·           10th-15th November 2003: WAEA meeting in Hamburg


The first important demonstration of the Wireless Cabin project took place in Hamburg at the Airbus facility in Finkenwerder. The World Airline Entertainment Association was having its “Wireless Onboard” conference and was hosted by Airbus. As one of the leading projects in the field, Wireless Cabin was represented at this event. And a demonstration of a preliminary version of the system was an important side-show to the presentations and discussions.

At this point of time the system was able to demonstrate a call from a GSM mobile to a fixed terrestrial telephone via a satellite link and possibly use the rest of the bandwidth for e-mails and web browsing via Wireless LAN. A representation of the architecture of the system as it was presented at the WAEA meeting in Hamburg, is depicted in the figure below.


Figure 1 WirelessCabin demonstrator architecture in November 2003


·         May 2004: ILA air show in Berlin


After this first event on WAEA, the major work was put on enhancing the demonstrator in terms of stability and functionality.

Therefore in January and March 2004, two Implementation Meetings of the WirelessCabin demonstrator team took place at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen. During these two weeks, the different parts of the software and hardware from the various consortium partners were integrated into the system. The final layout of the network was decided then and implemented.

The improved and extended version of the set-up was then demonstrated on the ILA air show in Berlin. For WirelessCabin, it was the chance to demonstrate the future capabilities on board commercial aircrafts to a broad range of public and professional visitors. There was also an interview and demonstration on one of the main scientific magazines on the German television as well as a few articles in national newspapers. The demonstrator displayed to the public for the first time a call from a mobile phone to a terrestrial telephone via a satellite link, along with many additional services for the crew (traffic control and monitoring, emergency calls to the ground, quality of service management, billing, etc…) and passengers (internet browsing, e-mails, voice over IP, GSM calls). This was the main full scale demonstration of the system before the preparation of the test flights.


·         August 2004: Ground Tests at Airbus (Toulouse)

The final ground tests were carried out in Toulouse from the 18th to the 20th of August on board the first Airbus A340-600. This aircraft, which was the first of its kind built by Airbus is commonly used as a test aircraft. It is actually the longest aircraft in the world. The entire demonstrator was integrated in the cabin and all scenarios were carried out using the already inetgrated satellite terminal (Swift 64) and antenna of the aircraft.

After a few problems, all scenarios were carried out successfully, including a W-LAN connection to the telemedicine equipment which was fully included in the Demonstrator for the first time. This section was the last opportunity to update all the scenarios’ checklists for the test flight due early September.


·         September 2004: Test Flight at Airbus (Toulouse)

As highlight of the demonstrator development and integration, a test flight was carried out with the complete WirelessCabin demonstrator set-up. The test flight lasted about 2,5 hours and was conducted from Toulouse some way above the Mediterranean and then back to Toulouse.

The trial was quite successful, and the only major problem was the satellite connection which was lost for a short period of time. But after all, during the given time all major scenarios described in Deliverables D15 and detailed in D19 could be successfully conducted: GSM phone calls to and from ground, calls with H.323 clients to and from ground, streaming audio content from onboard and from ground and streaming onboard video content to notebooks and PDAs, Telemedicine demonstration, etc.

Figure 2 Airbus A340-600 test flight team