Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep.
It is a common mistake for crews to report a failed Wi-Fi router (wireless cabin network) as a failed high-speed data (HSD) internet connection instead. To isolate an internet connection problem, first check the router functionality.
Plug a laptop into the ‘hardwired’ Ethernet ports located in the cabin to verify the router is powered and other basic functions are operable. You do not need an internet connection.
If the Ethernet ports are functioning but the Wi-Fi is dead, then the router RF module and/or configuration module has failed. This is a very common failure, and in certain systems it's the number one reason passengers are unable to connect to the internet.
If the aircraft has an Inmarsat only install, the cabin router is solely responsible for the cabin network.
If the aircraft has an Aircell installation, the Aircell CTR and/or Aircell ATG are possible causes of the network failure. These can be tested by going to the unit’s information page located on the system LAN.
If the Ethernet ports and router are functioning correctly, but you still don’t know why your passengers were unable to connect to the internet, ask your HSD provider.
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.