Cisco Blogs

Wi-Fi at 36,000 feet

- April 6, 2006 - 1 Comment

It seems my colleagues Matt and Alan have been getting some recent air time. I too had the pleasure of boarding a plane lately. Once onboard, I usually tune out the flight attendant’s emergency pitch; partly out of fear, but mostly in an attempt to catch a brief cat nap. To form, the flight attendant requested that all laptops and cell phones be turned off. Yet, what caught my attention was her insistence that anything using Wi-Fi technology be left in the off position for the duration of the flight.It occurred to me at this point that Wi-Fi has truly become a household term. Just as iPod and broadband are words repeated in homes across America, so too has Wi-Fi secured its place amongst the lexicon of the average individual. That’s great news!Of course, the bad news is that not everyone really understands Wi-Fi. Yes, I know this may come as a shock to those of us that wake up searching for a hotspot and go to bed clutching our wireless cards. But, how else can we explain the flight attendant’s desire to ban onboard Wi-Fi. I’m sure that Connexion by Boeing ( would have a word or two to say about that.Nonetheless, as the plane touched down I was comforted to know that all of our work in bringing Wi-Fi to the masses is starting to pay dividends. Now if only I could have checked the current Cisco stock price from 36,000 feet!

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  1. I flew across the Atlantic recently on a plane where WiFi was allowed and was connected by satellite to the real world.Not only did I surf the net, do my e-mail and check the stock prices, I also successfully made a Skype telephone call. The quality was excellent, albeit with some noticeable delay (a ping round trip was 700ms), even though I only had the laptop speaker and microphone (the plane was mostly empty so others were not disturbed).Next time I will be taking a headset ... and an extra battery.