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Old 17-12-2013, 12:53   #61
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

"This is a case of putting convenience before safety, have no doubts."
It is openly acknowledged by the FAA and the airline industry that, at least in the US, airline safety decisions are made on a purely financial basis. Like the exploding center fuel tanks on 747's that brought down TWA800 (?). The FAA does the math, and says "Gee, if this is left alone it will kill ten passengers a year. The average wereguild for the average passenger is $3.8 million, so this costs $38 million per year. If it will cost the airline industry more than $38 million per year to fix this, we don't order a fix, we let it be."

Yes, it is that simple. In the case of the fuel tank sparks, the FAA mandate for the correction gave the industry something like ten years to fix the fleets.

Pretty much the whole airline industry thinks and works that way. In the 1980's they successfully petitioned Congress to shut down the domestic Sky Marshal program because it specifically "cost too much". After 9/11 and $50-odd billion in consequential and immediate damages...someone rethought the math. Although they still haven't been given the bill for it.

Cell phones? Hey, that could pay for sky marshals, couldn't it?
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Old 17-12-2013, 17:32   #62
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
El Rubio-
I don't mean to say all the issues are trivial or that the laws of physics aren't to be considered. But once one accounts for how the laws of physics seem to be operating locally, there are still issues with how any cell system handles the calls. And those issues often come down to "We don't want to spend money on...." from the carriers, rather than limits of the technology. Which each of them prefers to keep proprietary and incompatible with everything and everyone else anyway.

They prefer to throw FUD at everything, and my point is only that if the systems can be improved, it often requires only competent programming. Which is actually damned hard to find these days. Case in point: the IRS threw out years of "reprogramming" not so long ago, and now Healthcare.gov is still losing, transposing, and corrupting data. ROTFLMAO, because there's really no excuse for what is accepted as "competent" programming these days. Three guys will say "impossible" three more will say "very difficult, very expensive, but we can do it" and then the next guy will say "Give me an hour or two, and how would you like the display?" and just DO IT.

Or, as the column in Scientific American used to say, the rest is "just a simple exercise left to the reader". (It usually was anything but simple.)

So, yes, trivial programming. The programmers can't change physics, but they certainly could give me a busy signal instead of routing a call to voice mail when the circuits were busy. Choices like that are simply not even offered to the rubes, because a busy signal is free, but a voicemail gains airtime charges not just once, but twice.

"HEY RUBE!"

They can do better. They just don't want to.
I find it difficult to follow your logic because I feel you may be injecting much hyperbole and exaggeration. You are missing the point. You claim that there is no desire to improve services and products and that there are no capable engineers or "programmers" to get it done. In reality, those engineers and programmers have brought you a solution that doesn't cause the problems that trying to interface with existing land-based wireless network does. The small cells, FEMTO cells, or pico cells, are just a few examples of how the demand has driven the development of mobile cellsites. Similar technology is used in large venues, stadiums, hotels, etc where coverage was not as good because of what boils down to interference from frequency reuse. Many of these systems use multi-band/technology radios that all of the major carriers can share the same same facilities. It's an ingenious method to expand service to areas not possible before. I'm pointing this out because you seem to have little faith in the people that produce wireless products and services. Your view is narrow and uninformed.
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Old 17-12-2013, 17:42   #63
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

Let's not confuse the engineers with the people who drive the trains. [sic]

There are good engineers and bad engineers, and loads of inept programmers. In both cases it is difficult for "management" to hire competent, let alone brilliant, people simply because management often has no good way to judge competence other than track record--which would mean hiring the oldest most expensive people, and that just ain't gonna happen in most cases.

My complaint is that the people who are running the show, the carriers, are full of FUD and their first response is always to blow smoke or simply lie. They usually are not aware of any real engineering or technical issues, and they will not discuss or respond to them, or allow the real engineers to answer the phone. Once upon a time, you could call Motorola and actually speak to someone who knew cell phone design and performance, but don't even think about that today. Pretty much the same with all the carriers and phone makers, no one who knows the technology is allowed to speak to the public.
Ask them a simple question like "How far offshore can my cell phone work?" and you'll never hear someone say "Well, we've programmed the network to reject calls that are more than 16 miles from a tower, because of latency issues." (Whatever the current limit is.) They'll just say "Oh, gee, well, we're the most powerful network..." or "If you buy a new phone it will work better."

Ask them if there's coverage and they'll say "look at the web map". Ask them if there's a tower in a certain area, so you know there will be coverage, and they won't tell you. Cell site location is considered a highly classified security matter by the cellcos, you'll have to drive the streets and look for the subtle group of antennas to get the real answer. (The FCC database that you can access, if far from all-inclusive.)

There's no reason for all the smoke and magic, really, is there?
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Old 17-12-2013, 19:26   #64
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Let's not confuse the engineers with the people who drive the trains. [sic]

There are good engineers and bad engineers, and loads of inept programmers. In both cases it is difficult for "management" to hire competent, let alone brilliant, people simply because management often has no good way to judge competence other than track record--which would mean hiring the oldest most expensive people, and that just ain't gonna happen in most cases.

My complaint is that the people who are running the show, the carriers, are full of FUD and their first response is always to blow smoke or simply lie. They usually are not aware of any real engineering or technical issues, and they will not discuss or respond to them, or allow the real engineers to answer the phone. Once upon a time, you could call Motorola and actually speak to someone who knew cell phone design and performance, but don't even think about that today. Pretty much the same with all the carriers and phone makers, no one who knows the technology is allowed to speak to the public.
Ask them a simple question like "How far offshore can my cell phone work?" and you'll never hear someone say "Well, we've programmed the network to reject calls that are more than 16 miles from a tower, because of latency issues." (Whatever the current limit is.) They'll just say "Oh, gee, well, we're the most powerful network..." or "If you buy a new phone it will work better."

Ask them if there's coverage and they'll say "look at the web map". Ask them if there's a tower in a certain area, so you know there will be coverage, and they won't tell you. Cell site location is considered a highly classified security matter by the cellcos, you'll have to drive the streets and look for the subtle group of antennas to get the real answer. (The FCC database that you can access, if far from all-inclusive.)

There's no reason for all the smoke and magic, really, is there?
Why should a carrier put in place technical people to answer a one in a million caller like you. It's nonsense. Jeez I've never seen such paranoia

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Old 17-12-2013, 20:06   #65
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

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Originally Posted by pbiJim View Post
When flying small single-engine planes, I've always left my cell phone on & never noticed any interference with the navigational or communications equipment that was on board. This goes back as far as the old 1980's era analog phones & includes today's smart phones. That would tend to suggest that perhaps the whole technical argument against allowing cell phones to be used on planes has always been a bunch of hog wash.
That's surprising, because I have, on numerous occasions.

The interference was minimal, a minor annoyance over comms that was for a brief period, but it did happen. I didn't notice any interference on the nav equipment, but the noise coming through my headset was really annoying and distracting. There was one time in particular that it was distracting me to the point that I nearly went missed just to sort it out and shoot the approach again, mainly because I was having trouble hearing over the radio and focusing with the aggravating noise in the background. It was annoying enough for me to eventually start requesting people to turn their phones off until we were out of the busier areas.

It seems to me the only common factor in all the cases were the phones, I had it happen in several different airplanes. The company I used to work for issued Blackberry phones and it only ever happened when one was left on. I never picked up interference from any other phones.
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Old 17-12-2013, 20:50   #66
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In fact cell phones do interfere with other electronics. And other electronics interfere with cell phones.

Your screen and speakers are hearing the pulsed RF from your phone. While the average power out of a phone is low the peak ERP can be double digit watts to reach distant cell towers. If your phone is interfering then move it further away from the computer and try to place it where it gets maximum bars. That reduces the power and extends battery life.

If airlines use microcells that will reduce the chance of interference on board because the cell phones can operate at greatly reduced power.
About 5 years ago, i had a Motorola flip phone (ruggedized) from my job. Crappy Nextel service. I slept with the phone on my nightstand next to my clock radio. I would always be able to tell when I was about to have the phone start ringing from an incoming call because I would hear clicking and humming coming from the clock radio speaker, which was turned off at the time. It wold sound a full 2-3 seconds before the phone rang. I would be able to tell I was getting a call even when I had the ringer turned off on the phone. It seems the phone automatically goes into transmit mode after sensing a call directed to it.

BTW, the reduced power issue brought up by Dan is a good point.
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Old 17-12-2013, 20:51   #67
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Forget the interference argument. Who wants to go on a flight pinned next to some yahoo that is engaged in an argument with his or her spouse or have to sit through some discussion on a business proposition. Or listen to a long discourse on how beautiful their children are. Sheesh. I have yet to see a situation where I could not be out of phone contact for three or four hours while on a flight. Are we really that addicted to the #@!!$&% electronic world?
Don't you ever take a commuter rail train ride? I deal with that crap everyday. Inconsiderate boobs.

This illustrates the issue pretty well:

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Old 18-12-2013, 04:31   #68
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Originally Posted by Joe from ny View Post

About 5 years ago, i had a Motorola flip phone (ruggedized) from my job. Crappy Nextel service. I slept with the phone on my nightstand next to my clock radio. I would always be able to tell when I was about to have the phone start ringing from an incoming call because I would hear clicking and humming coming from the clock radio speaker, which was turned off at the time. It wold sound a full 2-3 seconds before the phone rang. I would be able to tell I was getting a call even when I had the ringer turned off on the phone. It seems the phone automatically goes into transmit mode after sensing a call directed to it.

BTW, the reduced power issue brought up by Dan is a good point.
Actually cell phones are chit chatting away to the network all the time they are on.

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Old 18-12-2013, 05:22   #69
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

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Actually cell phones are chit chatting away to the network all the time they are on.

Dave
Yes they are but the chit's are really short and usually reduced power. They're just brief pings to find out which phones are within a particular cell. But when a call is incoming the chit chat goes way up and also the power goes up to make sure it all goes quickly. All those messages back and forth as the call is being set up can interfere with nearby electronics and people often hear a buzz in a radio or stereo before the phone rings. But it doesn't mean clairvoyance is at work<g>.
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Old 18-12-2013, 06:16   #70
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

joe-
The interference on nearby radios, etc. was also well documented with TDMA phones from AT&T. You could tell they were about to ring by the noise on a car stereo, same way.

Dave-
"Jeez I've never seen such paranoia "
You've probably never heard the saying that you're not paranoid if there's someone out to get you. Why should the cellcos LIE when saying "I don't know" or something equally simple would do? If a customer wants to know how to make a phone work better (i.e. add an external antenna or a picocell or both) it has only been recently that the cellcos would even mention the concept. After word got around that they were distributing such devices for customers who were going to walk away because they couldn't get service otherwise. Now of course, the logic has changed and they're glad to SELL the extra devices to try capturing home phone line service.
Or maybe you don't remember the way the US cellcos swore they'd never sell phones with GPS, because they could sell phones with AGPS and AGPS only, and charge an extra ten bucks a month to parse the location data for customers, while Europeans and Japanese had full-blown GPS for free? Paranoia? Then they reversed their "never" position, mainly because they needed the bandwidth for other things.
Oh, right, and we'd never get WiFi calling on cell phones. When the rest of the world had it. Until that position was also reversed, because they were out of bandwidth.
And every estimate is that SMS "text" messages have something between a 1000% and 5000% profit margin, compared to other data. Which finally got so embarrassing that the cellcos prefer to just sell it as part of unlimited bundles now.

Hell, even PTBarnum's own writings said never abuse the rubes--they tend to take their business elsewhere if you do.

Paranoia? Hell no, those folks are experts at separating you and your money and they lie repeatedly and poorly. Luckily for them, most of the rubes have no technical education and no idea why some things can or can't be done.

I know someone who sometimes needs to record his phone calls, legally, for business purposes. He can't do it with a "stock" US cell phone, even though a Chinese or Korean or EU phone can do it. Why? Well, it seems that there's a small Android function call that allows the call audio to be stored as a file. And that function call has been deleted from practically ALL US cell phones, all carriers, all makers. And no one will admit to deleting it, or why. I asked one carrier why they crippled the phone and they said oh, that's to prevent you from violating the laws against illegal recording. Well, no, there's no federal law about that, and no law against it in about half the states, either. But on the other hand, clandestine VIDEO recording is illegal in many states, and they allow the same cell phones to do that.

So, protecting us? Why lie ??? Paranoia? OK, you go find out why the code is deleted from US phones. Doesn't seem like it would be to anyone's advantage, but someone is modifying the Android OS on every phone--and just in the US marketplace.

So folks who are required to record calls (i.e. the SEC requires brokers to record calls under some circumstances) have to resort to kludged hardware, or buying "international" phones from overseas. That's not paranoia, that's damned inconvenient.
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Old 18-12-2013, 07:21   #71
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

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The effect whether created digitally or originally as a function of the microphone and speaker being on the same circuit is still sidetone. In modem cellphones the speakers voice is replayed in the earpiece.

Hence it has nothing to do with why people spread loudly on a cell phone lol

Dave
Well, then, if they are the same, why do people talk so much louder on cell phones? Or, are you saying they don't and all of us who think they do are crazy?

And, as far as why phone are required to be a certain way, CALEA is one of those reasons. CALEA is one of the laws that requires phone service providers to enable wiretapping on their phones by the government. And, yes, there are many features that are built into U.S. phones, just for that purpose.
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Old 18-12-2013, 08:59   #72
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

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Well, then, if they are the same, why do people talk so much louder on cell phones? Or, are you saying they don't and all of us who think they do are crazy?
I also notice that people speaker louder on landline phones ( remember those haven't used one in a while )

I think on mobiles, in public, its because there is often significant background noise and issues with VOX switching , handsfree etc. All this has tended to make people raise their voice. But i don't think its anything to do with sidetone.


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Old 18-12-2013, 10:14   #73
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

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I also notice that people speaker louder on landline phones ( remember those haven't used one in a while )

I think on mobiles, in public, its because there is often significant background noise and issues with VOX switching , handsfree etc. All this has tended to make people raise their voice. But i don't think its anything to do with sidetone.


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Got it. You think we're crazy.
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Old 18-12-2013, 11:19   #74
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Let's not confuse the engineers with the people who drive the trains. [sic] There are good engineers and bad engineers, and loads of inept programmers. In both cases it is difficult for "management" to hire competent, let alone brilliant, people simply because management often has no good way to judge competence other than track record--which would mean hiring the oldest most expensive people, and that just ain't gonna happen in most cases. My complaint is that the people who are running the show, the carriers, are full of FUD and their first response is always to blow smoke or simply lie. They usually are not aware of any real engineering or technical issues, and they will not discuss or respond to them, or allow the real engineers to answer the phone. Once upon a time, you could call Motorola and actually speak to someone who knew cell phone design and performance, but don't even think about that today. Pretty much the same with all the carriers and phone makers, no one who knows the technology is allowed to speak to the public. Ask them a simple question like "How far offshore can my cell phone work?" and you'll never hear someone say "Well, we've programmed the network to reject calls that are more than 16 miles from a tower, because of latency issues." (Whatever the current limit is.) They'll just say "Oh, gee, well, we're the most powerful network..." or "If you buy a new phone it will work better." Ask them if there's coverage and they'll say "look at the web map". Ask them if there's a tower in a certain area, so you know there will be coverage, and they won't tell you. Cell site location is considered a highly classified security matter by the cellcos, you'll have to drive the streets and look for the subtle group of antennas to get the real answer. (The FCC database that you can access, if far from all-inclusive.) There's no reason for all the smoke and magic, really, is there?
Your opinions are generalized and speculative. There are no programmers writing code. It doesn't work that way. How far offshore? It depends. There is no simple answer because land based carriers don't have license to operate offshore. There is a large offshore carrier in the north central gulf of mexico and they don't take kindly to the land based carriers operating in their area.

There is no distance limit per se. TimingAdvance is used more as a reporting tool by engineers to troubleshoot customer problems. It's used for determine rough location of trends such as dropped calls or other failures. In other words, a tool used by those dumb engineers that can't, no won't, let you choose a busy signal instead of VM.

There are inherent limits to certain technologies. In GSM 16 calls can share the same frequency divided by time. In your perception, one customer should be able to occupy as many of those timeslots as necessary because the latency is colliding with other timeslots. The carriers have a choice, make one customer happy while pissing off 3 or 4 others, or make 3-4 happy and piss off 1. Here is where the engineers come in. A scheme is designed that will triple that distance without causing collisions. You don't see it, don't know it, but you spread the disinformation, and hold the engineers that solved another problem as inept because you don't know what they're doing and none will take the time away from that work to chit chat with you about it. You're beating up on engineers, but you are misinformed.
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Old 18-12-2013, 12:01   #75
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Re: FCC and In Flight calls

It sounds like we need an area on the plane for people who have children under 2 and for people who want to talk on a cell phone. They could be placed in the same area at the back of the plane with highly efficient sound absorbing material on the bulkheads.

Some people will never understand that it is RUDE to force others to have to listen to their phone conversations. Then there are those who do know but don't give a damn about others. These are the same creeps who talk on the phone in restaurants.

An airplane is more densely packed with people than is a restaurant. The same consideration towards others should be given to people who are seated a few feet next to these cellphone chatterboxes.

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