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Mobile Communications On-board Aircraft

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Definition Edit

Mobile Communications On-board Aircraft (MCA) technology is identical to normal mobile roaming in that airline passengers are billed through their service provider. The tariffs applied usually correspond to "Roaming: rest of the world" prices. Wi-Fi is also used for MCA but is not subject to specific rules because its low power does not pose interference risk with ground-based radio services.

MCA does not cover the communication between the aircraft and the ground which is currently provided by satellite-based systems. New satellites should allow ten times greater capacity than what is available today.

How the MCA system works Edit

The signal is received by an antenna on board the aircraft and sent to the ground network via a satellite connection. The signal is limited in power to ensure it does not interference with other communications.

The system is based on three main parts: the mobile terminals, the Network Control Unit, and the aircraft base station.

Source Edit

  • European Commission, Surfing in the sky: Commission gives airlines green-light for 3G and 4G broadband services on board aircraft (Nov. 14, 2013) (full-text).

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