"What is your ability to support delivery on the 787 in the 3rd quarter 2011?"That's one of the questions being asked by Boeing in a request for information (RFI) for an Inmarsat SwiftBroadband-supported satcom interface and onboard mobile telephony installation for the 787.
NOTE: The RFI, obtained by yours truly, is, by nature of the definition, an information-gathering vehicle. It is not a request for proposals. Ya'll know the difference, but its worth underscoring that point.
Also, I asked Boeing for comment and it declined, saying: "We do not comment on RFIs and have no additional comment to offer."
Key info from my Flightglobal article:
Boeing's preferred solution for installation of an onboard mobile telephony system (OMTS) is to have it integrated with the IFE system.Key info not in my initial story (because as RWG readers you're special...seriously):
As a minimum Boeing would like to see all server and control functions integrated into existing IFE components.
As part of the RFI, Boeing will also evaluate a non-integrated or standalone OMTS solution.
Boeing is also evaluating multiple SwiftBroadband architectures, and asks that respondents to the RFI address the integration of these architectures and any issues, limitation or benefits their system would have with the different architectures. (The pic above shows Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband global coverage.)
For an integrated IFE/OMTS system, Boeing wants to know what services will be offered - voice, data, SMS, send/receive, web, email or other.
It also wants a detailed system/design architecture, saying "incorporation of OMTS on the 787 will follow current and future ARINC 824 industry standards".
The Boeing RFI says that, for an integrated IFE/OMTS system, Boeing assumes a leaky feeder coax antenna system will be used for the OMTS. It also says the 787 programme would prefer to utilize a leaky feeder antenna system that also supports Wi-Fi.But let's get back to that key question:
With regard the SwiftBroadband system interface, Boeing asks: "Would your system interface with a SwiftBroadband system as the off-board link (i.e. IP-based)?" The airframer says its preferred method is PPPoE (streaming or back ground) and the OMTS must have an Ethernet based interface to a broadband off-board system and digital communication circuits with voice priority.
The airframer also wants to know how many simultaneous calls respondents can support and how much dedicated bandwidth is required.
What is your ability to support delivery on the 787 in the 3rd quarter 2011, asks Boeing in its RFI.
Jiminy cricket! Please tell me that Boeing will get passenger connectivity on board the 787 sooner than that. Because if it doesn't, won't those initial deliveries, now scheduled for 4Q 2010, look less than state-of-the-art?
It is worth noting that Boeing is gathering info on an in-flight mobile connectivity service, despite the fact that the USA doesn't permit the in-flight usage of cell phones!!!
It is also worth noting that there are, at present, two main providers in the mobile connectivity sector - Arinc/Telenor partnership AeroMobile and Airbus/SITA JV OnAir.
And, it is also worth noting that, should Boeing take the SwiftBroadband path, it won't be the first to do so. Airbus' airline network architecture ALNA v2 is a multi-programme, scalable and modular platform that enables an onboard mobile telephone system and light Internet via SwiftBroadband. (Does Airbus look ahead of the curve or what?)
Oman Air is getting the first ALNA v2-equipped widebody on 27 November. The carrier will offer OnAir mobile services. I told you that bird would be special.
And good gracious, but isn't that a lot of noteworthy stuff?