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Re: How do I log on while in flight?

  • From: Owen DeLong
  • Date: Thu Jun 27 17:26:19 2002

The problem isn't logging, billing, or crashing the network.  The
problem is
that the Cells are designed to have a certain area of coverage based on
assumption that the remote station is a ground-based station.  When you
a station, that station becomes capable of transmitting it's signal
further, as the horizon expands and obstructions are reduced.

Thus, instead of bringing up a small number of cells from the ground
that are
expecting a certain amount of co-channel interferrence from each other
and from
stations that are between them, you can occupy the channel on a large
of cells that are not expecting a single phone to hit all of them.

Bottom line, it's kind of like spewing a flood ping into the net over a
You aren't going to crash the network, but you're sure using a lot more
than expected, and you're wasting bandwidth that could be used by

Hope that clarifies it.


P.S.  It's against FCC, not FAA regulations, although there are also FAA
that prohibit the use of a transmitting or receiving device on a part
121 air carrier
unless the pilot gives informed consent.  Further, the FCC regulation
prohibits the
use of a cell phone while the aircraft's wheels are not in contact with
the ground.

Jacob M Wilkens wrote:
> I'm fairly certain the cell networks won't crash - as demonstrated in some
> calls made last fall. It's more like they won't be able to bill for the time
> or keep track of your calls.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of
> Scott Weeks
> Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 5:01 PM
> To: Leigh Anne Chisholm
> Cc:
> Subject: RE: How do I log on while in flight?
> I was mainly thinking of satellite systems, but failed to remember the
> latency problems associated with them so the videoconferencing example
> wouldn't work. (not enough coffee today... :)  So for latency tolerent
> apps does satellite work well when traveling at air speeds?  If the
> footprint doesn't cover the entire area traveled how well does hand off
> from one 'cell' to another work?  What do the big boys like the president
> and corporate execs use?
> Also, that the cellular network could crash if cell phones are used at
> altitude seems like a big security hole to me.
> scott
> On Thu, 27 Jun 2002, Leigh Anne Chisholm wrote:
> : The FCC prohibits communication using a cellular telephone while in an
> : aircraft in US airspace.  In Canada, I don't believe there is such a
> : regulation.
> :
> : >From doing research on this topic earlier this year, I came across news
> : articles that say that several aircraft manufacturers have tested the use
> of
> : cellular telephones on aircraft systems and found no effects whatsoever.
> So
> : why the FCC ruling?
> :
> : Likely it's because of the design of the cellular network - which from
> what I
> : understand, is far more dense in the US than it is in Canada (which might
> be
> : why the CRTC doesn't have such a prohibition).  The problem is what
> happens
> : when a cellular device is based above the cellular system antennae - there
> is
> : an ability to connect to multiple systems simultaneously, and that's
> something
> : the system wasn't designed to see happen.  Additionally, there's the
> hand-off
> : factor, of the negotiation process of what happens when you leave the
> range of
> : one cellular tower and enter the range of another.  In an aircraft, that
> : happens at a rate greater than would be if the cellular phone were used in
> a
> : car - so again, there's a problem there.  The Airphone system found on
> : commercial aircraft was designed to overcome these limitations - which is
> why
> : they CAN be used onboard commercial aircraft systems.
> :
> : So, besides it being illegal, you run the risk of taking down your service
> : provider's cellular network - and from what I've heard, this doesn't make
> them
> : very happy.
> :
> : In summary - don't do it.
> :
> :
> :   -- Leigh Anne Chisholm
> :      Network Engineer
> :      Applied Design Networks
> :
> :
> : > -----Original Message-----
> : > From: []On Behalf Of
> : > Scott Weeks
> : > Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 2:11 PM
> : > To:
> : > Subject: How do I log on while in flight?
> : >
> : > I was wondering if any of y'all could give me pointers to services I
> could
> : > use to log into a network during flight on a private airplane. For
> example
> : > a person is in flight cross-country and needs to do a videoconference,
> : > send email from his network to interested parties, or any of the normal
> : > things we do from the ground.  Is this possible or would it interfere
> with
> : > the plane's other systems?
> : >
> : > scott
> :
> :

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