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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Six Considerations When Selecting a Aircraft Wi-Fi Installer

Posted by Adrian Chene on Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 08:00 AM


8866286-business-travel-on-a-laptop.jpgIf you want to see an angry passenger, tell him or her you have Wi-Fi and then have it not work. Engines and altimetry do not matter; the only thing that really matters is the lack of internet service, because it is so immediately in front of the client. For that reason alone, I encourage you to carefully consider who will be performing your aircraft Wi-Fi installation. Following are six things to consider when selecting that installer. 

1.  The three E’s of Internet.  Experience. Experience.  Experience. 

Pick a company that knows these systems inside and out. Ask how many internet systems the company has installed. If the number is low, go somewhere else. With Duncan Aviation, I have been involved in hundreds of internet system installations, and I am still learning things. You don’t want training day for your installer to occur on your aircraft. 

I recently troubleshot an aircraft that was experiencing internet problems, only to find that there was damage to transmission lines that required an entire coax harness to be replaced from the tail of the aircraft to the forward fuselage. Did this operator save anything by going to a cheaper installation shop?  No. In fact, it will now cost them an additional one week of ground time and thousands dollars to repair the system. The lowest bidder in some cases is the lowest bidder for a reason. 

2.  Look at the aviation certification of the Wi-Fi equipment.

Carefully examine the proposal of the installing company and question the technical data by which the Wi-Fi connection is being installed. Aviation-grade Wi-Fi equipment has been tested and found to operate in the electrically noisy environment of an aircraft without interfering with onboard systems. There may be an STC applied that permits the Wi-Fi to be activated. Another method of Wi-Fi certification is to complete interference testing as part of applying a 337 or Major Alteration to the aircraft. 

3.  Understand the equipment the installer is proposing.

When you receive proposals from several competing MROs, look at the details and determine if they are all installing the same equipment in the same way. If they are not, ask them to explain the differences and the reasons for those differences. Often, an installation company will have one vision of how a system should go in when a better solution might be more cost-effective long-term. For example, if someone is proposing installing a newer router and the competing proposal is installing a different, older router, then those proposals are not equal in functionally and will cost you a lot of money long term. Use the knowledge of experts in the industry to arrive at an equipment configuration that is going to meet your needs. 

4.  Choose a company that is a dealer for both the Wi-Fi and the HSD equipment.

Often, the manufacturer of the router is different from the manufacturer of the actual internet system. This can lead to some finger-pointing when troubleshooting needs to happen. Some avionics installers, like Duncan Aviation, have dealership agreements with a large number of equipment manufacturers, and spend time tending those relationships. As a byproduct, we receive timely support from the manufacturer when it is needed. 

5.  Make sure the company installing the equipment has the expertise to accommodate the highest level of complexity required.

tower-signal.jpgIt is essential that you are able to provide your passengers with the best system possible. Ask about the security measures the avionics installer is familiar with and has installed in the past. Understand how the installation will work for different services, such as phone and datalink services. Your company’s computer specialists may have to work with the avionics installer to ensure everything is set up properly. If the installer appears unfamiliar with troubleshooting or satcom registration procedures, do not use them. I have assisted many clients with troubleshooting and redoing internet installations that were not completed properly. 

6.  What methods are used to test the Wi-Fi installation?

After a Wi-Fi system is installed, it should be tested in the same way that your customers will use it. Standard connectivity and speed tests will tell you if the equipment is performing basic functions. From there, it will be up to you and your IT department to further define the details of system configuration. Your installer should be willing to be a partner in this effort and you should have this conversation before you choose the installer. 

If smart phone connectivity is the most important to you, then make sure you plan for testing using the same model, set up the same way by your IT department. If your company has VPN client software, make sure to take a company laptop. The installer should support any testing you may seek, the same as they would any other service. There may be VPN tweaks that are required due to the high latency of satcom internet connections. This fine-tuning for corporate clients can sometimes make a big difference. 

In Conclusion

  1. Know the experience level of your installer.  
  2. Know how they are getting it on the aircraft from a certification point of view. 
  3. Know what equipment they are installing.
  4. Know they are a dealer for both the Wi-Fi system and the HSD system.   
  5. Know that the installer is capable of resolving issues between the internet equipment provider and the router manufacturer should one appear. 
  6. Know that the equipment was tested in a manner consistent with how it will be used. 

If any of these are unclear, ask questions, consult a tech rep, and know what to expect before you sign. 

Adrian Chene is an avionics technical representative who started his avionics career with the US Air Force. While knowledgeable on all bizjet avionics, Adrian is an industry expert on internet and phone solutions at Duncan Aviation's Battle Creek, Michigan, facility, where he has worked for more than 16 years. 

Tags: Wi-Fi

Inflight Internet Operation Cybercrime: The Barbarians At The Gate

Posted by Adrian Chene on Thu, Sep 03, 2015 @ 10:26 AM

Inflight internet was the ubiquitous gift of the digital age. The engineers and equipment manufacturers in some cases were so focused on connectivity that security often had to take a backseat. The result was weakness in the system’s ability to withstand a cyber-attack.

Whether an aircraft owner is a private individual or a large corporation, it is clear that everyone needs to consider data security in their flight operations. Most airborne IT security concerns fall into three main areas: service provider security, physical security, and your individual software and hardware policies. While this initial discussion is a 50,000 foot view of airborne data security, the following articles in this series will delve deeper into the particulars.

Service providers are the gatekeepers of your traffic in many circumstances, whether you are using Inmarsat Satcom, 3G, or GoGo. They are responsible for making sure that the data sent and received is not intercepted in a manner that is usable by others for nefarious purposes. They are also responsible for defending their data centers against service interruptions by potential man-made or natural disasters. 

Physical IT security is also very important. Many intelligence operations involve theft or tampering with portable electronic devices. These can be laptops or cell phones. These sorts of attacks are more common than most would like to admit and often lead to individuals being personally compromised.

Your individual IT policies have a lot to do with how safe you are. Using a WEP Encrypted Wi-Fi connection on the ground at Teterboro could have disastrous results for your VIP, not to mention your Satcom bill. The myth often shared by people is that hacking or identity theft is something that happens to the “other person.” The sad reality is that there are always barbarians at our digital gates whether we choose to acknowledge them or not.

When I watched the movie “Hackers” in 1995, the notion of teenagers masterminding an attack on a corporate mainframe seemed pretty pie-in-the-sky. The reality though is that there have been numerous examples of children cracking into secure servers even at the DOD level.

We are all under attack. The goal is not make your aircraft an impenetrable IT fortress. The aim should be to make others an easier target and prevent the most crippling attacks.

 

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

Experiencing Huge Aircraft Wi-Fi Charges? Disable Automatic Updates

Posted by Duncan Download Blog on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

DonotautoupdateContributed by Brian Redondo, satellite avionics manager

I have heard from several customers who are upset after receiving a Wi-Fi bill larger than expected, some considerably larger.

I’ve had to explain that all Portable Electronics Devices (PEDs for short, such as laptops, tablets and phones) brought on board an aircraft are factory-set to automatically sync and grab updates as soon as they connect to an available Wi-Fi hotspot. And it only takes one device on a cross-country trip to create an ugly bill.


The default on PEDs is set at the factory to automatically conserve data. What this means is that apps are updated and photos/videos are pushed to the cloud only when they are connected to Wi-Fi.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are out walking around with your smartphone on 4G and using it as normal. You stop into your local Starbucks® and your phone finds their Wi-Fi and automatically connects. The pictures you took of your kids while walking in the park are pushed up to the cloud and the latest update to Candy Crush® begins to download. When you leave and the Wi-Fi drops off, you are back to low data usage.

The problem arises when you get on an aircraft and connect to the most expensive Wi-Fi on the planet! Because your PED is set up by default to use the Wi-Fi for big download tasks, that game update just cost you $35 and syncing a video of your kids playing on the swingset to the cloud could be upwards of $1,000.

Most people don’t realize these devices are factory-set in this manner or didn’t think of the impact it would have on the aircraft Wi-Fi bill. The good thing is there are several ways to keep the bills in check.

Gogo® Business Aviation (formerly known as Aircell) helps to block some of these services in order to keep the data charges more reasonable, but unfortunately not all can be blocked. Google Play, Apple Store and iCloud are the notorious offenders and are not able to be blocked. However, most computer backup services such as Carbonite, antivirus software auto updates, browser updates and those pesky ever-present java updates are blocked by Gogo® Biz (also known as the ATG-2000/4000/5000).

Gogo® Business Aviation now provides SwiftBroadband service and has three optional levels of filtering to help control your costs. Contact a Gogo® Business Aviation representative for more information.

Those using Satcom Direct for SwiftBroadband service can opt in to their SkyShield service. This service offers several levels of data filtering or you can request custom filtering as well. Ask your SatCom Direct representative for more information.

Another simple step is to put any unused devices in Airplane Mode or to simply shut them off. Open Wi-Fi networks should also be avoided as tablets and phones may automatically connect to an open network, add a simple password such as the tail number to prevent unwanted devices from connecting. Remember it takes just one device on one trip to cost you a lot of money.

Below are short, simplified steps you can take on your Android or Applie device to avoid another outrageous Wi-Fi bill. Please understand that because there are different versions of iOS and Android, your device may require different action. If that is the case, consult the User’s Guide for your device.


PREVENTING THE AUTOMATIC UPLOAD OF PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

General Instructions for an Android phone and tablet

Android Photo Icon 1. Go to your photos folder where all of the photos and videos are stored on your device.
Preventing the Automatic Upload of Photos and Videos 2. Tap on Settings (three dots in upper right corner).
Preventing the Automatic Upload of Photos and Videos 3. Tap on Auto Backup.
Preventing the Automatic Upload of Photos and Videos 4. Shut off Auto Backup.
This will end the automatic uploading of your photos when taking new ones.

General Instructions for an Apple iPhone and iPad

iPad Settings Icon 1. Go into Settings.
iPadiCloudPhotos

2. Tap iCloud.

3. Tap Photos (If you have iCloud Drive set up, you can shut this off here as well).

   
iPadturnoffphotostream-1 4. Turn off My Photo Stream

TURNING OFF AUTOMATIC APP UPDATES

General Instructions for an Android phone and tablet

Android Play Store Icon 1. Open the "Play Store" and go to the menu (generally in a corner at the top).
TURNING OFF AUTOMATIC APP UPDATES 2. Tap Settings.
TURNING OFF AUTOMATIC APP UPDATES 3. Tap Auto-update apps.
TURNING OFF AUTOMATIC APP UPDATES 4. Select "Do Not auto-update apps" or uncheck auto-update apps.
Keep notifications checked to receive notifications when an update is available.

General Instructions for an iPhone and iPad

Apple Settings Icon 1. Open Settings and go to "iTunes & App Store."
TURNING OFF AUTOMATIC APP UPDATES 2. Scroll down to the Automatic Downloads section.

3. Toggle updates to OFF to stop apps automatically updating.

Tags: Avionics Installation, Wi-Fi

Day 3: Duncan Aviation at NBAA—Static

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 @ 11:42 AM

It is day three of NBAA! Have you been to Static?

Take a trip to the Orlando Executive Airport and drop by NARA static display–220 and check out this Embraer Legacy 600. It has been completely refurbished both inside and out with a 96-month inspection and Wi-Fi.

Click on photos to enlarge. 

photo-4_blogphoto-1_blogphoto-3_blog

Along with its incredible physical transformation, the aircraft boasts a new Aircell GoGo Biz Broadband solution, as well as the Aviator 200 Swift Broadband solution alongside several custom additions, creating an efficient, effective, comfortable business jet.

IMG_7789_blogIMG_7915_blogIMG_7813_blogIMG_7860_blog

We also paired up with Embraer Executive Jet’s PreFlown division to develop a timelapse video showcasing what it takes to inspect and update an Embraer Legacy 600. To watch the video, visit http://www.duncanaviation.aero/videos/embraer_refurbishment/index.php.

 

Tags: Interior Refurbishment, Wi-Fi, Paint Refurbishment, NBAA

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

Duncan Aviation Expands Wi-Fi Program with Cessna 525A STC Addition

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 @ 04:21 PM

Wi-Fi

The 525A STC adds CitationJet CJ2, CJ2+ and CJ3 aircraft to a long list of Duncan Aviation STCs for aircraft internet systems.

Duncan Aviation has installed and certified Wi-Fi on a fleet of three CitationJet CJ2+ aircraft, earning the 525A Supplemental Type Certificate (STC).

This STC adds CitationJet CJ2, CJ2+ and CJ3 aircraft to a long list of Duncan Aviation STCs for aircraft internet systems. With completed installations nearing 400 aircraft, Duncan Aviation holds a prominent position as leader of the aftermarket installation of in-flight internet and Wi-Fi upgrades such as Aircell Gogo Biz and SwiftBroadband systems.

“Broadband with Wi-Fi is one of our most requested avionics upgrades, and our continual investment in STCs represents our commitment to our customers,” said Duncan Aviation’s Avionics Sales Representative Andy Fernandes. “Combining the benefits of both our ODA and many locations, we’re able to offer owners a great deal of flexibility as well as the confidence that their aircraft is in the care of the most experienced technicians in the industry and a company known for its service and support.” 

Duncan Aviation has invested heavily in this market. The company owns 13 STCs for broadband with Wi-Fi. The Duncan Aviation Engineering Team completed the STCs under Duncan Aviation’s Organization Designation Authorization (ODA), which includes STC, Major Repair and Alterations (MRA) and Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) authority. In addition to the CJ2, CJ2+ and CJ3, Duncan Aviation holds STCs for in-flight Wi-Fi for the following models: Hawker 800A, 800XP, 850XP, 900XP, the Falcon 2000, 2000EX, 2000EX EASy and 900EX, 900EX EASy, the Citation 525A, 680, 750, the Challenger 300, 601-3A/R, 604, 605, Lear 45, Embraer Legacy 600, 650 and the Gulfstream GIV, GV.  

Fernandes says Duncan Aviation is working to amend the STC to include the CJ, CJ1, CJ1+ and CJ4 in the near future.

This aircraft communications upgrade can be scheduled now at any of Duncan Aviation’s avionics installation locations. View the complete list of Duncan Aviation's avionics locations.

Tags: Avionics Installation, Wi-Fi

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 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

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