Encrypted OTR chat initiated. natfriedman: i'm on an airplane over the atlantic they have wifi on these things now this is unbelievable jwz: dude! natfriedman: dude! jwz: that's pretty rad natfriedman: it is so cool! jwz: is it porn-blocked? natfriedman: haha well nat.org and jwz.org load so probably not jwz: if I ask you about the explosives and box-cutters, will you get a visit from the air marshall right now? natfriedman: oh my god! you bastard :-) the guy next to me is so fat he can't put the arm rest down i wish my camera weren't in the overhead bin i would be webcasting this shit the valium is on way too strong for me to do anything about that right now
And then today I read: Tracking Plane Flight on Internet
I just saw my plane cross the mid-Atlantic, not by looking out the window, but by watching routing updates cascade across the Internet. [...] I was able to see the mid-Atlantic shift because the plane I'm on withdrew its routes from the European communications satellites and re-announced them in North America.
The main problem that the Boeing engineers faced is that geostationary satellites are really high up. In fact, they are at least 300ms unidirectional latency all by themselves (that's aircraft->satellite->Europe).
So how did they solve it? They assigned a /24 (256 globally visible IP addresses) to each plane. They announce that network from the origin site (in my case, Europe since I took off from Germany). When the plane is between the two satellites and in view of each, it is programmed to re-connect to the North American satellite. So traffic is always getting to the ground the fastest it can, minimizing latency. In the example above, they were able to cut that latency in half by utilizing this strategy.
The IP addresses on the plane are all NATted, but the plane itself still has a visible /24 of address space.
About 2 hours west of Ireland, my connectivity froze for about two minutes. I had a ping running in the background and it just hung. I waited until it restored, reconnected to my screen session, and sure enough, colleagues at home reported massive routing change associated with that network: Boeing had withdrawn that prefix from their European ground station and advertised it from the North American one. This showed up as a change of origin alert as well as a series of announcement and path change alerts.
Previously, Timekeeping in the Interplanetary Internet.