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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

4 Steps to Troubleshooting Business Aircraft Internet Connections

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Apr 08, 2011 @ 01:01 PM

Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep.

aircraft internet

Knowing the right questions to ask is important when troubleshooting HSD failures.

High-speed data (HSD) failures are difficult to troubleshoot, and require several different skill sets. The most important skill needed is knowing which questions will yield the best results. The price for poor troubleshooting is very high, and my number one recommendation is to get advanced troubleshooting experts involved early.

Here are four steps to troubleshoot why passengers can’t connect to the internet onboard an aircraft. I will also explore each topic in further detail in future posts.

1. Check the router.

Plug a laptop into a ‘hardwired’ Ethernet port in the cabin to verify the router is powered and other basic functions are operable (an internet connection is not necessary). If the Ethernet ports are functioning, but the Wi-Fi is dead, then there is a problem with the router.

2. Verify there wasn’t a connection loss.

There are times and places where connectivity will be lost due to congestion. This is more common in afternoons and airspaces where lots of users are logged in, like New York City or Chicago. It is also common to momentarily lose connectivity when switching between satellite signals during transcontinental flights. Your service provider should be able to tell you if a connection failure was caused by congestion or while switching satellites.

3. Send fault logs to the service provider and equipment manufacturer.

Most HSD terminals have fault logs that can be downloaded to assist in troubleshooting. Send these logs to your service provider and equipment manufacturer technical reps.

I always recommend that operators contact their field service and equipment manufacturer technical representatives, and get them involved early. If you don’t know who your representatives are, ask the facility that installed the equipment. 

4. Hire a professional for ancillary system troubleshooting.

For ancillary system issues, such as Sat AFIS/ACARS, save your time and hire a professional to assist you. In many cases the satcom and datalink service providers are companies with competing services, and unfortunately a fair amount of accusation can take place between the two. To reduce confusion and root out the error relatively quickly, get both parties on a conference call.

For help troubleshooting an internet connection issue in your aircraft, contact the Duncan Avionics installation and line maintenance location nearest you.

Adrian Chene is an Avionics Tech Rep for Duncan Aviation. He provides troubleshooting and technical advice on avionics installation services, and specializes in custom, integrated HSD solutions. He began working in aviation in 1996.

Tags: Troubleshooting, Wi-Fi, Aircraft Communications, In-Flight Internet

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