First, breaking news straight from the news release: Panasonic Corporation and ITC Global announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Panasonic to acquire ITC Global, a leading provider of satellite communication services for the energy, mining, and maritime markets. Founded in 2001 with regional headquarters in Houston, Texas; Sion, Switzerland; and Perth, Australia, ITC Global serves customers at more than 1,300 remote sites across 70 countries and all the world’s oceans. Panasonic, through its subsidiary Panasonic Avionics Corporation, is a leading provider of inflight communications and entertainment systems to the aviation market. By combining complementary strengths, ITC Global and Panasonic Avionics will become a new leader in global satellite services poised to support long term customer requirements as demand for bandwidth and efficient, reliable communications solutions continues to grow across the energy, mining, maritime and aviation markets. Panasonic Avionics’ satellite network already covers 99% of all airline flight hours and 98% of all maritime traffic routes, and the organization is in the process of adding High Throughput Satellite capacity that will wrap around the globe. Upon the closing of the acquisition, ITC Global will become “ITC Global, A Panasonic Company” and will operate as an independent unit of Panasonic Avionics. ITC Global will continue to execute its current strategic plan under the leadership of Joe Spytek, ITC Global’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, who will report to Paul Margis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics. ITC Global’s management team will remain in place and will continue to focus on its customers in the energy, mining, and maritime markets, while Panasonic Avionics will remain dedicated to its customers in the aviation market. “Panasonic’s acquisition of ITC Global highlights the natural alignment of customers across the aviation, energy, mining and maritime markets, all of whom require mobile broadband, high reliability, global coverage and responsive customer service,” said Margis. “ITC Global is a proven leader and we share a common passion for excellent customer service. Together, we look forward to taking satellite communications services to a new level of value and performance.”


The United States Government Accountability Office, under the title of Information Security has issued a report earlier this month giving the FAA a do-better slip for security weakness (cyber-based and other (hacker) plus natural based threats) in the Air Traffic Control Systems. IFExpress has been noting concerns and deficiencies, at least based on non-governmental system hacking, and earlier this month the GAO reported the deficiencies. The 45 page report can be found here and we note the threats from their document: “While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken steps to protect its air traffic control systems from cyber-based and other threats, significant security control weaknesses remain, threatening the agency’s ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation of the national airspace system (NAS). These include weaknesses in controls intended to prevent, limit, and detect unauthorized access to computer resources, such as controls for protecting system boundaries, identifying and authenticating users, authorizing users to access systems, encrypting sensitive data, and auditing and monitoring activity on FAA’s systems. Additionally, shortcomings in boundary protection controls between less-secure systems and the operational NAS environment increase the risk from these weaknesses.”

Further, the FAA is under pressure from the GAO for failing to implement a complete security program: “FAA also did not fully implement its agency-wide information security program. As required by the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002, federal agencies should implement a security program that provides a framework for implementing controls at the agency. However, FAA’s implementation of its security program was incomplete.” It goes on but worth the 45 page read.

The solution, according to the GAO, lays in some 17 public recommendations that focuses on a present and future security risk management by organizations and agency management present and future decisions; while laying out some 170 security weaknesses recommendations. Stay Tuned to this one… the ramifications of a slip here could be catastrophic.

Check out this Security story on the Internet.


And speaking of data and airplanes, did you know that Routehappy, can tell you if your flight has Wi-Fi, seat power availability, seat pitch, and a basic score for the availability of services – Nice!


While we are on the Internet subject, did you know that you can find US flight times based on airline for city pairs?


On the plane, what if your batteries die – did you know that two different metal electrodes and an acid will create a battery? Here’s how you can make a lemon battery but you will need 2380 oranges for your iPhone.


So much for up, but on the ground, airport Wi-Fi Access Charts from AirFareWatchdog cover US and International destinations.


And speaking of Wi-Fi, 802.11ac is right around the corner… for aircraft too! We now have 801.11a, b, g but they are quickly being surpassed by 802.11n, at least on the ground. Last week, we linked to an 802.11n Wi-Fi router developed and just introduced to the aircraft, the VT Miltope nMap2 features 802.11n technology. Today, there are some 38 million 802.11n access points in the market (ground) so that technology is quite mature. Since June 2013, the Wi-Fi Alliance has certified some 500 802.11ac ground based products but the technology has to be some 5 years away for planes. When 802.11ac gets here for aircraft, the world will be saturated with it on the ground, but that is another story. The issue here is 802.11ac and if you want to get up to speed on this ground technology today, we have a tip – Fluke Networks. Check out this link for an intro and 7 great info programs on 802.11ac, and their test products as well.


And again, speaking of the Internet naturally brings up the subject of Wi-Fi. While our Wi-Fi experiences are at 2 Ghz and 5 Ghz for the most part, Intel has developed a 60 Ghz version called 5th Generation. But what is interesting, at that frequency, their solution can provide a wireless display, short distance wireless charging, wireless docking, and wireless data (also short range). You can read about it .


AIX Hall Growth – Senior Event Director, Katie Murphy, said: “This year will see the largest and most comprehensive global passenger experience event ever staged, as Aircraft Interiors Expo expands from five halls to seven.” And don’t forget, The World Travel Catering and Onboard


Mea Culpa: It came to our attention that last week’s reference to the Stanford Paper on inflight telephony/connectivity did not include the GEE/Row 44 as a competitor on their list. GEE has over 600 aircraft connectivity/content installations.


SkyMall lives, sorta

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.