More and more airliners are equipped with Wi-Fi, but as anybody who has tried using it can tell you, not every seat gets the same experience. One passenger can have four bars showing, while the guy wedged into the seat next to him has one, or none. Boeing has an obvious interest in helping airlines provide a better experience for passengers, so a team of engineers at the company’s test and evaluation center in Seattle employed sacks of potatoes to develop a new method of ensuring wireless signals are as reliable as possible.
Boeing’s test and evaluation center has gained recent attention for the 787 flight test program, but its engineers test just about everything related to the company’s airliners, including inflight wireless. The company isn’t saying much about how the test is performed or the kind of equipment is used, but it says the new evaluation methods measure the propagation of signal quality throughout the cabin more efficiently and effectively.