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Investigation of the Electromagnetic Interference Threat Posed by a Wireless Network Inside a Passenger Aircraft

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2 Author(s)
Armstrong, N.L. ; Aerosp. Eng. Test Establ., Cold Lake, AB ; Antar, Y.M.M.

Recent years have witnessed an incisive push to allow the use of wireless networks inside passenger aircraft. Research was recently conducted to investigate the internal electromagnetic (EM) environment excited by a wireless network inside a passenger aircraft to provide quantification of the ensuing EM interference threat. An airbus A319 EM model was developed and validated using experimental data and analytical techniques. The validated model was applied to the investigation of an 800 MHz cellular network. The peak electric field strength inside each of the A319 EM models examined was much less than the most severe RTCA/DO-160D radiated susceptibility test levels. The current coupled to a cable running along the length of the fuselage was much less than the minimum operating parameters of an extremely sensitive avionic system (e.g., strain sensor). The results obtained help to quantify and reinforce the conclusion of the major research efforts that the likelihood of interference with flight critical systems is low. The model presented herein can be easily adapted to study EM propagation for various types of wireless network and aircraft configurations, and the modeling approach employed could be of potential use in modeling other large, complex structures.

Published in:

Electromagnetic Compatibility, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

May 2008

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