Monday, April 26, 2010

Cell Phones and Airplanes

If you've ever wondered about the the phone use ban on airplanes, there's more to it than just potential interference with instruments. While that is also a factor, and the FAA's (Federal Aviation Authority) main concern, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has concerns that using cell phones at altitude could disrupt the towers themselves, possibly crashing the system or lowering network capacity.
If a mobile phone is operated from an aircraft in flight above a city, the towers of many different cells may be about equidistant from the phone. Multiple towers might assume that the phone is under their control."
This could cause problems with the tower software, interfere with other calls, or reduce the available network since the phone is now occupying the same channel on multiple towers instead of just one. Check out this infographic for more details.