Scandinavian Airline System (SAS) has become the first airline in the world to test wireless e-mail and Internet for passengers onboard an aircraft. SAS has signed an agreement with
Telia HomeRun, a mobile service provider, and
to test Tenzing’s communications system for wireless Internet access onboard aircraft.
Testing will begin this year and means that SAS passengers will gain access to e-mail and Internet via portable Macs or Wintel systems. SAS is also working to find a solution so that passengers can gain access to their own company’s e-mail system behind a firewall, according to Jan Olson, manager of SAS’s Product and Service Development.
Tenzing Communications delivers worldwide connectivity in the air and on the ground. It has developed a high-speed global network.
During the test, passengers will be able to send and receive e-mail and have access to the Internet via an Internet server onboard the aircraft. A LAN (Local Area Network) based on IEEE 802.11b technology, the first standard developed for wireless networks, will be installed in the cabin. Passengers will gain access to the SAS Web site and other travel-related Internet portals. The onboard server is linked to a ground station when the aircraft is airborne and the content is transmitted and updated at regular intervals.
“The new wireless technology creates possibilities for our passengers to gain access to e-mail and Internet onboard and on the ground,” Olson said. “Our customers already have access to wireless communications in our SAS lounges through Telia HomeRun. During 2001, all SAS lounges will be equipped with this wireless network. In future, we will also offer innovative services to make the customer’s travel easier. Telia and Tenzing play key roles in this effort.”
Telia Mobile has installed networks for wireless services at airports and other public areas to provide travelers the possibility of being online throughout their trip, he added. A roaming agreement provides Tenzing Global subscribers and Telia Mobile HomeRun allows access to each other’s wireless network.
What’s more, Tenzing also plans on being able to implement broadband connections onboard aircraft using advanced satellite technology in the future, Olson said.