" ITREALMS: Siemens, Airbus in joint GSM solution for aircraft

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Siemens, Airbus in joint GSM solution for aircraft

GERMAN telecommunications giant, Siemens, has signed an exclusive contract with Airbus to jointly develop a solution to be used as in-flight communication via the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

Siemens said it would provide the technology, while Airbus takes charge of the integration in the existing electronics systems.

Additionally, Airbus would be responsible for marketing the new solution to other airlines and for maintenance.

The commercial launch of this new customer service, a press statement from Siemens said, is planned for mid 2006.

This entails that Airbus will now be able to offer the customers of the airlines full-time availability while in the air.

President of the business segment Mobile Networks at Siemens Communications, Mr. Christoph Caselitz, said, a decisive factor in Airbus’s choice of Siemens as its partner in implementing this service was the expertise of the company in realizing complex projects and innovative, customer-oriented technologies.

“With the integration of GSM, airline passengers will in future be able to use their own mobile devices for in-flight phone calls or Internet surfing. During business flights in particular, but on private journeys too, continuous availability is a decisive quality factor for many passengers,” he said.

The GSM solution, he explained, is implemented via a Siemens nano-GSM/General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) base station on the airplane attached behind the ceiling panel, which allows reception for a mobile phone, Personal Computer (PC) or organizer from any seat on the plane.

The Siemens nano-GSM base station, he noted, is the smallest and lightest base station in the world currently.

Stressing that the product is based on Internet Protocol (IP) and is linked to the terrestrial GSM mobile network with the aid of satellite technology.

Pointing out that an important prerequisite for implementing the solution is the integration of channel selector technology, which is a technology that prevents the end devices from establishing contact with terrestrial networks and hence interfering with the avionics.

“It therefore ensures that radio communication from the airplane is conducted solely via satellite. The new solution will be modular in structure so that it could be expanded to accommodate more GSM capacity and other technologies such as Wide Local Area Network (WLAN),” he said.

Emphasising that people being able to use their mobile phones “onboard aircraft has long been the wish of many passengers who often travel on business flights and depend on mobile communication solutions”, explained Mr. Caselitz.

“We at Siemens are working hard on mobile enterprise solutions that carriers and service providers could make available to their customers through wireless technology.

The partnership between Siemens and Airbus will ensure that this modern service is up and running soon and will open up new sources of revenue for the airlines,” he said.

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