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In 1991 the Boeing Airplane Company, then beginning development of the 777 large commercial air transport, contacted ITT Cannon about the fiber optic network that was being planned for this new airplane. Although Cannon had never before supplied a system of this type, David Welsh, then Manager of New Product Development for Cannon,  successfully led a winning proposal effort, then the task of developing five new types of butt joint and expanded beam fiber optic connectors, a new high temperature fiber optic cable design and a Line Replaceable Module containing the 2x2 bypass switches that allow the nodes in this system to be linked into or bypassed from the network.

PlaneNet fiber optic cable assemblies and Bypass Switching Unit
(Boeing Airplane Company)

PlaneNet was the first fiber optic system installed on a commercial air transport. Many concerns about system performance and reliability were overcome during its design and manufacture. The effort put into this resulted in a triumph of both design and reliability engineering. The system's optical performance significantly exceeded requirements, and there has not been a single  failure in service. PlaneNet's perfect record has done a great deal to validate use of fiber optic technology in commercial air transports.

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Copyright 2003 Applied Technology Management
Last modified: February 16, 2007