Why Boeing uses tubers to test Wi-Fi

Just how valuable are you?

According to aircraft maker Boeing Co., you can be replaced – under certain circumstances – with a sack of potatoes.

That’s what the company used recently in a plane to test Wi-Fi signal quality for the optimum location of access points.

According to the company’s Web site, test engineers created a new process for measuring Wi-Fi propagation in its planes to sure signals are robust but safe.

To verify the approach, they used a decommissioned passenger jet. And filling the seats during these test were sacks of spuds, which apparently are “ideal stand-ins for passengers.”

Because they have eyes? Because they have skin? Because they’re obedient? Because they have no heart and soul?

At any rate, engineers found they have the right properties.

Click here to see a Boeing video on their testing method. Try to keep a straight face looking at rows and rows of sacks of tubers flying nowhere, not bothering stewardess (and not using iPads).

This could be a trend: Network administrators could do the same in corporate environments, with sacks of potatoes resting quietly in office chairs.

Think of it: No one asking for IT support.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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