dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Boeing Using Potatoes to Test In-Plane Wi-Fi
20,000 Pounds to Be Precise
by Karl Bode 12:27PM Thursday Dec 20 2012
Boeing this week proudly proclaimed via press release that the company has developed "an advanced method" to test wireless signals in airplane cabins, making it possible for passengers to enjoy more reliable connectivity when using networked personal electronic devices in the air. The sophisticated technology being used to test Wi-Fi and other in cabin signals? 20,000 pounds of potatoes:
quote:
Initially using a de-commissioned airplane, the team from Boeing Test & Evaluation laboratories conducted a series of such tests. The team determined that potatoes were ideal stand-ins for passengers, given their similar physical interactions with electronic signal properties. Much of the testing was conducted on the grounded airplane with the seats filled with 20,000 pounds of potato sacks. The test data was then validated on the ground with human stand-ins for passengers.
A video goes in to a little more detail about Boeing's testing methods. The FAA is currently exploring whether they should loosen rules governing in-flight communications equipment.

view:
topics flat nest 
Chubbysumo

join:2009-12-01
Superior, WI

you have got to be shitting me

i really hope this is fake, and just a joke, because if it is, it makes me wary of every flying again. Who knows what else they used improper things for testing stuff? the fruitcake who came up with this idea should be fired and castrated.

FastEddie
Premium,Ex-Mod 2001-13
join:2000-12-29
Channel Z
kudos:6

Re: you have got to be shitting me


Yeah I agree with you Chubbysumo See Profile

They should have used live pigs instead.


--
Here's To You

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 recommendation

Click for full size
It's true, and the story misses a lot without the picture.

antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: you have got to be shitting me

said by tshirt:

It's true, and the story misses a lot without the picture.

»www.networkworld.com/community/b···-signals has a video from Boeing Labs.
--
Ant @ AQFL.net and AntFarm.ma.cx. Please do not IM/e-mail me for technical support. Use this forum or better, »community.norton.com ! Disclaimer: The views expressed in this posting are mine, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

60632649
Premium
join:2003-09-29
New York, NY

1 recommendation

Mr. Potato Head get's his revenge, he has to purse his lips a bit to look like obama looking like clinton saying "I did not have sex with that woman" and "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
TexasRebel

join:2011-05-29
Edgewood, TX

2 recommendations

sounds like a pretty good test from what I can tell. most people are about as dumb as a sack of potatoes anyway. I'm surprised they didn't use the same sacks of potatoes to test those TSA scanners as well.. Then again if they did, you would have had alot of baked potatoes..

60632649
Premium
join:2003-09-29
New York, NY

3 recommendations

Re: you have got to be shitting me

Hey man, comparing TSA screeners to a sack of potatoes would be an insult to a sack of potatoes.
jc100

join:2002-04-10

1 recommendation

Human Analogs! Mr. Potato Heads. Did they give each one a funny mustache or hat? What about the feet? Dammit, I demand comical accuracy.
TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:2
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel
said by Chubbysumo:

i really hope this is fake, and just a joke, because if it is, it makes me wary of every flying again. Who knows what else they used improper things for testing stuff? the fruitcake who came up with this idea should be fired and castrated.

What's wrong with that? Obviously they didn't want to use real passengers in the initial tests in case something went wrong.

What they were doing is using the potatoes to simulate the way the human bodies of passengers absorbs RF energy from the WiFi devices, which operate at 2.4GHz (the same frequency as microwave ovens, by the way).

This simulates the way RF from WiFi devices would propagate through the cabin in the presence of passengers, which is obviously different than an empty aircraft.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Steve
I know your IP address
Consultant
join:2001-03-10
Yorba Linda, CA
kudos:5

1 recommendation

said by Chubbysumo:

the fruitcake who came up with this idea should be fired and castrated.

So: you're seriously claiming that you have a better handle on how to appropriately and effectively test avionics technology than the folks who have flown you all over the country and put men and vehicles in space?

Really?

Michelle

@comcast.net
Careful - 100 Fruitcake's were used to to test the In-flight phone system (Just kidding).

Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:3

First World Problems?

We want to test an additional luxury.. so we shall test it using 20k lbs of potatoes.

Why not donate the 20k lbs of potatoes to those who could use food in their stomach?
--
CheckSite.us | YourIP.us | Reverseip.us

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4

1 recommendation

Re: First World Problems?

I believe they did afterwards.
Better than spending million building special human RF analogs (crash test dummies, not for crashing)

Thrudd

join:2004-06-21
Mississauga, ON

1 recommendation

Truth be told the 20k of spuds is a far more cost effective analog to bags of mostly water when talking RF energy.
And guess what? The spuds can go to the cafeteria after the test.

Could you imagine the logistics, delays and costs if they attempted to build something via government committee?

Score one for the engineers responsible being allowed to be frugal Yet creative using SCIENCE.

jap
Premium
join:2003-08-10
038xx

Re: First World Problems?

+1

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Were those "Couch Potatoes" ?

Were those 20,000 pounds of "Couch Potatoes" ? Because that would simulate pretty well the average American flying public.

ExAviator

@backdeck.com

Electronics in flight

Don't you just love that there was so much certainty that electronic signals were going to cause problems.

But once it became a business advantage, and pilots wanted their electronic flight pads, there is all the effort to prove it's not...
Seems that if there was so much possibilty that it was, pilots in the cockpit would have been making quite a bit of noise by now...

"Wow look at that reading of the VOR swing when I flip on my Ipad"

tshirt
Premium,MVM
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Electronics in flight

said by ExAviator :

Don't you just love that there was so much certainty that electronic signals were going to cause problems.

It wasn't a bad idea to start out carefully, this isn't something you want to get wrong.

tschmidt
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-12
Milford, NH
kudos:9
Reviews:
·G4 Communications
·Fairpoint Commun..
·Hollis Hosting
During the early days of Wi-Fi, late 1990's and of aircraft power plugs meet with Boeing to discuss passenger electronics.

At that point we were not even thinking about Wi-Fi just the radiated noise from zillions of passenger electronic widgets. We were proposing a wired solution. Nothing ever happened and I'm glad 20 years later they are going wireless - having every passenger plug in an Ethernet cable would have been ugly.

What surprised me at the time is they really did not have a good model for electrical interference. Passenger compartment is a conductive metal tube so RF bounces around in strange ways.

As others have posted the ban was conservative engineering, better safe then sorry. Now that there is money on the table more interest in seeing how the physics really works.

Kudos to Boeing and the tongue in cheek acronym SPUDS: “Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution" .

/tom
tpkatl

join:2009-11-16
Dacula, GA

2 recommendations

Gives new meaning to the term "couch potato"

I wonder if the testers saw "eye to eye" on this.
vag16v

join:2001-07-27
hereandthere

1 edit

Boeing Using Potatoes to Test In-Plane Wi-Fi

It doesn't matter anyway, in the end it will all be up to some little man working at the FAA who has a gut feeling if its bad or not for us poor little humans.
They haven't been able to make a good decision on this stuff for years..I doubt much is going to change.
b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..

1 edit

I am sure the "Chemtrail" nuts (Chemtrailologists)


Inflight solanine or chaconine gas production supplies
will take it as proof of some solanine or chaconine gas being sprayed on us.
--
Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/

elitefx

join:2011-02-14
London, ON
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Excellent Choice

Well, the intelligence of the average person and a sack of potatoes would be almost equal with the mental advantage going to the spuds in most cases..........

exocet_cm
Free at last, free at last
Premium
join:2003-03-23
New Orleans, LA
kudos:3

Gotta watch the video

It makes more sense after watching the video. Sounds stupid reading the text alone.
rantou

join:2002-06-04
Wylie, TX

1 recommendation

Might as well face it...

I'm addicted to spuds.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

1 recommendation

20,000 Pounds

"...of potatoes!"

-Big John Wallace-

dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
Premium
join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:3

1 recommendation

Re: 20,000 Pounds

said by jmn1207:

"...of potatoes!"

-Big John Wallace-

Harry, it sucks!

tboon

@cloud-ips.com

I agree with this being absurd

Instead of using a cheap sack of potatoes to mimic the human body's effect on radio waves, I think they should use an extremely complicated, and expensive collection of electronic devices: ones that only I sell.

vaxvms
ferroequine fan
Premium
join:2005-03-01
Wormtown
kudos:3

1 recommendation

Solanum tuberosum

Were foil hats available to half baked passengers?
--
CMKRNL

Angela

@charter.com

Potatoes do represent humans

The reason sacks of potatoes were used in this test is due to the fact that they absorb microwaves just as our bodies do. However due to the uniformity of a potato, they are not prone to hot spots as our bodies are. When a person holds a wireless gadget to their head or body there may be internal hotspots that are dangerously high. If someone is stuck sitting in the seat next to the WiFi transmitter the microwaves to and from that transmitter will go through their body with much of it being absorbed. This too can lead to dangerously high internal hot spots. This test is intended to find out how many transmitters are needed to thoroughly cook us all while still allowing us to surf the net and keep the plane in the air. People like to make fun of tin foil hats, but metal shielding is exactly what the airlines use to shield their sensitive electronics. Our hearts and brains are our sensitive electronics. It is foolish to not shield them too. Please read through this site - »emfwise.com/ - to get a better understanding of the harm we suffer due to microwave radiation from our wireless gadgets.
cOOLguy

join:2009-09-10
Torrington, CT

Re: Potatoes do represent humans

No biggie here, back in teh day, Motorola used a column of salt water to represent a human with a pager on its belt. Supposedly the antenna gain factor would increase by 3db near the water and thus near a human.

Ok so we are not tuning antennas in this application but the body does have an effect on propagation.

Anyhow, potatoes are more practical than instrumented cadavers.

joako
Premium
join:2000-09-07
/dev/null
kudos:6
Yea "I find the standby radiation of my acquaintance’s iPad irritating to my brain even one room away" LOL
--
PRescott7-2097
marctronixx

join:2003-09-08
Los Angeles, CA

Chin

I used to put the car alarm remote under my chin to increase the range of it. Clifford electronics even recommended doing it in their operating manuals for their car alarms..