If you were told you had to test an airplane’s Wi-Fi connection, potatoes might not be the first thing you would think of to use in order to perform such tests. However, Boeing — performing tests of its in-flight Wi-Fi signals to ensure the signal does not affect plane navigation and communication systems — does exactly that according to the Los Angeles Times.
Boeing fills its cabins with 20,000 pounds worth of potatoes to simulate the human body and the effect it has on dispersion and absorption of the wireless internet signals as they travel through the cabin, the results of which allow the company to better optimize its equipment. Though this might seem like a strange method to use, the company says tests have been cut from two weeks to just a few hours thanks to the potatoes.
There are other considerations for optimizing Wi-Fi in the air, of course. In a short video, the company explains how signal variations can shift dramatically even in a small area such as the armrest of a seat. Boeing then has to find the best Wi-Fi signal strength for passengers without interrupting critical plane systems.
Very interesting to say the least. The next time we’re enjoying our bit of Wi-Fi love while in the air, we should remember to pay at least some sort of tribute to the amazing potato. Just remember though, using VoIP while in-flight is still not allowed.