Providing ATM-grade and resilient networks as a service

written by Staff reporter | October 12, 2020

Frequentis Remote_Digital_Tower_27
Frequentis understands the Air Traffic Management domain and the specific requirements of even the largest of airspaces. (Shown, their Remote Digital Tower)

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Air traffic control (ATC) organisations need to share large quantities of data to ensure situational awareness and airspace safety. Consistent and reliable network performance without service interruption is essential for the safety-critical air traffic management (ATM) environment.

Communications and networks must be able to keep aircraft flying and passengers safe, in addition to being prepared if scenarios suddenly change.

The technical part

Most conventional networks only react to total link loss, known as blackouts, however, the Frequentis vitalsphere NetBroker ensures the business continuity and performance required of an ATM-grade network through brown-out detection, flow-based routing, and bandwidth optimisation.

Vitalsphere’s many advantages range from significant bandwidth reduction, higher service availability, through to a unified management system. The solution optimises bandwidth consumption while complying with required standards, leading to significant operational savings (OPEX), especially over expensive transmission links such as satellite communications.

Moreover, the Frequentis network management system (NMS) aggregates holistically the performance status of the network. This reduces the overhead efforts on managing and troubleshooting a complex ATM network.

Complete managed networks for ATM

If customers procure the network as a managed service, instead of hiring, building and operating it as a capital investment, this can reduce risk and operational expenses. The customers can rent the network service and only pay when the service meets the required standards.

Frequentis recently carried out one of these network management projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, named MEVA (Mejoras al Enlace de Voz del ATS).

ATM in the Latin America and Caribbean region required a regional approach to enhance radar and voice coverage and provide visibility across borders. Frequentis provides satellite links as a managed service, monitoring the status and the availability of the network, end to end. If the service required is not provided the user does not pay.

The MEVA network provides interactive voice and data telecommunication services and a transport layer for ADS-B. The region benefits from enhanced air traffic safety and efficiency. This solution allowed member states to share data more easily, improving network reliability and performance.

Frequentis’ ATM-grade network portfolio vitalsphere offers innovative network infrastructure solutions for safety-critical operations within a range of business models. It includes products and services required to provide end-to-end solutions from network design to its operation.

If a customer opts for a managed-service model, the initial asset investment and operational and maintenance expenses are combined into a single fee that starts with the network operation. With a network as a service, the customer pays that monthly fee without the need of financing the infrastructure deployment upfront. One important benefit for the ANSP is that the operational risk is fully consumed and mitigated by Frequentis, including preventative maintenance and required upgrades to meet the agreed service levels.

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Going beyond standard network services

Unique to Frequentis, the vitalsphere NetBroker continually compares network conditions in relevant traffic classes and network segments, matching them with a set of application-specific performance targets. Normal networks do not take into account network services on an application level, but Frequentis understands that certain services require duplicated traffic or have specific timing needs, making this an essential feature.

The Frequentis solution also supports a degraded service mode (graceful degradation), which lets the user understand if the quality and performance of a network is decreasing. Less vital information can be removed, for example image colour in remote tower applications. Frequentis understands the ATM domain and the specific requirements of even the largest of airspaces, like for example Australia, therefore we are able to offer tailored managed service solutions that support the specific needs of the current and future Australian ATM environment.

Frequentis is continuously investing a large share of its revenue into research and development, adapting its solutions to the latest technologies and business models. This ensures that the end-user can protect their investments with the ability to update and upgrade the complete range of network services. Providing complete bespoke products included in the vitalsphere portfolio, Frequentis can ensure safe, seamless and cost-effective ATM operations.

Company info

Frequentis, headquartered in Vienna, is an international supplier of communication and information systems for control centres with safety-critical tasks. Such ‘control centre solutions’ are developed and marketed by Frequentis in the business sectors air traffic management (civil and military air traffic control, air defence) and public safety and transport (police, fire brigade, ambulance services, shipping, railways). As a global player, Frequentis operates a worldwide network of branches, subsidiaries and local representatives in more than 50 countries. In Australia Frequentis is headquartered in Brisbane with local offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.

Frequentis provides a wide range of commercial and customised tools and infrastructure, all depending on the use cases required by customers. In Australia, the company’s voice communication system (VCS) is currently part of the ongoing OneSky program, providing a combined civilian and Defence ATM system, set to be the most advanced and integrated in the world.

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