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FAA funds study of airborne internet

Posted by bboyes on November 15, 2005 at 4:20 PM PST

A $1.35-million contract awarded last week to AeroSat Airborne Internet, LLC of Amherst NH, is the first step in creating an airborne internet in which aircraft act as nodes on a network, passing information on weather, landing conditions and turbulence from one plane to another.

The one-year contract calls for Aerosat Airborne Internet to conduct Airborne Internet flight demonstrations on FAA test aircraft at the William J. Hughes Technical Center. Data will be exchanged between the air and ground at 45 megabits per second, then passed from aircraft to aircraft, exhibiting a full range of communications that previously have required the use of satellites. The system is expected to transfer data at 45 megabits per second.

It's not clear to me who's doing what. There's the Aerosat company, and the Airborne Internet Consortium. Neither of these entities has anything fresh on their web pages. Then there's this reference at NASA:

Transformational Cost Reduction for Airborne Internet
Proceedings of the Fourth Integrated Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance (ICNS) Conference and Workshop;
August 2004; 17 pp.; In English; See also 20040139058; No Copyright; Avail: CASI; A03, Hardcopy; Available from CASI
on CD-ROM only as part of the entire parent document
This viewgraph presentation reviews the impact that use of an Airborne Internet will have on the aviation industry.
Passenger usage of airborne internet is explored as a possible revenue source for the airlines. AeroSat Corporation, a New
Hampshire based company, has commenced work on a project to demonstrate a novel low-cost, broadband, non-satellite
communications methodology for aircraft.

With nodes moving at 500 mph, with local routers on board, this could give new richness to the idea of a "store and forward" design.

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