How Are Airlines Using Fiber Optics to Enhance IFE?

Aircraft cabin technology is always evolving. The days when you’re only option on a flight was to read or sleep have long passed. Today, passengers can enjoy a wealth of in-flight entertainment (IFE) options – including music, movies, TV shows, games and more – on their high-definitive tablet or their personal device using the aircraft’s Wi-Fi. Still, connectivity isn’t perfect in the sky. Anyone who’s used in-flight Wi-Fi knows its limitations and doesn’t expect the same stability or speed one finds in ground-based networks.

One solution airlines have been exploring to fix these limitations is to replace the traditional copper-based systems in their aircraft with fiber optic networks. Fiber optics are a revolution in data transmission, utilizing thin and flexible glass fibers to transform data into light signals, allowing you to stream at the speed of light. The glass texture causes the light to bounce off the walls of the cable as it travels through the core to its destination, allowing data to travel at long distances without diminishing signal quality.

As a result, aircraft with fiber optic implementation are able to retain a significantly stronger and more reliable connection where they’re needed for IFE applications (like seat-back screens). This can be vital when a high number of users are accessing a large database of IFE and in-flight digital services simultaneously.

Benefits of Fiber Optics for In-Flight Entertainment

  • High-Bandwidth: Fiber optics have a higher bandwidth that can transmit large amounts of data at a non-compromised speed throughout the entire length of the cabin, allowing passengers to run multiple applications simultaneously with minimal delay.
  • High-Speed Data Transmission: Fiber optics also has high-speed data transmission so passengers can load high-definition content faster and with less lagging at an increased data transfer rate.
  • Increased Entertainment Options: Because fiber optics increase data efficiency, aircraft are able to accommodate a larger library of content options without compromising the speed or quality of data transmissions.
  • Lightweight Cables: Another notable benefit is how much lighter fiber optic cables are compared to standard copper cables, which helps enhance airline fuel efficiency and reduces operating costs.
  • EMI and RFI Immunity: Fiber optics are also immune to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI), so passengers can stream in-flight entertainment without constant interruptions.
  • Long Transmission Distances: These cables are also capable of long transmission distances, ensuring consistent IFE performance throughout the cabin.
  • Resilient and Durable: Fiber optics are less susceptible to temperature fluctuations, moisture, vibrations and other environmental factors, making them less prone to wear and tear. Because they don’t degrade in signal quality over time, airlines can spend less on maintenance while continuing to rely on the fiber optic cable for many years and miles.
  • Secure: These cables provide more security than traditional copper cables. Their resistance to tapping without detection gives an added layer of security for transmitting sensitive content or data within the aircraft.
  • Setting New Data Standards: Fiber optics are future-proof. Fiber optics can accommodate higher data rates and emerging standards, so airlines can rest assured their IFE systems can remain up-to-date and adaptable without expensive infrastructure overhauls.

We’ve Been Upgrading Cabin Entertainment Technology for Over 40 Years

From streaming movies as smoothly as you could at home to providing real-time flight information and interactive maps, fiber optics bring the passenger and crew experience to new heights. At Rosen Aviation, we’ll ensure that even nervous flyers can rest comfortably in your cabin with high-speed and high-quality in-flight entertainment. We offer the best cabin displays to suit your aircraft and ensure that every trip is comfortable and packed with ample entertainment possibilities.

Our expert designers and technicians have been leaders in the IFE industry for decades and will work hard to bring your aircraft up to tomorrow’s standards. Call 1-888-668-4955 or send us a message to learn more.