Boeing's Connexion Teams with iPass on Wi-Fi Access

September 14, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

The Connexion unit of Boeing Co. (Chicago, IL) has teamed up with iPass Inc. to offer in-flight wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) access so "road warriors" can go online at 30,000 ft. The deal pairs Boeing's in-flight broadband wiring with iPass's roaming Wi-Fi network to give iPass's 500,000 users high-speed connections during long-haul flights.

Connexion uses satellite backhaul to provide Wi-Fi based connections to passengers and crew on airplanes. Through the agreement, any subscribers to the iPass service will be able to use the Internet access on a plane with Connexion service without paying extra fees. iPass already offers service in 121 airports in 21 different companies. Airlines using Connexion are at many of these airports, including Copenhagen, Narita/New Tokyo and Changi Airport.

One limitation for getting the Connexion service deployed on planes is that the aircraft have to come out of a regular flight schedule and go into an extended maintenance schedule, during which time the Wi-Fi equipment is installed. However, Boeing will eventually do this right off the assembly line.