According to Wired the Boeing 787 Dreamliner connected the networks for passenger services to critical flight systems:
The computer network in the Dreamliner’s passenger compartment, designed to give passengers in-flight internet access, is connected to the plane’s control, navigation and communication systems, an FAA report reveals.
Here’s what a Boeing spokesperson had to say:
…it is employing a combination of solutions that involves some physical separation of the networks, known as “air gaps,” and software firewalls. Gunter also mentioned other technical solutions, which she said are proprietary and didn’t want to discuss in public.
Would it really be that much more costly to create 2 networks. One for the important stuff like navigation and control systems, and another completely independent network for passengers to download porn? Networking gear isn’t that expensive. Internet access at 35,000 feet is high latency anyway.
I’m really not so sure I’d feel comfortable knowing that the same network that’s carrying a Rob Schneider movie to the guy in 11F is also carrying packets intended for the horizontal stabilizer.
Maybe I’m just paranoid. After all, I’m not to comfortable with the Airbus A380 apparently running windows in the cockpit.
Hopefully they get it all figured out quickly.