Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Burning Question: Why Can't I Use My Cell Phone on a Plane?

Burning Question: Why Can't I Use My Cell Phone on a Plane?: "Part of it, naturally, comes from the call carriers. When phones ping for signals at 35,000 feet, they can hit hundreds of towers at once, necessitating complicated parsing of roaming agreements. Providers don't want the hassle if they're not being properly compensated, so the government has left the plane ban in place."

from when i worked in telecoms I knew that each time you change location you re register with a HLR system. being in a fast moving object means that you re register too frequently for the networks to cope. I hadnt considered you'd be detected by multiple HLRs.

It did seem that the usual excuse that they interfer with the avionics was a load of tosh else all bin larden and his affliates would have to do is board planes and turn thier phones on and they'd drop out of the sky. if that were true we would be depositing our phones with our liquids in the bin

1 comment:

Andy said...

I think this article aims to trivialize the issue. Instrumentation and communication worries are the major issue still. If it weren't for this, and regulatory and operator agreements, then we'd have phones on planes. The terrestrial network issue would be solved by placing some sort of Pico cell on flights.

There is no conspiracy here. Aviation safety bodies advise for an industry that still has planes with old avionic systems. Electronic devices pose a danger however small to flights. The Civil Aviation Authority has run through some radio planning equations and found that phones pose risk to avionics that were built before 1990 (see http://gpsinformation.net/airgps/gsm_intf1.pdf section 3). This is theoretical. It's notable that Offcom has cleared one GSK frequency for use in the uk this year and have documents that highlight the weaknesses of the wired article (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/mca/statement/) so the regulation is on the way. The main hurdle is the Aviation Safety.