Future Trends in Spectrum Management and Technology Choices for Broadband Aeronautical Communications

Future Trends in Spectrum Management and Technology Choices for Broadband Aeronautical Communications

Stephen John Curran (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Daytona Beach, FL, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/ijasot.2014010101
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Abstract

The aircraft of the future will have an increased need for airborne communications among aircraft and between aircraft and the ground. Communications will include traffic such as on board passenger generated internet traffic, aircraft telemetry and information on air traffic control and weather. The likely data requirements are such that the data generated by passengers will be far greater than the aircraft generated data traffic. Passengers will expect data service on the aircraft similar to what they typically experience on the ground. Multimedia activities such video streaming are very bandwidth intensive and the provision of these services presents a serious technical challenge. On the ground, fibre optic cables are the method of choice for the provision of high speed data service and in contrast an airborne high speed data communications solution will need to be a wireless one.
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Literature Review

The issue of improving the bandwidth between air and ground has been addressed in several papers. Future bandwidth requirements per aircraft have been estimated to be in the region of 375 Megabits per second (Mbps) per 300 passenger aircraft, with a breakdown of estimated usage detailed in Table 1 (Buchter, 2012).

Table 1.
Bandwidth per passenger on board
Data UsageNumber of UsersApprox. Average Data RateWeighted Data Rate
E-mail, web browsing, social networking25%1 Mbps0.25 Mbps
Multimedia (streaming video etc.)10%10 Mbps1 Mbps
Average per passenger1.25 Mbps
Average per 300 seat aircraft375 Mbps

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