Good wifi in-flight? Thank a potato - WFLA News Channel 8

Good wifi in-flight? Thank a potato

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The next time you update your Facebook status at 30,000 feet, or Instagram a photo of your plane's wing through the window, you can give thanks for the humble potato.

It turns out, potatoes are a lot like humans -- at least, in their ability to absorb wi-fi radio waves. That's why airplane manufacturer Boeing recently filled the seats of an old DC-10 with sacks of spuds, then spent weeks running tests. They wanted to find out why airplane wi-fi signals can be a bit iffy.

Their tests showed areas with strong signals, and other spots where you might not get a single bar. It all depended on how many potatoes, or people, were stacked in the seats.

The results of this testing should lead to better, more reliable wireless Internet signals on future flights.

And in case you're wondering, Boeing came up with an appropriate name for the testing project. It's called "SPUDS", or Synthetic Personnel Using Dialetric Substitution.

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