Characterization of the 2.4- and 5-GHz Channels in a Single-Aisle Commercial Aircraft Cabin Using Ray Tracing

Jorg Von Mankowski, Hansini Vijayaraghavan, Yannik Hilla, Wolfgang Kellerer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accurate aircraft cabin channel models are required to develop not only new technologies for the increasing amount of wireless traffic in the cabin but also robust networks for this distinguished environment. This article presents a methodology for deriving channel models based on a 3-D model of an aircraft cabin and ray tracing. We design a detailed 3-D model based on a Boeing 737-400 aircraft with realistic electrical properties for the components of the cabin. We calculate different channel properties for receiver positions along the aisle and the seat screens and in front of the passengers by processing the obtained ray tracing data. We then propose path loss, tapped delay line, and clustered delay line channel models for 2.4 GHz. In addition, we propose path loss and tapped delay line models for 5 GHz for passenger device receivers. These are analyzed in detail to explain the propagation characteristics of the signal through the cabin. We demonstrate the benefits of describing the channels as functions of seats and rows instead of the Euclidean distance between the transmitter and the receiver. We also show that we can reduce the error of modeling the small-scale effect by using better-fitting random variables than the typically used Rayleigh and Rician. The implications of the channel models are analyzed in detail, revealing the effect and relevance of taking passengers into account. This provides insight into the effects of the cabin structure on the physical layer of the communication and the channel perceived by the receiver and further enables the optimal deployment of the network in the cabin to improve the quality of service for users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1399
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • Aircraft
  • channel model
  • clustered delay line (CDL)
  • multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
  • path loss (PL)
  • single-input single-output (SISO)
  • tapped delay line (TDL)


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