New Boeing Test Uses Potatoes to Improve Wi-Fi, Other Wireless Signals
Boeing engineers discovered that potatoes serve as the ideal stand-in for actual passengers as their presence in the aircraft causes electronic signals to behave the same way as a human presence would. The new testing methodology, carried out in a decommissioned aircraft on the ground, allows the Chicago-based company to conduct extensive testing without having to fill an aircraft with hundreds of people.
Boeing says that the new procedures have reduced testing time from two weeks to ten hours. Inside an airplane, a wireless signal can deviate randomly as passengers move about the cabin. Boeing used the tests in conjunction with statistical analysis to identify strong and weak areas within the cabin and balance them, thereby improving wireless connectivity and improving the overall passenger experience.
The testing process has tremendous applicability and was first devised to ensure that Boeing aircraft could meet regulatory safety standards that protect an aircraft’s critical electrical systems against interference.
After testing, Boeing said it donated the potatoes to a food bank.