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More efficient Wi-Fi for Falcon jets

​Falcon jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation turned to Leti, a CEA Tech institute, to set up a test bench capable of realistically emulating the radiofrequency wave propagation channel for different Falcon jet cabin configurations.

Published on 29 January 2018

For private jets like Dassault Aviation's Falcon, in-cabin Wi-Fi that lets passengers connect their personal mobile phones, tablets, and computers while travelling has become a must-have service. To improve in-cabin Wi-Fi on board its Falcon jets, Dassault Aviation turned to Leti, a CEA Tech institute, to explore different methods for modelling the behavior of radio waves on board, factoring in antenna position, the aircraft geometry, and the cabin configuration.

Leti's radiofrequency lab came up with a statistical model of the wave propagation channel that can be configured according to the environment and whether or not the objects can be moved. A test bench, based on a radiofrequency channel emulator, was set up and configured by the model to send a signal that is then deformed, modified, and distorted by electronic systems as if the signal were being propagated in an actual on-board environment. The tests were used to create a model showing the influence of the cabin's configuration, materials, and other factors on wave propagation and the quality of the Wi-Fi signal inside the cabin before the cabin is even manufactured. 

The research marks a crucial first step toward being able to validate wireless communications systems before they are installed in the aircraft. Not only will this improve the level of service delivered to passengers, it will also enable better control of the physiological impacts of radiofrequency waves and give a better idea of wireless network service—information that could ultimately help reduce aircraft weight by allowing certain cable bundles to be eliminated.

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