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In-flight Wi-Fi
Episode 5725th December 2022 • Tech Talk with Amit & Rinat • Amit Sarkar & Rinat Malik
00:00:00 00:43:30

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These days airline travel is the most popular means of global transport. But in a hyper-connected world, we all want access to fast internet even when we are in the air. So airlines have been working with various providers to provide us with in-flight Wi-Fi. But is it worth it? What speeds can you get? What are the limitations?

In this week's talk, Amit and Rinat talk about In-flight Wi-Fi, how it works, what technologies are used and a lot more!

Transcripts

Rinat Malik:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Tech Talk. A podcast where Amit and I talk about various technology related topics. Today we're going to talk about inflight Wi Fi, although we've talked about talked about Wi Fi in the past, but inflight Wi Fi is a whole new realm of technology, and we thought it would be a really good idea to talk about it. We're both interested in it. Amit, thank you for coming up with this topic. I'm actually not very well versed in inflight Wi Fi, although I have experienced as experience as a consumer. I would like to know what happens in the back end of you know the technical working off inflight Wi Fi. And hopefully a lot of our audience would have also experienced this because now it's slowly becoming more and more commonplace within airlines that they are providing various Wi Fi sort of packages while you're flying. Sometimes it's included within the flight sometimes you have an you have it as an add on to your flight to purchase. But none of the less, it's actually very interesting topic on I've always wondered what how the Wi Fi or the data transfer happens when you are, you know, 1000s of miles, not 1000s of miles but 1000s of metres above the air and how this connection of data happens because yeah, power is one thing but connecting data to Earth while you're flying mid-air is actually quite interesting, and I'd like to know more about it. And Amit you've done some research already, I think, and I've read your weekly newsletter as well, and you've covered some of the topics over there. But it'll be good to know directly from you about, about this topic. So yeah, let's without further do, let's start with inflight Wi Fi what's your sort of beginning thought on this topic?

Amit Sarkar:

So thanks Rinat again for that good introduction. Yes, in flight Wi Fi. We've spoken about Wi Fi but in flight Wi Fi something very interesting. And the reason I wrote about it in my newsletter this week was because I recently travelled to Morocco. And while returning I saw that I went on a British Airways flight. And during my return flight I saw that they have a URL and that URL said access BT Wi Fi at this Wi Fi access point and then go to this website to order food. So basically on British Airways flight to Morocco, and I had an economy seat. So I didn't buy the food and they don't give food for free. So you had to buy the food. But instead of calling the air hostess or the air host to your seat and asking them what food options you have. Can I have this if it's available, etc etc. What they did is they had like an intranet site. So they had a local website hosted and that website could track how many items they have in their inventory and what is available to sell and what is the cost and I could order it directly from the my phone by connecting it to the so I could order it directly from my phone by connecting to the Wi Fi and going to their website. Now the thing is, I was wondering okay, so I've connected to the website it is working fine. I place an order and they accepted payment by card. So it's a wireless transactions so it's not even I tapped the card I didn't even enter a PIN. I tapped the card it was contactless and then the payment got accepted. It got approved. And we were at and I had my snacks and everything was fine. And then I was wondering how the…I mean how is it that it's working? How is the whole system working? How does the Wi Fi work and then I saw that they had certain packages to buy. So packages for video streaming and packages for just a text. Like if you want to send a message via WhatsApp or something, then they had packages for that and that package is priced at different levels based on what you want to use. packages for text are much cheaper than packages for proper internet with streaming etc. Of course I didn't buy it because it was paid and I was like okay, I don't want to pay for it. I've anyway paid for the flight. I don't want to pay for adults. So then I came home and I did my research. And that's where I figured out wow it is a very, very fascinating world. But I think before we talk about inflight Wi Fi we need to understand how planes are moving and how the Wi Fi system actually works or not the Wi Fi system itself. Because see, the plane has to be connected to the Internet or some kind of a wireless network.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah. And that's what really confuses me because it's so far away from all the cell towers and everything and I definitely want to know more about it. But there's one thing that I'm just a little bit confused as you were just speaking about tapping your contactless card, but why do you have to tap or if you are doing it everything online? Why don't you just give your 16 digit….

Amit Sarkar:

so I think it is much quicker to do the transaction on the on the payment POS machine rather than doing it in the intranet. So they didn't develop a payment page. They just they just said okay, select the seat number, select your item. And at the end the good thing is like once I ordered the item, I wanted to see what other items are available after my order. I went back to the site and the order the item that I ordered previously was no longer available. So it means a stock was over. So it was also updated automatically. So that was kind of very nice, because then I know okay what is available and they had also the option because I'm vegan, I could see whether it's vegetarian, vegan, etc. So it was kind of nice to actually see rather than asking the air-hostess, like okay, what is the ingredient what is available, what are the different items etc, etc. So this was much more faster because everyone can order for themselves and they will just directly come to the seat with the item take the payment go.

Rinat Malik:

Right Okay, so this is a lot smarter than then what you would, you know, probably just initially assumed because it actually is tracking your stock availability. Yes. As well as doing all the things that you would want to do. And if it had the option to pay over the pos machine rather than you know, rather than all

Amit Sarkar:

that is what I was surprised because the site itself I'm guessing it's hosted on the aircraft. What do you say the aircraft, the aeroplane itself, so it's not something that is hosted on the internet which we are accessing, it is hosted on a on a hard disk on the aircraft and we are just accessing it via the Wi Fi. So you know right when you have Wi Fi in your house you can access sites which are hosted on your machine, because the same network so similarly if you are hosting Wi Fi, you are transmitting. You are allowing other people to connect to your network and if you own your network, you host a website, which is local, then people can access it without actually going to the internet.

Rinat Malik:

Yes, yes, that's actually very interesting because you know, you access it and say in the same way like you would when you go to the internet like with Samsung browser. Exactly, exactly. But you're not actually going to the internet of the whole it's not the whole of the internet, is that no actually open to you when you actually access the intranet site and it's actually very interesting to know and be aware of because you're thinking that oh, I have the whole of the internet in my you know access right now but do you actually don't you have to actually in some cases you have to pay for the for that kind of internet connection.

Amit Sarkar:

Yes. So as airlines have progressed, in terms of their technological capabilities, what has happened is, things have become more and more expensive to run the airline for even the passengers so they have done they've reduced the cost of the ticket but what they've done is they've removed what was available as part of that ticket. So earlier you could get free food priority boarding etc etc. Now, for priority boarding you pay extra for selecting the seats you pay extra for getting on board food you pay extra for Wi Fi you pay extra so for everything is now an add on. But coming back to Wi Fi, you have to think there are a couple of things that are happening. And that's let's try to understand how it would logically work. So you need internet for that you need to connect to a network. You can't connect via cable. So you need to connect to a network wirelessly. What is the other devices that you know of that can talk to the internet wirelessly?

Rinat Malik:

Well I mean the only thing I can think of is a router where I my devices connect to the router wirelessly but the router itself is connected to the internet.

Amit Sarkar:

via a wire. But what other devices can you think of that can talk to the internet wirelessly?

Rinat Malik:

I can't think of any to be honest

Amit Sarkar:

Your smartphone.

Rinat Malik:

Yes, but that that is connecting. All right of course directly to the cell towers. Yes,

Amit Sarkar:

exactly. So that's wireless connection, right?

Rinat Malik:

Yes, yes. Not just Wi Fi but my cell phone can actually connect to the cell towers completely wirelessly and that's actually that actually has a lot like a bigger band. Not necessarily bandwidth, but the range is a lot bigger than a Wi Fi router.

Amit Sarkar:

I mean, yes, you can say that you still have to be in that in the cell tower zone. If you go to a place where there is no cell tower of course you will not get connection. It's similar to Wi Fi. But so now you think okay cell phone tower, right. That makes sense, right? What are the things can you talk say? So you have a smartphone that can go online. I mean, you can go and access Facebook via the cell phone tower. So I'm guessing the aircraft is also talking to the internet via cell phone tower.

Rinat Malik:

Right Okay, so cell phone tower has a spherical range, right that's very interesting because you think about you know, cell phone towers are actually you know, quite high up it's a tall structure, that you know, to cover most of the, you know, the as much as land as possible, but you don't think about that they're also the same time covering above that point as well. It's a spherical area that they're covering. And it's really interesting, but how far above the cover because there is no there is no no obstruction either. So that could be an interesting thing too.

Amit Sarkar:

But of course, as a signal travels the signal dissipates. So you will not get the same strength at the end, especially at that altitude. So aircrafts are cruising it's a 10,000 20,000 metre, even 30,000 metre altitude. So then that's quite high. But say it's not a cell phone tower. It's a tower that broadcasts internet but that's specifically for air-line or it could be a cell phone tower. So I I don't know for sure. But there is a tower that can transmit wirelessly a signal that can the aircraft can receive via an antenna. Let's say it's an antenna, it's pointing down to the earth and then it receives a signal. It then receives that signal. It has it has a router on the aircraft. To that router. Everyone connects wirelessly. That's the Wi Fi. And through that router, the data transfer takes place. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Right so it makes sense, right? So that's a very logical thing that would work. Now what is the other way in which it can work? So this this scenario is called A to Ground ATG. So this is a to ground way of broadcasting via internet signal to the aircraft while it's moving in the air. Of course it has its limitations, which we'll discuss. But now for now, let's think about what are the other possibilities we have thought about A to Ground? Is there any other possibility?

Rinat Malik:

So I can't think of any off the top of my head but the only thing I could think of is you know other planes that are also in the in, you know, other objects that are also in the air and the only thing I could think of is Starlink. But that's also going to be quite far away because Starlink is a satellite because that I would imagine the distance from the plane to the satellite would be higher than the distance from the ground to the plane itself. But the satellite is broadcasting to ground so I'm actually confused.

Amit Sarkar:

So yeah, you're right. Absolutely. I think you've hit the hit the nail at the right place. And the thing is yes, a to ground. Sorry, ground to air on air to ground. So that's one way and then satellite to a craft. That's another way. So you send a signal from the ground up or you send the signal via the ground to the satellite that sends it to the aircraft. Because remember satellite itself doesn't have the internet. It still has to communicate via ground control station right. So the signal goes to the satellite, comes down to a ground station, goes to your data centre, gets the data, sends it to the satellite then sends it to the aircraft.

Rinat Malik:

Right that's very interesting. I know we had an episode on starlink, but I don't remember exactly the inner workings of it.

Amit Sarkar:

No, but forget about Starlink I mean Starlink is there. Yes, it's an internet but you have to point to the direction of the satellite. Constantly using an antenna. Now imagine you have an aircraft that's moving at 1000s of kilometres an hour. It has an access point, that access point or the antenna is on top of the aircraft, okay. So it's situated outside the aircraft. So suppose the aircraft, Boeing or Airbus, which are the two most popular airlines manufacturers in the world, they create the aircraft but they have not installed a router. So you build a house but you don't have routers, you take a connection from virgin or two or TalkTalk or three UK etc. So, now imagine you buy the hardware. So you buy the aircraft from Boeing or Airbus, but now you have to install a router or antenna on the aircraft. So that should cost you some money. So you go to Starlink and you say or you go to some other satellite provider ViaSat or many other things, many of the companies and you ask them okay, I need to access your constellation. So now imagine, aircraft is moving satellite is moving not at any given point of time they both may not be at the same location. So you need multiple satellites so that it can provide a broader coverage. If you have one or two satellites, it will not provide enough coverage across the planet. But if you have multiple satellites, it provides more coverage. So that's a constellation of satellites. Now, this constellation of satellites can provide a good coverage based on the location of the aircraft in the air, and that that aircraft has an antenna or an access point that points to the sky looking for that satellite and trying to talk to it. And the satellites as you know, cannot orbit at different heights on altitudes. One is a geostationary orbit so it's fixed to a location on the earth. So suppose you have a satellite at the geostationary orbit which is I think 36,000 kilometres, then basically that is fixed say to London, and with Earth's rotation, it also covers one rotation in 24 hours. So it's constantly fixed on top of London. Right, so that's geostationary, and then your low Earth orbit which is called Leo, which is where the International Space Station orbits and which is where our starlink and other satellites companies are trying to operate because then it means that they don't have to send a signal so far up. It just 400 kilometres up 400 kilometres is not very far.

Rinat Malik:

Right? I mean, that's like 400,000 metres that the plane is a lot lower than that right?

Amit Sarkar:

The plane is about 36 to 30 30,000 metres 36,000 metres. Yeah.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah, so 400000 36000 is like, you know, 10% of the actual height of the satellite as far away from the satellite.

Amit Sarkar:

It is far away, but the satellites are much powerful. Imagine, think like this. When you receive when you watch a YouTube video on your phone over the cell phone tower, what's happening

Rinat Malik:

the cellphone tower is transmitting the data to my computer or to my device.

Amit Sarkar:

to your smartphone. But the thing is, the smartphone itself is not just yours. There are many other smartphones. So basically, the bandwidth is being shared. Now think of watching a television. So you're just receiving the signal. You're not transmitting anything, right when you have broadcast television. Satellites are that way very powerful in terms of broadcasting a signal and you're just receiving it. Now, if you want to send a signal back to satellite, of course it requires additional machinery. And that's where you have special satellites that are operated by special companies that can not just broadcast a signal but can also receive a signal send it and then receive back and forth. So that's where companies like Starlink come in. So you have two ways to connect to the internet on an aircraft. One is by the satellite and the other is via the cell phone tower. The cell phone tower has low bandwidth. The satellites have high bandwidth only because satellites are much more powerful compared to cell phones tower. But there are now limitations of all these systems and let's talk about the limitations. When an aircraft is flying, what are the different kinds of terrain it will cover? Can you think of something?

Rinat Malik:

Well, there's all kinds of there is like oceans and then there is mountains and then there are cities with a lot of I would imagine a lot of sort of interruptions in radiofrequency and other frequencies. Yeah.

Amit Sarkar:

So basically when this aircraft is flying over the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean, it wouldn't get a cell phone. So you can't use a Wi Fi where if it is using Air to ground Wi Fi system, then you can't use it when it's flying over the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean or any other ocean. So that's one. If you're flying over Mount Everest of the Himalayas, you won't have a tower so you can't operate there. Right. So those kinds of hostile terrains where you can't installed machinery or towers are out of scope. Now, for the aircraft. What else could be limiting the bandwidth when an aircraft is travelling is the aircraft alone? No, there are multiple aircrafts flying at the same time, mostly separated by say 100 to 200 metre altitude but they are flying to different/almost the same destination. So when I want to go from say London to New York, it's not just one airline that's going there are multiple airlines that are flying one after the other. If the all these airlines want to provide internet, that internet is coming say from Air to ground, kind of a Wi Fi, then that tower is sending Wi Fi to not just one aircraft but multiple aircraft. So the bandwidth gets split plus, on the aircraft itself. There are multiple people who want to access internet so that bandwidth get split further now,

Rinat Malik:

But people in one aircraft is managed by the by a central router

Amit Sarkar:

central router. Yes, but they are still sharing the bandwidth, right? So if I connect a lot of devices to my Wi Fi router, my speed on each device will slow down right? That's what we discuss in the Wi Fi topic. Similarly when you have to share the bandwidth across multiple aircraft and multiple people on a single aircraft, the bandwidth reduces quite a lot. And the way Air-craft manage airlines manage this is by charging you for the internet. And that's where the packages come because the packages are there for people who really wanted so they want to filter out people who don't want to pay so there is less crowd on the Wi Fi

Rinat Malik:

right now. Well I would hardly imagine that's the reason they introduced the pay system because obviously they do also want to make some revenue out of out of it.

Amit Sarkar:

They want to make some revenue, but the customer experience will be very bad if everyone tries to get on the internet. So one of the ways to limit people getting on the internet is by charging them.

Rinat Malik:

So that's very interesting. So I flew quite a few times already this year, but most of them was to the west, sorry, the east of the globe if you have it as a flat map. But end of this year I'm flying to New York and in my flight there is in flight Wi Fi which is included and that's included for everyone. So that's a very interesting sort of offset from when I was flying to East then when I'm flying to west of London, well how are they managing the bandwidth in that scenario, especially crossing the Atlantic Ocean?

Amit Sarkar:

Yes. So so in that scenario satellite comes because Satellite can provide coverage all across the world, no matter where you are. Even on Mount Everest on the top of Mount Everest. So you can provide satellite coverage in the middle of the ocean on top of Mount Everest.

Rinat Malik:

It doesn't matter what's in the Ground.

Amit Sarkar:

Exactly.

Rinat Malik:

So does so what you're saying is when we're like this space between, say, England and China, they're covered with air to ground connections. But then when we go to Atlantic Ocean, it's mostly covered with satellite connection but why not satellite connection throughout the globe because that is so that sounds like the better option.

Amit Sarkar:

True. So when the inflight Wi Fi actually started it started with Air to ground because that was taking the available infrastructure. Remember for TV broadcast and satellite phones, the satellites were still getting launched, but they were the speeds were very slow. And as I said TV is for broadcast. It's not for you don't send a signal back to the television, back to the television satellite. You just receive it and then you use it and the signal is being broadcast everywhere say any antenna that picks up the signal consumes it, so you don't have a bandwidth issue. So those satellites were there, but now you needed new satellites. And those new satellites have now come into the picture. And that's by Starlink who's recently announced that they are going to launch Starlink aviation that is going to provide low latency high bandwidth almost 100 Mbps. I think no, not 100 Mbps up to I think it is, I thing about 300 Mbps. So air to ground is about 20 Mbps then the satellite before starlink was about 20 to 50 even 100 Mbps and with starlink it would be about 300 Plus Mbps. So that's the difference. And the thing is now even with Starlink or any other type of satellite constellation Wi Fi, the signal still has to be shared across different aircrafts. And again on the aircraft itself, you will have other people who are using the internet. Right? so it has to be shared. So again, those limitations are there but if you send a signal closer, what is latency? latency is time it takes to send a signal and receive a response. Suppose something is very far it takes more time to send something and receive something. Suppose you say that okay, I've received 100 KB of data. Then you say okay, I've received 100 KB send me another 100 KB

Amit Sarkar:

But do you receive 100 KB, it takes 10 milliseconds, then you send the signal back saying I've received it 10 millisecond, then it sends the second round of 100 KB another 10 milliseconds. So it's taken 30 milliseconds to receive just 200 KB instead of, say 20 milliseconds. Now it's a Starlink. It takes one millisecond because it's much closer to the aircraft at because it flies at a lower orbit. So it takes to save one millisecond. So now one millisecond, it means that the time to stream a video of say 10 MB, now is reduced so your latency is better so you don't get connecting, connecting, connecting when you are actually watching something on the internet. Right? So in flight, Wi Fi experiences predominantly very bad, because of these limitations, but satellite companies are now getting into the market. And low Earth orbit is where the biggest what we can say, against can be perceived because low Earth orbit is where you can transmit data very quickly to planet earth. And you can talk to the ground station and imagine if Starlink has about 1000 satellites in its constellation, it can provide you coverage anywhere in the world, wherever you are. That's the game changing part.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah, is that is definitely a game changer because yeah, I mean, it's just a completely different game than air to ground because if you don't have any obstructions and you know, all of earth is kind of available to reach So absolutely, yeah, I mean, if there is an option, but I would imagine it's more expensive to do it, rather than air to ground which is probably why you know, the first attempt was to sort of opt for the existing infrastructure.

Amit Sarkar:

Exactly. Plus, the other thing is cell phone towers, they operate at certain frequencies, which are low frequencies, so it can go through the walls. So low frequencies like radio waves, they can go through objects like walls, etc. So that's where you can get a cellphone signal inside your house. Because it can go through the walls, it can go through drains, etc. With us with the satellites. What happened is they did high frequency, high frequencies get obstructed quite easily, but they have more bandwidth, more speed, etc. So

Rinat Malik:

yes, that's not necessarily a limitation that's just tailored to the situation because it's satellite it can do higher frequency with higher bandwidth as a result, but because air to ground or you know, cell towers have to go through walls to make it usable. That's why they have to set up opt for higher frequency. But that's

Amit Sarkar:

low frequency.

Rinat Malik:

Yes, yes, yes. Yes, absolutely. So I'm just trying to summarise what we've just gone through. So there are two different types of connection air to ground for when we're talking about in flight Wi Fi, this air to ground and that has its limitation and also its benefits. From a business perspective, not necessarily from a consumer perspective, I would imagine because the speed is lower, etc, etc. But then there is another type which is satellite to aircraft. And that is more beneficial I would imagine for the consumer. That also has advantages and disadvantages for business, but you know that that's usually the case in any business. So that's the these are the two ways aircraft connects to internet while you're flying. Now. Is there any other aspect of in flight Wi Fi that

Amit Sarkar:

so there is another aspect when you know that aircrafts, sometimes they do crash, and when they do crash, people search for something called a black box. The Black Box records all the data the last few seconds or few minutes of the data or from the flight and then it stores it. And it's made in such a way that it doesn't get destroyed in in the eventuality of a crash. Now, and now there are flight trackers. There are slow sites like flight aware, and many other websites where you can track exactly where the flight is in real time, so you can like within a few seconds you get an update about where the flight is.

Rinat Malik:

I have to say that is such an amazing website. You could just see the whole world and I would like to sort of clarify something to our audience in case you know, it feels like unlikely because if you go and zoom out to see the whole world, you see the whole of our sky is covered in planes. But if you look up in the sky, you don't see any planes the way you know the amount of planes you see on there right now. But that's because it's not the scale. The icons in, as you see in the website they are not to scale. And in actuality, the aircraft is way, way, way smaller. In relation to the earth. So, you know, just so you would be able to see it in in the website that made it a little bit bigger. But yeah, just to be aware of this that just because it seems like there's so many planes flying Yes, there are so many planes flying, but that doesn't mean that it's covering the sky or that they will crash into each other.

Amit Sarkar:

So I mean we talked about in flight Wi Fi but the whole idea about getting internet while you are in air is very important because you want to transmit flight information constantly. Right? In case there is a crash you want to have up to the like, every millisecond or every second you want to send information your height, your speed, what's happening inside the aircraft, etc, etc. So it has got nothing to do with Wi Fi but it has got everything to do with how the technology is progressing in order to provide this capability on air craft. Why? Because a black box itself is a limitation. It's a hardware device. It can it can get damaged or it can get lost if you get crashed in ocean. The ocean currents can take the black box from one location to 1000s of kilometres away from the actual crash site. So it's very difficult to find a black box but if you transmit signals constantly, then you can exactly know where it landed, how it landed, what was the conditions inside etc, etc. And this is why the technology is now being pushed in a way that they want to constantly give information no matter where they are to satellites. So that's why the satellites now come into the picture more prominently because the world is moving in that direction. And then because they are constantly transmitting data, it has the additional benefit of using Wi Fi. So it's not a separate aspect, but I think it is in a way to make progress to make sure that the flight information is being constantly transmitted, rather than just being recorded on the flight.

Rinat Malik:

Absolutely. That's very interesting. And eventually as the technology progresses, I would imagine we would sort of grow out of the need for having a black box not that it's you know, a hindrance to the flight. And there is a there is an anecdotal question which is not necessarily related to inflight Wi Fi but I've heard this question and it was it was kind of fun to sort of think about is that a black box is made in a way that even in the event of a crash, it will survive, right? So someone asked why isn't the whole plane made out of the black box materials. So in the event of a crash, it wouldn't crash. I mean, my initial thought would be that, you know, the material is not going to be flyable because it would be quite heavy. And if the whole plane was made out of fit, it wouldn't be able to take flight but maybe there is another also more pressing reason why….

Amit Sarkar:

that's the reason because if you look at the aircraft material, it's mostly plastics and carbon fibres and aluminium etc. Because the crafts have to withstand very high pressure. very drastic variations in temperatures. Because at the earth level, it's about say 30 degrees 40 degrees 50 degrees. Or minus 2/3/10 degree and when they're for flying at cruising altitude, it's minus 30 degrees. So they have to fly constantly from that altitude. So of course materials are different and they have to be lighter. Because aircraft is limited to the amount of fuel it can carry the distance it can travel is limited to the amount of fuel and can carry the heavier it is the lesser distance it can travel. So they have to reduce the weight of the aircraft. Now if you want to reduce the weight of the aircraft, you can make it with very strong materials, like a Formula One car they have made of carbon fibre, but carbon fibre breaks when it crashes. It breaks into a million pieces. Similarly an aircraft is very light very strong, but when it crashes it breaks right. So of course, it can be made with a blackbox material because there will be firstly heavy it will be very difficult to use it and then it will be it will require a lot of fuel that you can't actually put on an aircraft in order to fly across the ocean.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah, that reminds me of another aspect of aircraft. I mean people also asked like why don't we just like we have Tesla and electric vehicles Why don't we have electric aircrafts? And that's also to think I mean, I think the answer I found was that the batteries required would be so heavy that it wouldn’t be physically possible to take off because of the weight of the batteries required. To power the necessary energy for

Amit Sarkar:

So there are electric Air Craft being considered and you're right. It is limited by the weight of the battery because the best Tesla can go up to 300 to 500 kilometres. Now imagine and that's just a vehicle. So imagine you have air craft that has those batteries that is about 1000 people on it. And that has to fly, say 10,000 kilometres, okay over ocean. So it has to store all that energy in its battery and it has to discharge quickly because it has not just to provide the thrust for the aircraft it has to provide everything. The heating, the air conditioning, the oxygen, the Wi Fi, the Wi Fi everything in the aircraft has to be provided. By the energy inside those batteries. So, what they have started doing is they have looked started looking at Charter Day crafts charted a crafts are very small. They can take about 10 to 20 people and they cover very short distances. So mostly for business trips. So you go from one city to another rather than taking a car you just take a chartered flight and you go quickly. So that use case is where companies are now exploring the use of electric batteries for checking if we can actually provide enough thrust and carry the weight for a short distance.

Rinat Malik:

Right Okay, that's quite interesting to know although a little bit off topic from our our main topic, but yeah, no, it is it is quite interesting. So yeah, to our audience, I mean you know, some of you are maybe most of you have experienced flying in recent years and you probably have been given the option of opting in for internet through Wi Fi and, you know, some of you may have used it. The speed may not be the same as what you get in your home, but it's still an amazing sort of progress of technology that while you're you know, 1000s and 1000s of feet or metres on the air, you can still connect to your loved ones through text messages. And if you pay extra I think you can also have video calls as well in mid-air while you're travelling so that's actually quite a bit of progress in off technology. And it's interesting to know the how the background technology is working, how it's being new and sending that data from, from the aircraft itself. So one of the things that I think is important to take away that when you are ordering inflight facilities, that's actually you know, sometimes you may have wondered that I am using the browser so it's internet, but it's actually not internet but it's intranet, which is a network only within the aircraft. So you're not actually accessing the rest of the world with that. But then once you pay and in some cases nowadays, even the internet you know, the access to outside world is also included in your flight without having to pay it as an add on. But yeah, as the hope is as the time progresses as the technology becomes more and more available. We would, you know, kind of get used to our start to expect internet connection while we're on the aircraft. But, yeah, I'm looking forward to forward looking forward for that day to come. Hopefully you guys had a good understanding on inflight aircraft. Is there anything else that we should cover Amit on this topic?

Amit Sarkar:

I think we have covered everything I think with the Starlink aviation I think in the next two to five years we should see high speed Internet being offered inside aircrafts. Remember I mean we have talked about in flight Wi Fi and there are no underground Wi Fi available as well right. So if you travel in trains, tubes inside, in London, you can actually get Wi Fi signal in your phone, which is incredible. And not just Wi Fi signal but even cell phone signals. So you can actually talk to people while you're in the train. Of course it's very loud, which doesn't serve the purpose, but it's something that is being offered because as technology progresses as people's requirements changes. We have to make sure that everyone has access to internet because you're able to communicate very quickly about any calamity or any issue that that you're facing. So suppose you get trapped inside a tunnel. You can quickly connect with someone and send a message that's so powerful. Of course you are again limited by whether your cell phone has enough charge or not. But smartphone has really revolutionized the way we interact with people all across the world.

Rinat Malik:

Absolutely. And yeah, I mean, just to be able to send a message or even just to be able to Google what do I do in this situation is gonna help save your life if you are ever in that situation? Hopefully not. But yeah, I mean, even the cell phones are available. Signals are available underground in London and probably in many other countries as well. So yeah, it's a lot of technical progress and in aircraft I think one of the things to be thankful of is you know, to be able to connect to your loved ones a lot of us are nervous fliers, but if you are having that extra comfort of being close to your loved ones that might give you that satisfaction or comfort while flying that yes, you are still in connected with your loved ones. And you feel a bit more comforting. The whole experience of flying. So hopefully with that, you guys had a good sort of experience listening to our sort of insight on this topic. Hopefully you guys again, will tune in to our next week's topic and as we go more and more with cover more and more topics in this tech talk, please do feel free to subscribe or save our feed to whichever platform you're listening to us in. and we hope to see you again next week.

Amit Sarkar:

Thank you so much guys.

Rinat Malik:

Thank you.