FRANKFURT, Germany, January 15, 2003 - Passenger trials on the airline industry's first onboard broadband network on a commercial plane begin today with a Boeing 747-400 flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Washington, DC. Operated by Deutsche Lufthansa AG, this pioneering Lufthansa flight offers air travellers high-speed Internet access from the comfort of their 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 3 Mbps downstream and 128 Kbps 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.
I am convinced that the Broadband Internet Access will be appreciated by our passengers, as they can use their time on board for information, fun and work. "
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 IOSR 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 from existing ground-based IP networks and applications to in-flight IP networks.
"Today's business traveler wants to remain connected to their offices and their customers whilst they are on the move," said Andreas Dohmen, Vice President and General Manager Cisco Systems Germany. "With Lufthansa, we are working on solutions making Mobile Internet Access as simple as mobile telephony. "