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Wireless Networking Hardware

Internet Access 10 Kilometers High Up In The Air 366

Marton writes "Lufthansa started rolling out their Flynet service in 2004. It is now available on several long-haul flights such as 411D - the one I'm sitting on right now. It is not cheap ($30 for the duration of a flight) nor is it very fast (satellite-based technology can't deliver the snappy response you are used to on the ground) but it is really, really nice. It's great to be able to check my email, catch up with some work, or just surf the web - airplane time used to be about napping, paperbacks or crappy movies. Now if only they'd let me have a cigarette I could actually be productive too. " Marton also gave us a traceroute which is attached... I'm going to Tokyo in May and crying that Northwest won't have this.

Here's a traceroute from my laptop which is currently on an A-340 10,000 meters up in the air, doing about 800 kilometers per hour, somewhere over the Atlantic bound for Munich.

C:\Documents and Settings\Marton>tracert

Tracing route to []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 2 ms 3 ms 2 ms
2 2 ms 2 ms 2 ms []
3 3 ms 4 ms 2 ms []
4 * * * Request timed out.
5 568 ms 626 ms 576 ms
6 703 ms 567 ms 583 ms []
7 580 ms 705 ms 582 ms []
8 627 ms 582 ms 632 ms
9 579 ms 581 ms 581 ms []
10 619 ms 582 ms 582 ms []
11 581 ms 582 ms 665 ms
12 655 ms 912 ms 1072 ms []
13 1144 ms 1612 ms 1939 ms []
14 1500 ms 712 ms 580 ms []
15 613 ms 579 ms 582 ms
16 589 ms 608 ms 790 ms []
17 588 ms 605 ms 582 ms []
18 609 ms 1774 ms 1079 ms []
19 610 ms 968 ms 1108 ms []
20 1109 ms 886 ms 998 ms
21 630 ms 860 ms 994 ms []

Trace complete.
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Internet Access 10 Kilometers High Up In The Air

Comments Filter:
  • NICE!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rkv ( 852317 )
    if they made it a bit cheaper it would be better though?
    • Re:NICE!! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The typical price of the ticket is $600 economy to $3000 business... does another $30 for internet access really matter.
      • If you would't use Internet you would probably read a book or magazine or two which are not exactly free (as in beer) either.
    • Re:NICE!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by magarity ( 164372 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:31PM (#11991040)
      if they made it a bit cheaper it would be better though?

      They have to make a trade off between making it so more people can afford it versus the relatively slow connection. If you're going to pay any noticable amount for such a small time frame as a single flight then you want to get your money's worth. If too many people use it then it slows to a crawl. Then everyone complains. Keeping the price high is a way of ensuring there is a reasonable amount of bandwidth to the few who do pay.
    • Re:NICE!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mqx ( 792882 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:46PM (#11991121)
      if they made it a bit cheaper it would be better though?

      Sure, and it be better if high-end computing servers were cheaper too, but really: a global plane based relatively high speed internetwork is not cheap to build and run: we're talking about fitting equipment into planes, trials and testing, satellite bandwidth, the cost of satellite services, etc. This is not inexpensive.

      I actually think $30 is not too bad for what you're getting. It's not for everyone, but it's within the reach of many people, considering many of us think nothing about easily spending $30 on a restaurant meal.

      Not only this, but international airlines are not actually loaded with revenue that they could absorb the cost of this service into existing price you pay, and really, I wouldn't want my mother (a non internet user) to pay higher trans-atlantic fares so that she can subsidise web browsers: user pays!

      I'm sure we'll see the service expand and improve in the future, but for now, it's a fairly decent start. I'm not on a 6 figure salary, yet I'd have no problems paying for this service on the 2-3 12+ hour flights I make per year.
      • Re:NICE!! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rkv ( 852317 )
        well if the mobile phone companies can convince the FCC that mobile phones can be used in the air then this 30$ service would'nt be necessary as high speed broadband connection would be available :D. so ya i still think its too much.
        • Re:NICE!! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Oopsz ( 127422 )
          You think your mobile will work over the north atlantic? and what are your data roaming charges going to be in munich/montreal/melbourne?
      • Re:NICE!! (Score:3, Insightful)

        For someone who just wants to dick around surfing the web, it's an expensive optional luxury. It's not insanely exhorbitant, but someone who's just bored might think twice. If they're on a tight budget, they won't even seriously consider it. It's not like it's that hard to wait ten to fifteen hours to get back online (for most people =)). It's not like you'll be able to play WoW or HL2 anyway, with that kind of latency.

        For someone who needs internet access to work while they're inflight, it's invaluable, a
      • Re:NICE!! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by KanSer ( 558891 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @03:56PM (#11992327)
        30$ is not bad for a trans-atlantic hop. I've done San fran to Frankfurt on Lufthansa many many times, and while the service is impeccable, those 10 hours sure would go easier with a net connection.

        For any of Lufthansa's long haul flights 30$ is very reasonable. The next logical step would be to wire up every seat with an ethernet port (which I imagine this service provides) and set up a LAN. Think about the new A380s, formerly the A3XX or the 400-800 seat true double decker planes.

        800 people, lets say San Fran to Frankfurt or Munich, what do you think the odds are that at least 20 people have a laptop with some games. Hello, wouldn't fragging at 35,000 feet be awesome? Even better if the plane hosted old-school games (doom 2, quake 1) so people wouldn't need to all have it installed.
  • by PyWiz ( 865118 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:25PM (#11990989) might be addicted.
    • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @01:09PM (#11991269)
      Flight Attendant: "Sorry, sir. After you posted that message about the iPod on Slashdot, Cowboy Neal notified us to mod you down. You can't sit in first class anymore. Please find a seat in coach. Oh, and if you do it again? You will have to sit on the wing with the other gremlins. Gremlins? That is what we call trolls here. Look outside and you will see a few right now GNAA'ing on the wings."
  • by flowerp ( 512865 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:27PM (#11990999)
    If cou can pay $30 for Internet, try paying $30 for smoking. Let's see how far that will get you.
  • tcptraceroute (Score:3, Informative)

    by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:28PM (#11991011)
    Remember that some providers give UDP packets low priority. I'd be more impressed if he'd run tcptraceroute.

  • Boeing technology (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thammoud ( 193905 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:28PM (#11991016)
    A link to the real provider to this technology. []
    • by Abstract_Me ( 799786 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:35PM (#11991062) Journal
      The article says its slow and expensive but the connexionbyboeing website advertises it being fast and cheap! which one do i beleive?!
      • Re:Boeing technology (Score:5, Informative)

        by MathFox ( 686808 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:50PM (#11991144)
        If you've read the connexionbyboeing website a bit better: The plane has an 1 Mbit connection (or better). Unfortunately the data is routed via a satellite, so the link has pretty high latency.

        One of my friends has downloaded a Knoppix CD on one of his transatlantic flights.

      • Depends on your definition of expensive, of course.

        For instance, Apple's Xserve RAID is often considered inexpensive because it's about a third the price of other RAID solutions for similar storage space. It's still over $10,000 for a loaded configuration, so most people wouldn't think of it as that cheap. But people who need it just might.

        Right now, you can get from LAX to Frankfurt, Germany with one stop for $454 tourist class. There are some lucky souls willing to pay $11,825 for a first-class ticke
        • I've always found it odd that first-class tickets are so outrageously priced. You'd think if someone is smart enough to become rich, they'd be smart enough not to throw away so much money on a first-class ticket.

          If more rich folk were smart enough to not shred their money in this fashion, perhaps first-class tickets wouldn't be so outrageously priced?

          Hmm. Makes ya wonder. }:)

          • If you got your big money by actually working for it (started a biz, banker, broker, bigtime writer, doctor, lawyer,..) it is your TIME that counts.
            That is why I'd pay first class price to be able to travel without getting worn out in coach because I would be able to do some real work on the plane and be able to get to productive work faster AFTER the plane ride.
    • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:35PM (#11991064)
      I find it quite amusing that Connexion by Boeing is being used on an Airbus.
      • by Oopsz ( 127422 )
        Why? Boeing will fit their addons to a bombardier business jet if you pay them to. Airplanes are just too darn expensive for boeing to be able to use internet access as leverage.
        • Seem to me that the grandparent meant that another company is willing to pay Boeing (their competitor) to provide a service on their flights.
        • It's amusing because the competition between Boeing and Airbus is exceptionally bitter. Once an airline acquires a given aircraft, of course, the manufacturer is powerless to prevent them from installing parts or services from the competitor. This is a bit like a BMW with Onstar.
  • by Demonspawn ( 187073 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:29PM (#11991019)
    I havn't flown in a LONG time, so I don't know what the price would be for a long flight like the ones that have this service. I realize compared to the prices of ground service it's horably expensive (vs. a month long contract), but thinking of it as an 'add on' to the ticket, what percentage of the ticket cost is it? If you are dealing with a $300 ticket, then it's only a 10% rider.

    Of course, if you are taking one of those $59 flights I see advertised, you'd be thinking the cost is insane.
    • In a comparitive way as to the cost of food and wine then its not really that bad atall , what is $30 in food a meal and a couple bottles of wine which i would have otherwise paid to suffer the flight .
      On the other hand the food and drink on airplanes is Completly overpriced and well im sure you can figure out the problems with the ethics of pricing it so high to a captive audiance
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:29PM (#11991025)
    For all the slashdot geeks flying on Lufthansa, this also gives you the opportunity to join the mile high club - solo!
  • VoIP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NetStatic ( 86649 )
    It would be interesting, once the latency goes down a bit, if you could run VoIP over the connection, bringing cheap(er) phone services. Those Verizon Airphones are really expensive.
    • Re:VoIP (Score:4, Funny)

      by melonman ( 608440 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:50PM (#11991147) Journal

      once the latency goes down a bit

      What, when the speed of light increases a bit? I'm typing this on a terrestial satellite connection, and that's about the latency you get.

      You can do VoIP over this sort of connection, you just have to get used to the fact that there's about a second's lag, and, if you can hear yourself on the remote speakers, a 2-second echo.

      Here's part of my traceroute...

      3 firewall ( 3.067 ms 7.553 ms 12.684 ms
      4 ( 4.062 ms 5.199 ms 6.160 ms
      5 ( 631.013 ms 583.867 ms 1562.693 ms
      6 ( 1658.335 ms 1537.707 ms 1099.666 ms
      7 ( 1156.839 ms 1302.108 ms 1372.232 ms
      8 ( 794.488 ms 528.926 ms 569.041 ms
      9 ( 602.372 ms 606.007 ms 732.337 ms
      10 ( 707.791 ms 782.617 ms 619.338 ms
      11 ( 743.572 ms 759.283 ms 732.355 ms
      12 ( 906.991 ms 770.496 ms 628.550 ms
      13 ( 904.086 ms 658.604 ms 1547.670 ms
      14 ( 670.472 ms 822.322 ms 698.954 ms
      15 ( 620.367 ms 654.039 ms 711.492 ms
      16 ( 848.040 ms 795.551 ms 879.444 ms
      17 ( 1360.829 ms 994.331 ms 758.175 ms
      18 ( 1306.824 ms 1061.993 ms 861.418 ms
      19 ( 1148.671 ms 1076.630 ms 696.751 ms
      20 ( 983.516 ms 1103.163 ms 778.011 ms
  • by Billy_D_Goat ( 589293 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:31PM (#11991037)
    Would this be any relation to Skynet perhaps? Flynet: Skynet's little sister.
  • 0wned! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:32PM (#11991047)

    Well, you should have updated you XP to SP2 before putting you IP address on /. dude!

    Now let us see if we can crank up the volume and start playing back those interesting "documentaries" you've got in:

    c:\Program Files\Accounting\Private\Pervysnsluts_2004_njr_rel .avi
  • Heh (Score:5, Funny)

    by tmasky ( 862064 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:32PM (#11991049)
    I wonder who's insecure laptop is going to join the Mile High club first.
  • by evil-osm ( 203438 )
    ping -f -s1460
  • Back in September... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by beebware ( 149208 )
    When I went to Tokyo from Heathrow, London, UK via Munich, Germany - the Munich to Tokyo flight (all the route was by Luthansa German Airlines), they had wireless internet access by Boeing Connexions. If you look out at airport (Munich had them in September when I flew), you may be able to get a $10 free internet access voucher. Just a quick note: The internet access is WiFi, so you will need an appropriate Wifi card - I took plenty of network cables, but my Wifi card for my laptop was "faulty" so I didn't
    • It's worth also pointing out that at least in "cattle class" there are NO charging points,

      Be more selective about what flight you take. Older planes have none, but most newer ones have 12v adapters in CC every third row or so. Pick your plane and pick your seat and you can have power in the cheap section.
    • by Marton ( 24416 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @03:30PM (#11992191)
      They (Lufthansa) have AC outlets in business class (and of course in first), it accepts a European or a non-grounded US plug. They even have USB outlets for charging a PDA...

      They also have a CAT-5 connector right next to the USB port. It does not seem to be hooked up to anything meaningful though.
  • OH Man, those ping times are really gunna get me fragged!!

    This is a cool service, but farking expensive. I would only use this when on a work flight where I can expense the cost. Thats a months worth of DSL in most places.

    I'd rather stick to playing games on my flights - the only problem with that is that I usually end up bringin 5 extra batteries for my D600, which adds up to a few pounds. and games like HL2 on this machine mean I have to change the battery much more often.

  • Wow! (Score:3, Funny)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:40PM (#11991086) Homepage Journal
    Step 11 on the traceroute was really interesting.

    11 581538 ms 582667 ms 6659876 ms
  • Latency? (Score:3, Funny)

    by powerline22 ( 515356 ) * <> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:41PM (#11991091) Homepage
    Funny, someone from Apple was a bit bored during one flight, so they fired up iChat AV and had a videoconference at 30,000 feet, and it was fine.
  • sharing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cbc1920 ( 730236 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:44PM (#11991113)
    What's to stop someone from purchasing the access and then sharing it with everyone on the plane through an ad-hoc wireless bridge? (except for those pesky regulations)
  • by IronChefMorimoto ( 691038 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:50PM (#11991146)
    Playing HALO PC multiplayer from 30K feet kind of gives me immunity from "no0b" accusations, seeing as I'm a l337 airborne hax0r with this service. Sadly, I will get my ass kicked with those pings, but, by god, I'll be a pioneer of the Mile High Gaming Club.


    P.S. - Wait a minute. I suck at HALO PC multiplayer on the ground.
    • "Playing HALO PC multiplayer from 30K feet kind of gives me immunity"

      Eventually, Microsoft will have its own airline with X-boxes built into every seat. Watch out for the blue turbulence of death, however.

  • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:53PM (#11991161)
    C:\Documents and Settings\Marton>tracert

    Man, I thought he was leet until I saw that. What a shame.

    That said, I really don't think this is cost-justified for most people. $30 for the flight to slowly read e-mail and such, things that you can just as easily (and more quickly) do on the ground before or after the flight. There certainly exist situations in which this is worth the money, but the cool factor alone doesn't cover it, at least not for me.
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @12:55PM (#11991179)
    1. Pay $30 for email in airplane
    2. Login and check email
    3. Receive Nigerian offer to give you $15,000
    4. Profit!
  • So what's an extra $30 dollars? Since I'm training to be a pilot, I'm hoping that, by the time I have enough hours to captain longhauls, they have this in the cockpit :)
  • I tried this flying from Frankfurt to Vancouver last year. It was great for the first couple of hours, but the connection stopped working somewhere around iceland.

    I don't know if it was a technical problem or a coverage issue with the latitude, but I was very very disappointed. $30 for 10 hours is expensive. $30 for 2 hours is insane.
    • Re:coverage (Score:3, Informative)

      by Marton ( 24416 )
      You should try to get a refund for your $30 then. :)

      For what it's worth, they were *supposed* to have Internet flying in to New York from Frankfurt as well. WiFi worked, and I got the pages served from the onboard portal, but clicking the purchase link (that takes you to a server on the ground) resulted in "Page cannot be displayed" errors. Or "The operation timed out" errors in Firefox. Of course, the stewardess could not really help me. I told her that even though their onboard WiFi is up, the satellite
  • Just to confirm that masturbating to online porn at 10Km (33,000ft) does *NOT* qualify you for membership of the mile-high club.
  • Well duh, considering how high the satellites are, service can only get better with altitude...
  • Profit! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gudlyf ( 544445 ) <(moc.ketsilaer) (ta) (fyldug)> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @01:41PM (#11991503) Homepage Journal
    1. Pay the $30 fee for your in-flight connection.
    2. Connect your own pocket wireless AP [] to your laptop.
    3. Offer the rest of the plane access to your AP for $10.
    4. Profit! (?)
  • I remember when used to reply to pings - from Antarctica. They had a 500ms latency to NYC. The plane/ground hop should be faster over radio than that distance over fiber, because it's truly straight line, and without optoelectronic routers every few miles. And my early 1990s McMurdo pings were over (largely) copper, which doesn't even move signals at lightspeed. Half a second is long enough for packet radio to travel 150,000Km. Why does this system need so much latency, when it's at most 12,000K
    • by Marton ( 24416 )
      The technology is satellite based. If they're using geostationary satellites (and I don't see why they wouldn't) then you have to deal with a fair bit of latency. Your ping goes to the satellite, then to the ground, then to the satellite, then to the plane. This is 4x an Earth-satellite distance, and geostationary satellites are on an orbit about 35,000 kilometers high.

      35,000 x 4 = 140,000 kilometers. Even the light can only cover 299700 kilometers per second - there you have your .5 second delay.
  • Ummm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @04:36PM (#11992556) Journal
    Think about it...

    Fire....pressurized place to run (20,000 feet up).

    Do you need a smoke THAT bad
  • Thanks (Score:3, Funny)

    by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @05:23PM (#11992844) Homepage
    Thanks for posting the IP address of the plane.

    Al Hackeera
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:22PM (#11993630) Journal
    But is it so wrong that there is a place where you CAN'T get email, CAN'T be contacted, CAN'T be responsible to work?

    As someone who flew to 5 countries in the last 4 weeks, and has spent about 50% of his time traveling since 12/26/04, the only thing that stops it from totally sucking is the fact that I can "power down" while flying and have some quiet time.

    My boss hears it's only $30 more for me to be 'connected' all this time, and guess who's going to be held responsible to make sure those 'urgent' emails get a response next time I'm between Iceland and Minneapolis?

    I don't see this as such a wonderful thing. :(

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye