4,000 Picocells May be Deployed in Aircraft in Next Four Years

media_object_image_lowres_a380_nov13_mr.jpgAccording to a research report that will be released shortly by Freesky Research, there will be 4,000 picocells that deliver 802.11 (Wi-Fi) or 3G connectivity in airplanes between 2008 and 2011. Picocells can be thought of as a router that covers a small area, or a wireless access point. The report says that wide-body aircraft that have already made 10,000 flights and smaller CRJ aircraft probably won’t be among the aircraft offering these services, but it does believe that aircraft native to Asian, Middle Eastern, or European countries will. Except here’s the big kicker: Freesky Research sees text messaging as “one of the most cost-effective connectivity services airlines can offer.” While that’s likely true, I would hate to purchase a plane ticket for an airline that offered 3G connectivity only to find out that it was limited to text messages. At least we wouldn’t have to hear Martha blab on about her mother’s mashed potatoes on the way home from Idaho, though. Further, the Wi-Fi installations will likely be installed for crew usage only, bringing “approach charts, management network access while parked at gates,” and cabin surveillance for “quality assurance,” or, as we call it, safety precautions. Oh well, any form of airborne Wi-Fi is a step in the right direction. I just want it now.

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