Another “Black Box” Hot Topic?

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Yep, and it’s from AP Avionix. Can you guess what it is? Here is a hint – it is called Cab-N-Connect.

Give up? Try 802.11n airborne wireless router. When we saw the creature we had to get the story for our readers. So here is what they told IFExpress:

“AP Avionix’s new Cab-N-ConnectM wireless access point takes advantage of the recently adopted IEEE 802.11n specification, which increases maximum throughput to wireless clients from 54mbps to over 300mbps. Engineers from AP Avionx and Motorola have collaborated closely together in ruggedizing and adapting Motorola’s industry-leading 802.11n wireless solutions into an efficient, high-performance, scalable and highly-maintainable platform for wireless-in-the-sky.

The Wireless Access Point (CWAP) supports flexible deployment of multiple Wi-Fi access points virtually anywhere within the commercial aircraft. Depending on the size and configuration of the particular airframe, and the specific types of applications being supported, there could be from two to eight CWAP modules distributed at various locations throughout the plane.
Using a robust 3×3 MIMO radio configuration, the CWAP supports dual-band (TX/RX) communications with any type of Wi-Fi device in the on-board network mesh, using either 2.4GHz (11b/g/n) or 5.0GHZ (11a/n). A third radio connection can be dedicated to network management and communications with the on-board wireless server.

The individual CWAP units throughout the passenger cabin communicate with the centralized airborne server units via Gigabit Ethernet. Depending on the specific requirements, one or more server units provide network management, load-balancing, media server functions and handling of the backhaul communications (via satellite or air-to-ground). Robust security layers ensure integrity and privacy of all communications over the local wireless network and the backhaul communication links.”

Next, we asked how many passengers can be served by the CWAP?

“Empirical testing has already shown the Cab-N-Connect CWAP to be the clear performance leader for implementing Wi-Fi for ‘wireless-in-the-sky’ services aboard commercial airliners. Controlled tests using a single CWAP access point mounted within a wide-body commercial aircraft showed the capability to simultaneously stream real-time video content at 1Mbs to over 100 wireless client systems. This constitutes a more than 5x performance advantage over competing systems that show measureable degradation of performance at 20+ wireless clients.”

Finally, we queried the company about availability, qualification testing status and FCC & CE testing status…and availability.

“The latest version of Cab-N-Connect cabin wireless access point (CWAP) is currently undergoing final stages of FAA qualification testing and certification is imminent. To assist our customers with their deployment schedules, evaluation units are available now. FAA certified units will be shipping in full production starting in the second quarter of 2010.

The CWAP design undergoing qualification testing includes our new integrated antenna technology that further improves the CWAP’s performance edge, while also offering enhanced flexibility for mounting and locating the CWAP units virtually anywhere within the aircraft. The integrated antenna feature eliminates the need for separate antenna mounting provisions, thereby providing better space utilization, streamlined integration with any aircraft and lower deployment costs.”
For more information, contact Eric Tarter (erict@aplabs.com) and/or check out their data sheet…and no, they will not be at AIX.

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