In-flight Wi-Fi made possible by sacks of potatoes

In-flight Wi-Fi potatoes

Boeing has to perform meticulous tests in its cabins to make sure in-flight Wi-Fi signals don’t affect plane navigation and communication systems, but how exactly does it perform its tests? As it turns out, with thousands of potatoes. According to the Los Angeles Times, Boeing fills its cabins with 20,000 pounds worth of potatoes to simulate the effect of the human body. The potatoes accurately depict how our bodies would reflect and absorb Wi-Fi signals as they travel through the cabin, allowing Boeing to better optimize its equipment as a result. The strange method has also dramatically shortened testing times what took two weeks before now only takes a matter of hours.

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 the difficult task of finding the best Wi-Fi signal strength for passengers without interrupting critical plane systems. The new potato testing method looks to have solved some fundamental problems for the company now it just needs to work on the slow internet speeds.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.