mobile information services provider, is providing the infrastructure that allows two-way-live data between the plane and the ground, with speeds of 3Mbit/s downstream and 128kbit/s upstream.

Cisco Systems is providing the technology for the onboard network with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) compliant wireless connectivity throughout all the cabins and in addition an Ethernet connector in the passenger seats.

Five Cisco Aironet 350 Series Access Points have been fitted throughout the plane, along with one Cisco 3640 Router and nine Cisco Catalyst 3548 XL Series Switches. The Cisco standard equipment is modified, tested and certified by Lufthansa Technik in order to meet civil aviation regulations.

Dr. Burkard Wigger, Project Manager, FlyNet at Lufthansa said: "We examined a couple of other options for the onboard network but we chose Cisco for its end-to-end wireless and wired networking solutions, as this company was flexible enough to cope with the very special requirements in the aircraft environment."

The passenger trial on the Frankfurt, Germany to Washington, DC route will last for three months, in order to fine-tune the service to meet customer needs. Lufthansa hopes to roll out broadband connectivity on its entire intercontinental fleet over the next two years.

This project is a continuation of the relationship between Lufthansa and Cisco, who have been working together on enabling technologies to help mobile business professionals on commercial airliners and business jets remain connected to business critical applications � even when they are in
the air.

Lufthansa is closely looking at the Cisco 3200 Series Mobile Access Router as a key component of the first standards-based Inflight Networking Component being developed for airline cabin infrastructure.

Recently announced, the Cisco 3200 is specifically designed for incorporation into mobile vehicular systems, such as airplanes, and meets the necessary requirements for seamless mobility while roaming among wireless networks with Mobile IP in Cisco IOS' Software as well as well as unique power, size and weight specifications to fit in airplanes.

By leveraging standards-based IP communications with uninterrupted access to information for networks in motion, the Cisco 3200 can extend Lufthansa's network connectivity fromb existing ground-based IP networks and applications to in-flight IP networks.

"Today's business traveller wants to remain connected to their offices and their customers whilst they are on the move," said Andreas Dohmen, VP and General Manager at Cisco Systems Germany. "With Lufthansa, we are working on solutions making Mobile Internet Access as simple as mobile telephony. "

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