Aircraft Connectivity

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Aircraft Connectivity

The Internet Comes to Airplanes

The advancement of wireless technology has spurred the development of the Internet of things, in which many devices are being connected to the Internet and are able to access information previously unavailable. Airplanes have joined this trend with the advent of servers and electronic flight bags (EFB). These devices allow the airplane to become a node in the operator’s network that is accessible and can exchange information in real time.

The Advantages of Having the Internet on the Aircraft

Systems on board airplanes produce significant amounts of data throughout each flight. However the data is confined to the airplane and downloaded through a labor intensive process only when needed. Today onboard servers and EFB allow the operators to quickly download the airplane data. Furthermore the connectivity to the Internet allows the crew to access real time information previously unavailable, from weather to updated flight planning information, giving them the capability to further optimize their routing and increase the comfort and safety of the passengers.

The Dangers of Internet Connectivity for the  Aircraft

The connectivity to the Internet is however a two-way pipeline and it carries security risks with it. Modern onboard servers allow the operator to firewall the airplane from external risks, diminishing the downsides of the onboard use of the Internet.


  • What do you think about the advantages of allowing the aircraft to connect to its operator via the internet?
  • What about the dangers of allowing on-board servers to talk to ground operators via the internet?
  • Do passengers think the airplane systems are already connected to the internet?


  1. To spur: inciter
  2. Internet of things: internet des objets
  3. Devices: appareils ou dispositifs
  4. A node: un module
  5. Real-time: en temps réel
  6. Labor intensive process: processus qui demande un travail important
  7. Two-way pipeline: conduit à deux sens
  8. To firewall: établir un coupe-feu

Click here for the longer article from Astronautics Corporation of America