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In this white paper, "AeroMACS: A common platform for air traffic management applications," sponsored by the WiMAX Forum, I  looked at wireless applications that support the ground segment of air traffic management. AeroMACS is the technology that can bring broadband connectivity in airports to connect fixed and mobile assets, staff, and aircraft, to airlines, airport authorities and traffic control agencies.

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The communications infrastructure in airports is bursting at the seams. It is a collection of legacy technologies not designed to cope with today’s traffic volumes and connectivity needs of aircraft,
mobile and fixed assets, sensors, and staff throughout the airport and on the aircraft.

Some airports try to cope with the limitations of these old narrowband technologies by complementing them with more advanced cellular and Wi-Fi technologies. These technologies have w
ider bandwidth, but they do not meet the stringent requirements of air traffic management and control, so they can take on only a complementary role. Airlines, airports, air traffic agencies, and airport authorities use them when and where they are available and have sufficient capacity, but cannot rely exclusively on them for mission-critical applications.

This fragmented and inefficient coexistence of multiple wireless technologies leaves all stakeholders dissatis
fied. A complete overhaul of airports’ ground wireless communications infrastructure is necessary to support the air traffic control and management envisioned by the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) in the United States, the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) in Europe, and traffic control authorities in Asia-Pacific countries such as China and Japan.
 
AeroMACS, the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System, is a technology that enables ground traffic management to move beyond the frustrating hodgepodge that exists now. AeroMACS has the capacity, performance, security and reliability to support a wide range of air traffic applications connecting staff and fixed and mobile assets across the airport area, whether within a single network or multiple ones. It supports a multitude of coexisting applications over a single platform shared by air traffic control agencies, airlines and airports, using the Aeronautical Mobile (Route) Service (AM(R)S) band (5091–5150 MHz) for airport ground applications allocated for safety and traffic control worldwide, by the ITU at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 (WRC-07).

In our previous paper, “Enabling the next generation in air traffic management with AeroMACS,” we outlined the role of AeroMACS within the ground air-traffic environment, the drivers to adoption, and how AeroMACS meets the industry’s requirements.

In this paper, we move a step forward to focus on the applications that AeroMACS enables and that benefit three stakeholder groups: airlines, airports and air traffic agencies. AeroMACS supports each individual application, but its main strength is the flexibility to support multiple applications, with different requirements, concurrently, and in a scalable and cost-effective way. This flexibility is crucial to justifying the concerted investment in AeroMACS that all three stakeholders will have to make and to achieve the economies of scale that the wid
e adoption of AeroMACS creates.

We first look at how the AeroMACS platform supports the coexistence of multiple applications – to connect to the aircraft, mobile staff, and mobile and fixed assets. We then explore the application set – existing applications that can be moved to AeroMACS, and new ones that the legacy deployed infrastructure cannot support – for each of the three stakeholders: airlines, airports and air traffic agencies. Finally, we discuss the business models that may support a thriving ecosystem for air traffic control.

Download the first paper  “Enabling the next generation in air traffic management with AeroMACS”

Download the new paper "AeroMACS: A common platform for air traffic management applications"
 
 
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