Wi-Fi equipment provider Meru Networks has announced that Air China, one of the world’s 10 largest airlines, has started deploying Meru wireless network technology on its A330 Airbus wide-body jets.
The deployment was conducted in conjunction with Meru partner Flight Focus, whose Cabin In-flight Wi-Fi platform integrates Meru technology enabling hundreds of passengers to simultaneously stream HD video directly to their mobile.
The Flight Focus Cabin platform for in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment incorporates the latest and best technologies in terms of both hardware and software.
“The Flight Focus PlatformTM integrating Meru virtualised Wi-Fi technology delivers more simultaneous video streams, and at higher quality, than any other Wi-Fi IFE (in-flight entertainment) on the market. The deployment at Air China illustrates this clearly,” said Ralf Cabos, managing director of Flight Focus.
“Historically speaking, and largely, today, when more than 10% or 20% of passengers on a commercial airliner start trying to stream video, the experience degrades very quickly. The network just can’t handle the load. This powerful solution changes all of that, scaling to a true 100% uptake capability with technology in production now.”
“The combination of Flight Focus’ open, super light and secure Cabin In-flight Wi-Fi platform, and the high-performance Meru Wi-Fi network technology has enabled us to build our own IFE. We are now able to provide richer entertainment contents to passengers, fulfill the need for cabin-wide HD video streaming, and deliver a much improved user experience,” said the Air China E-project Office.
“The ease of installation helps in quickly completing modifications, facilitating a wider rollout, and enabling our passengers to enjoy the service as soon as possible.”
“The Meru RF virtualisation has stood the test of time since we first invented and patented it,” said Srinath Sarang, co-founder, vice president and general manager of the hospitality business unit at Meru Networks.
“The ability to have a Wi-Fi network behave in a deterministic manner like a wired network is one of the hallmarks of the Meru Networks solution. Meru’s RF virtualisation delivers plug-and-play deployment and easy capacity expansion for the highest-density, most demanding and harsh environments, such as inside an aircraft. We partnered with Flight Focus to deliver this industry leading solution having built up our expertise in other in-flight and cruise ship deployments around the world,” said Sarang.
The in-cabin wireless network integrates a dual-radio, dual-band, 802.11a/b/g/n wireless access point (AP) with a 3x3:3 MIMO design. Operating over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to deliver a maximum data rate of 450Mbps per radio, it supports streaming video, voice, and other data traffic with superior predictability and reliability.
As a result of the deployment, Air China has become the first Chinese carrier that operates flights with on-board Wi-Fi system. Air China is in the process of upgrading their entire wide body A330 fleet with the system.