Science & Tech
Topic: General Studies 3:
- Science & Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
- Awareness in the fields of IT
Domestic aircraft carrier Vistara will be the first to offer inflight Wi-Fi by March-end. As of now, only data services will be offered and voice calls could be introduced later
What is in-flight connectivity?
- In-flight connectivity essentially allows those onboard aircraft to access voice, video and data services after the aircraft has attained an altitude of 3,000 meters.
- In-flight connectivity for aircraft flying over Indian airspace was approved by the DoT in May 2018.
How does in-flight connectivity work?
- It relies on onboard antenna as well as satellites for Internet and mobile communications.
- Onboard Antenna
- Here, signals are picked from the nearest tower on the ground.
- However, the connection does become an issue after a certain altitude if the aircraft is passing over an area with no towers, say a large water body.
- Through Satellite
- It works in a manner similar to how satellite TV signals are transmitted.
- So, an onboard router, which connects to the plane’s antenna transmits data to a personal electronic device.
- The signals are then transmitted to ground station via satellites and is redirected to a billing server for calculation of the data consumption.
- Finally, the signal is relayed to the World Wide Web.
- While the telecom commission has allowed Internet services onboard, the telecom operator has said it will be made available when devices are used only on flight mode.
- Internet services, hence, could only be used through onboard WiFi as of now.
Cost of in-flight connectivity
- The airlines are free to decide the tariff, as the DoT has not regulated that aspect
- Globally, given the high cost of satellite connectivity, the internet services available onboard aircraft are charged at a premium over what is available otherwise
- The airlines will have to incur high cost of installing equipment, including the installation of antennae on aircraft, increased fuel cost due to extra weight- all these additional cost could find a way into ticket prices.
What about mobile communication Services?
- Even as the process to streamline broadband services onboard flights has been initiated, mobile communication on airlines (MCA) might still take time to be a reality.
- The TRAI, had, however, recommended that both broadband and MCA should be allowed over Indian airspace.
- Several stakeholders had raised concerns over providing MCA to passengers citing a complex regulatory framework with issues such as interference, roaming, and spectrum use.
- Also, with in-flight broadband connectivity allowing messaging services and voice calling, there is little requirement to speed up MCA
However, some of the challenges with regard to inflight connectivity includes
- Relatively slow speeds of Internet
- Security risks due to possible interference with flight communication systems.
- Expensive service which may increase the flight ticket price
IASbaba imparts 360-degree IAS preparation solutions with their exhaustive Prelims and Mains preparation courses, supported by the latest UPSC preparation material. Avail our expert help by enrolling with us to keep your knowledge updated and stay ahead of your competition.
Most Trending and Trusted Programmes by UPSC Toppers :