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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Duncan Aviation Avionics Catalog

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Apr 09, 2014 @ 01:02 PM

Contributed by Adrian Chene , avionics installation tech rep

For many aircraft owners, choosing which aircraft systems require upgrade can be a real challenge. None of the current publications are written with the aircraft owner in mind. Duncan Aviation has changed that. We have designed the Duncan Aviation Avionics Catalog to provide a common sense non-aviation explanation of what a modification actually does for you the owner.

DOM’s should also feel free to use this information when explaining the benefits of recommended upgrades to owners."

To discuss avionics installation solutions specific to your aircraft, contact a Duncan Aviation Avionics Installation Sales Rep.

Aircell gogo Biz

 

Aircell ATG5000

Domestic Inflight Internet

Getting office speed when en route to Aspen.

The Aircell GoGo internet is not your father’s dial-up system. It is fast. Airline passengers share one Aircell internet connection. You can have your very own. How fast, you ask? 1-3 Mbps fast.

With GoGo, you get more than just the Internet. Aircell has engaged the major cellular players, providing an App that allows you to send and receive texts and phone calls to your personal phone while in flight. There is an additional initial and monthly charge for this service.

What is in the Aircell system? Two electronics boxes and two belly-mounted antennas that when installed spell staying in charge in flight. The Aircell system has an STC and can be installed during most scheduled inspections without delaying your aircraft’s return.

 AVIATOR 700 black small (blog)

International Inflight Internet

For the plugged-in business traveler, the notion of slipping off the grid during long transoceanic flights is not a viable option. They feel unproductive if not allowed to extend their office skyward and keep working. Cobham developed the most cost- effective international internet system for this application.

The Cobham Aviator 700 internet connection runs at approximately 432Kbps during the long legs that challenge your resistance to boredom. When paired with the right router, internet connection speeds can be even faster.

In addition to providing reliable internet connections, it operates as a phone system allowing your aircrew to send and receive data messages to Air Traffic Control and your maintenance teams. The Aviator 700D may also provide the satellite link for a FANS 1/A aircraft.

If the antenna system can be reused, the installation can be complied with during other scheduled work with no impact to schedule. Aircraft requiring a new antenna will require more time to install the system. Either way, call us. We’ll answer all of your questions.

 Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins Venue

Guest Entertainment

Whether you want to review a presentation with your sales team on a bigger screen or are just trying to get the kids to fall asleep en route to Paris, entertainment systems remain as relevant in the air as they are on the ground. A cabin system that represents an excellent mix of value versus cost is called Venue from Rockwell Collins.

State-of-the-art components provide fully digital vibrant 1080p video and crystal clear heart pounding sound at a price point similar to the low def equipment available just a few years ago.

Your HD iTunes content, and ripped media at home are now available in flight via Rockwell Collin’s Skybox. Skybox stores content locally, providing a familiar environment, friendly to board members and family alike.

Control of your environment has never been so easy with apps that turn your IOS device into a universal cabin remote.

 Aircell

Axxess

International Phone

From Antarctica to Chicago you have a need to talk to people. You don’t say goodnight to a child or negotiate a delicate point of a contract via email? When you need to be clear, even in remote regions of the world, Aircell’s Axxess system is a dual-line phone that works anywhere your aircraft is.

Axxess has noise-canceling handsets with two lines of communication. It is a relatively low cost system to install with a low cost per minute to use. If you decide to install it along with Aircell’s GoGo domestic internet service, you will save over $10,000.

Aircell has established itself as the largest manufacturer of Iridium systems in the business jet world and maintains its position as an industry leader in domestic internet services.

 Satcom Direct

Satcom Direct Router

Geek Chic: Routers Matter 

I will rattle off the laundry list of bad to the bone IT gizmos that have been included in this unit, because I know part of being geek chic is embracing the lingo, but listen closely; GET THIS ROUTER. I should also mention that the Satcom Direct’s Router costs less than any of its closest competitors with an increased level of versatility and added features.

It streams movies securely to mobile devices from onboard media servers super-fast. The Satcom Direct router automatically establishes a secure link between the aircraft and your home or corporate network when connected outside the U.S.

This secure link makes your international internet faster due to hardware level accelerators that compress and encrypt traffic so that your computer doesn’t have to.

It also has cellular failover, so you aren’t spending big bucks while parked on the tarmac. Pesky hackers are fended off with all the standard Wi-Fi security options.

 Rockwell Collins

ADS-B: Meeting The Mandate 

A mandate is something a regulatory authority like the FAA will require to continue to operate your aircraft without limitations. ADS-B is one such mandate that is required by 2018 for Europe (EASA), 2020 in the U.S. (FAA), and right now in the pacific nations.

ADS-B increases the amount of information available to Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) about your aircraft. This permits better traffic management and safety for both ATC and you.

 Universal Avionics LP LPV monitor

FANS 1/A: Why is it necessary? 

Imagine a school of fish swimming in the ocean’s current. More and more fish enter the current as time goes on until there are so many that not all of them are able to fit in the current. That is essentially what has occurred over the Atlantic Ocean for aircraft.

The air current for aircraft is called the North Atlantic Track (NAT). It is a shifting highway in the sky that changes depending on wind direction. A few years ago controllers began to notice this current becoming more and more crowded.

FANS 1/A is a new communications method that theoretically allows controllers to pack more aircraft in this highway in the sky. It equates to fuel savings and shorter flight time. It is now being mandated for trans-Atlantic NAT aircraft.

 Thumb Drive

Crew Gizmos: Retire The Floppy 

For the last 15 years, the 3.5-inch floppy disk has been the mainstay of your crew’s interface to the computers on board your aircraft. It is time to upgrade to a thumb drive. While not a quantum leap of technology, it loads faster and more reliably. Both Honeywell and Rockwell Collins have released their new thumb drive data loaders that are rugged and consistently perform.

Also, an upgrade to your floppy drive in many cases is required prior to doing other upgrades to your aircraft.

 WAAS / LPV

WAAS/LPV

Have a better chance of landing when and where you want. 

WAAS/LPV sounds more like a syndrome than a solution for problematic landing procedures. It is a series of system and software upgrades that allow your aircraft to perform better during an approach to an airport.

 If your aircraft is equipped with WAAS/LPV you will be able to land at airports experiencing poor weather where you would have normally been diverted. This means more on-time landings.

Also, with more and more aircraft being equipped with WAAS/LPV every day, aircraft not equipped with WAAS/LPV may have a lower resale value when it comes time to sell.

 Global Batch 3+

Bunches of Mods: Batch 3+

With the current pace of Batch 3+ completion, the most important thing to know about Batch 3+ is that it is a pay me now or pay me later proposition. Aircraft not equipped will suffer dearly at time of sale and face operational limitations. With that being said, it is recommended to invest now in Batch 3+, while competition amongst aircraft shops is most likely to get you the best deal.

Batch 3+ has three parts. Two are optional, one is mandatory before completing the others.

Batch 3+ Part 1 (mandatory) is a general upgrade of the operational software of the avionics system. In addition to fixing some known problems, it adds future provisions to keep the aircraft viable through additional upgrades.

Batch 3+ Part 2 (optional) is related to FANS 1/A. This modification allows your aircrews to keep operating in oceanic highways in the sky with better communications to air traffic control. This is due to new flying rules

Batch 3+ Part 3 (optional) is related to WAAS-LPV. This modification allows the aircrews to fly into airports that are experiencing poor weather conditions with more success.

 Falcon EASy II

 Falcon EASy II

Must Have Mods 

The Easy II upgrade is not all about fancy gadgets. It is about bringing your aircraft into a new digital flight environment. Air traffic management agencies around the world are changing the rules of flight in air space over the oceans, Europe and even here in the U.S. What follows is a baseline for EASY II modifications that will maintain your aircraft’s current operational capabilities.

The EASy II Baseline upgrade provides software fixes some issues and provides minor operational improvements. It also serves as a prerequisite for all other modifications.

CPDLC This is a European mandate related to air traffic control operations in the European Union (EU).

FANS 1/A - A mandate that improves communications from air traffic control operations to your aircrews during trans-oceanic flights.  

ADS-B - A U.S. (2020) and EU (2018) mandate that increases the aircraft information available to air traffic controllers.

 Falcon EASy II

Falcon EASy II

Safer Nice-to-Have Options    

Now let’s discuss options that can significantly increase the level of safety aboard your aircraft.

It is important to note that you and your teams are not alone in this process, Duncan Aviation’s sales teams are here to help explain the advantages and costs associated with modifications in a refreshingly non-technical manner.

  • WAAS/LPV provides improved guidance when flying in to airports experiencing bad weather.
  • Paperless Charts make maintaining aircraft databases easier and may remove the requirement for paper charts on board (pending final approval by local aviation inspector).
  • XM Weather improves crew situational awareness regarding inclement weather.
  • Synthetic Vision produces a video game like display of the surrounding terrain to improve the aircrew’s situational awareness.
  • Automatic Descent Mode will causes aircraft to fly down to breathable altitude if a loss of cabin pressure occurs

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: WAAS, Wi-Fi, Network Security, In-Flight Internet, ADS-B, FANS

3 Options To Improve Connectivity Aboard Your Business Aircraft

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Dec 06, 2011 @ 03:29 PM

Contributed by Adrian Chene , Avionics Installation Tech Rep.

GIV laptop video interface illustration

This photo illustration demonstrates how a laptop can interface with cabin entertainment systems to improve team collaboration.

High Speed Data technology for the aviation industry has reached a level where it now supports most office activities aboard an aircraft allowing a team to continue to collaborate, share and analyze data, ideas and workload. 

The following are three methods to increase employee connection and productivity while in flight.

Laptop Video Interface

When installing a new cabin video system, always request a laptop video interface. With this, business travelers are able to use their laptops to share presentations and documents on cabin monitors. Such a simple measure allows a team to continue collaboration and work on complex projects. It also permits sales teams to practice the "big pitch" on the way to the client.

Carry-on Encrypted Network Drive

A carry-on encrypted network drive is simply an external hard drive that uses a separate power supply and an Ethernet connection. These are easily encrypted to permit access to only those who require access. A single network drive would allow multiple people access to different portions of a larger project and then return those worked pieces prior to landing. Teammates will also have access to each other's working documents for brainstorming.

Data Encryption

An aviation-grade router that supports encrypted communication provides a secure link between your aircraft's router and the home network. This secure link allows travelers to receive sesitive data from the homeoffice while traveling. EMS, Lufthansa Technik and True North's Chorus system have routers that support data encryption and acceleration options. For many, the answer to which router is needed is going to depend on the availability of a STC for Wi-Fi.

The world is moving fast at faster speeds. Critical work and team collaboration isn't reserved for just the office on the ground. It has become critical for flight departments to create the perfect office in the sky.

Duncan Aviation answers common issues and questions about Wi-Fi installations for business aircraft in a new field guide entitled "Making Sense of Wi-Fi: An Operator's Guide to Aircraft Internet Options." The guide explores the various topics operators face when selecting Wi-Fi for business aircraft, and includes a comparison of the major service providers and main equipment options for business aircraft. To download a copy, please visit www.DuncanAviation.aero/fieldguides.

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: Avionics Installation, Wi-Fi, In-Flight Internet, Aircraft Communications

How to Choose a Wi-Fi Solution for Business Aircraft

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 @ 03:34 PM

Contributed by Steve Elofson, Avionics Installations Sales Rep.

Inflight internet coverage sm

Identifying where an aircraft operates is a critical step to selecting a Wi-Fi solution. Please check with each provider for the latest coverage information.

Understanding the features, capabilities, and service levels that come with each Wi-Fi and inflight internet system can get confusing. There are several aspects that need careful consideration, namely which inflight internet system best fits the passenger needs.

Evaluate passenger needs.

An aircraft’s high-speed data (HSD) system is what provides the inflight internet connection for Wi-Fi in a business aircraft. Before selecting a system, a thorough understanding of passenger needs is essential. Do passengers want wired or Wi-Fi access? What devices will they use? Where will they fly? Will they need access to e-mail attachments? Will they need high-speed internet? Will they need to connect to a VPN?

Evaluate what’s currently installed on the aircraft.

When customers request in-flight internet options, one of the first questions I ask is “Do you have a Satcom system?” Many times, customers already have a voice or data system that can be upgraded to support HSD and Wi-Fi connectivity. Examples of aviation-grade equipment include: Aircell’s Cabin Telecommunications Router (CTR), which can be added to an existing Aircell Gogo Biz™ Inflight Internet system; EMS Aviation’s CNX-200, and Honeywell’s CG-710. Other HSD systems like Thrane & Thrane and True North have a built-in Wi-Fi router.

Understand the usage costs.

Some HSD providers offer unlimited usage, others charge by the megabyte. It’s important to clearly understand each HSD plan so you aren’t surprised by the service costs after the aircraft leaves the hangar. For example, Gogo Biz offers an unlimited usage plan for a monthly fee. Systems available through SatCom Direct are typically billed by the amount of data used.

Determine which system offers the speed and coverage passengers need.

Different inflight internet service providers offer a variety of internet speeds and are available in different geographic regions around the world. Gogo Biz currently offers a very fast high-speed internet connection via a ground-based network in the continental U.S. SatCom Direct provides service for a variety of different satellite-based systems with different connection speeds, such as Inmarsat and Iridium, which provide near-global coverage.

Sometimes more than one HSD solution can be installed in an aircraft to increase internet accessibility. A fast, domestic system can be installed alongside an international-capable system. Depending on the systems and router used, the transition from one service to the next can be almost seamless when crossing into areas with different coverage.

No matter what system you choose, I highly recommend using an authorized service center to install HSD and Wi-Fi systems. An authorized service center with equipment dealership agreements will have a better understanding of the aircraft, and will have greater support from the equipment manufacturer.

Duncan Aviation has installed more than 100 HSD systems over the last three years, most of which have included Wi-Fi routers. We hold several airframe service center authorizations, and have many Wi-Fi STCs covering many makes and models. Installations can be accomplished at either of Duncan Aviation’s full-service facilities in Battle Creek, Mich. or Lincoln, Neb.; or at any of Duncan Aviation’s network of avionics shops located in more than 20 cities across the United States.

Read the expanded article in the summer edition of the Duncan Debrief magazine, available online next month.

Steve Elofson serves as an Avionics Installations Sales Rep. at Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln, Neb. facility, specializing in Challenger aircraft. He began working in aviation in 1989.

Tags: Avionics Installation, Wi-Fi, In-Flight Internet

2 Steps to Troubleshooting Sat AFIS, ACARS Aboard Business Aircraft

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Jun 02, 2011 @ 12:52 PM

Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep.

Internet Connectivity Explained

It's money well spent to hire a professional for troubleshooting advanced inflight high speed data system failures.

When a high-speed data (HSD) failure is in an ancillary system, such as Sat AFIS or ACARS, I genuinely recommend hiring a professional to assist you. It will be money well spent. However, if you are determined to proceed on your own, do two things:

  1. Determine if the satellite terminal is passing the AFIS traffic to the ground network. Your service provider should be able to assist with this.
  2. Ensure that your satcom service provider routed your request to the proper location at the datalink provider’s end.

Unfortunately, there is often a fair amount of blame that occurs between satcom and datalink service providers. In many cases they are companies with competing services. To reduce confusion and root out the error relatively quickly, get both parties on a conference call. In most cases, AFIS / ACARS problems are often resolved at the datalink provider’s end.

These systems are very complex. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting advanced troubleshooters involved early.

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: In-Flight Internet, Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Aircraft High Speed Data Terminal Failures

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, May 24, 2011 @ 02:47 PM

Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep.

ball of data wire

High Speed Data troubleshooting requires advanced techniques. Get your OEM tech reps involved early.

Because HSD troubleshooting requires advanced technical expertise, I recommend you involve your field service and equipment manufacturer technical representatives early in the troubleshooting process and remain in contact with them.

All Inmarsat and Aircell HSD terminals have fault logs that can be downloaded to assist in troubleshooting. Download these logs and provide them to your service provider and equipment manufacturer technical reps. If available, use the time at the end of the installation process to ensure that your personnel have a good understanding of fault log retrieval and location of system documentation and components.

At Duncan Aviation, we often provide configuration excel files and installation manuals for new equipment installations. These describe set-up and configuration information to assist customers and maintenance departments with future troubleshooting if required.

Who are your field service representatives? Your Aircell service representative will be your equipment manufacturer. For Inmarsat equipment, you should remain in contact with both the service provider tech rep and equipment manufacturer field service rep. If you do not have manufacture contact information, consult the facility that installed the equipment.

Duncan Aviation certifies and installs inflight internet and Wi-Fi solutions for business aircraft. 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: Avionics Installation, In-Flight Internet

2 Reasons Why Aircraft Internet Connections Fail

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, May 05, 2011 @ 05:00 PM

Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep.

Broken HSD Internet Link

Your inflight internet service provider should be able to determine why a connection failure occurred.

With any high-speed data (HSD) connection, there are times and places where connectivity will be lost, particularly in geographic areas with high internet usage or when transitioning between satellite signals.

Congestion occurs when an internet service provider is unable to handle the number of users on their network and begins to throttle back available bandwidth and/or drop users. This is more common during the afternoon and in airspace with a high number of internet users logged in, like New York City or Chicago.

Inflight internet services that offer moderate- to low-speed satellite-based connections, like Inmarsat, tend to experience more issues with network congestion. Ground-based high-speed connections, like Aircell, have more bandwidth at their disposal, which greatly reduces the effects of congestion. Aircell also monitors network use more closely to ensure more evenly distributed bandwidth.

It is also common to momentarily lose connectivity when switching between satellite signals during transcontinental flights.

Your service provider should be able to determine if a connection failure occurred due to congestion or when switching between satellite signals. Usage Logs can also provide clues to the nature of the service interruption. Both Aircell and Inmarsat are able to provide usage logs upon request. If troubleshooting the link between the CNX and your home network, CNX-200s will allow usage log downloads for evaluation by EMS or your service 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.

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

How to Isolate an Aircraft Internet Connection or Wi-Fi Failure

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Apr 19, 2011 @ 09:49 AM

Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep.

computer wifi troubleshooting

A failed router RF module and/or configuration module  is a very common failure that will prevent passengers from connecting to the internet.

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.

Tags: Wi-Fi, In-Flight Internet

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

2 Encryption Methods to Secure Business Aircraft Communications

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 @ 09:00 AM


Satcom Security Issues in Business Aviation: Part 1

Contributed by Adrian Chene, Avionics Tech Rep

network security

The very networks used to communicate satcom system transmissions can be used to compromise network security aboard business aircraft.

To say that large corporate networks are under daily attack by hackers and cyber-spies is a gross understatement. What is interesting about these attacks is that they rarely ever start at some screen that says "password." They involve custom software applications that function as any predator does: by systematically exploiting weaknesses.

Network Security Risks

Bizjet operators whose passengers deal with sensitive information in foreign nations face real threats from several angles. The very networks used to communicate satcom system transmissions can be a serious point of compromise.

Russia, China and Australia currently require that all Inmarsat terminals that log on inside their border have traffic forcefully rerouted to centralized traffic management points (government servers). This can be troubling for operators seeking to do business abroad. 

Although it is impossible to stop the interception of your communications, you must take steps to secure it. The most efficient way to address this is to encrypt the information you are sending with a software or hardware intermediary.

Hardware Encryption

An investment in airborne routers, such as the CNX-200 by EMS, can employ VPN Tunneling at the hardware level. In my opinion, this is the more productive and preferred method because it creates a secure data pipe between your network and your aircraft without a decrease in data transmission rates. Maintaining average speeds of 700-800 Kbs using a sister gateway unit on the company’s network. The tunneling and encryption takes place behind the scenes and does not require any action by your passengers.

Software Encryption

There are a myriad of applications available that will encrypt information without additional hardware; making this a very inexpensive option. Cisco’s VPN Client is one such software-driven solution. While inexpensive, software-based solutions an adverse effect on the maximum speed of your Internet connection, cutting it in half to about a 400 Kbs pipe.

A hacker’s network server monitoring traffic would be hard pressed to intercept your transmissions in any type of useable form from either of these two options. 

In part 2 of Satcom Security Issues in Business Aviation, I will discuss physical security measures you can adopt to stymie foreign operatives.

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: Avionics Installation, Wi-Fi, Network Security, In-Flight Internet, Aircraft Communications

Wi-Fi in the Sky: What's Involved with an Inflight Internet Install?

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Sep 08, 2010 @ 02:15 PM

Contributed by Gary Harpster, Avionics Installations Sales Rep

Aviation Week Clearing WiFi To Fly

"Wi-Fi in the sky" is the latest aviation industry milestone for improving passenger productivity. Image source: Aviation Week.

The phrase “office in the sky” dates back to when passengers were first able to pick up a phone while in the air and make a call to anywhere in the world. Now for the first time ever, another major milestone: "wi-fi in the sky," or the ability to use high speed internet while airborne.

So how is inflight internet accomplished and what does it take to install? I was interviewed for a recent Aviation Week blog post "Clearing WiFi To Fly," in which Paul Seidenman and David J. Spanovich explain that lots of testing is involved.

"The current approval route for onboard WiFi equipment on U.S. registered aircraft is through an “issue paper,”... which spells out the testing procedure that the installer must follow to assure that the WiFi equipment—the router, transceivers, associated wiring and external antenna—will perform its intended function and shield the aircraft’s electronics from any interference from a portable electronic device.

"According to the FAA, the aircraft’s operating certificate holder is the only one who can [qualify the aircraft as transmitting portable electronic device-tolerant], based on the testing done by a maintenance provider."

In the post, I explain that a multi-step testing process is necessary and rigorous. Technicians place "rogue transmitters" at each seat in the aircraft to simulate passenger wireless device connectivity with the inflight Wi-Fi suite.

The test is specific to each aircraft make, model and avionics configuration. Technicians carefully document the procedure and any abnormalities with the aircraft's electronics, which becomes part of the STC application. 

"...[A]n STC for WiFi... enters a multi-step approval process, which begins at field level and concludes at the FAA’s Transport Directorate Office in Seattle. For a number of shops, especially those without organization designation authority [ODA], that could mean getting into a sequencing situation and as much as a 90-day waiting period, depending on field office work load."

For more details on the testing and development of inflight internet STCs, please read Aviation Week's "Clearing WiFi To Fly" blog post.

I also recommend reading Duncan Aviation's press releases on the completion of the first STC for Aircell's Wi-Fi system in a Challenger 300, and our Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) approval.

Tags: Avionics Installation, Wi-Fi, In-Flight Internet, Aircraft Communications

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