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Lufthansa takes WiFi Tokyo bound
Posted: 27-Jun-2004 [Source: Mobile Tech News]

[Lufthansa announces second route with FlyNet WiFi in-flight Internet service, this time on flight LH 714 from Munich to Tokyo.]

By Jean Panke, Mobile Tech News -- Lufthansa is continuing to expand its broadband in-flight service, FlyNet. After launching the service on its Munich to LA flight four weeks ago, it began the service on its Munich to Tokyo flight last Monday. Lufthansa expects to have their entire long-haul fleet of 78 planes web-enabled by summer 2006.

Until the 2nd half of 2005, the Internet connection will only be available in the Northern hemisphere. This means that on some flights, for example, coming from the Southern hemisphere, Internet access will only be available for part of the route. An announcement on board will let you know as soon as an Internet connection has been established. The flat fee will be reduced for Internet use on flights with limited availability.

Lufthansa's own FlyNet(R) portal is available free of charge throughout the entire flight as it is provided from the on-board server and therefore no uninterrupted Internet connection is required. The FlyNet portal was developed and is operated by Tomorrow Focus AG. It contains more than 1,000 pages of constantly updated news, the latest stock market reports and weather and travel information in German and English. The hourly update of this portal will only occur when a satellite connection has been established. FlyNet is available in all classes anywhere in the entire cabin as the connection to the server uses a W-LAN system.

Equipment for in-flight broadband Internet services includes a satellite antenna on the tail of the airplane which will automatically adjust to geo-stationary satellites, which are at an altitude of approximately 36,000 km, during the flight. These are TV satellites in the so-called Ku-band range which can be used by aircraft at the same time. Additional servers such as a W-LAN system according to international standards IEEE 802.11b (later also the standards 802.11a and g) will be installed in the planes. This will ensure the connection of the passengers' own W-LAN equipment via the satellite and ground station.

Lufthansa provides its FlyNet portal for no charge. The payment options for FlyNet internet access are a flat-rate cost of $29.95 (USD) per flight for flights over six-hours in duration. For flights less than six hours, a lower rate of $19.95 is available. In addition, a pay-per-minutes rate has been set at $9.95 for a 30-minutes starter package with a .25 charge for each additional minute.

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