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How much bandwidth will next gen airports need?

Help airports offload data - opt for an enhanced patdown

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Our US readers contemplating flying cross country travel this week might be putting worries about the data and power impact of air travel to the back of their minds.

But if they do opt for that enhanced pat-down they might comfort themselves with the knowledge they are helping offload some of the bandwidth and power a modern aerodrome sucks up.

Airports need to be jacked up to the gills with ubiquitous systems requiring increasingly high levels of computational power - intelligent automation; unobtrusive safety and security; passengers and their devices; processing of goods and luggage; information and transportation systems; and all those shops.

So what's needed? The requirements involve fixed and mobile appliances, so an intelligent, adaptive, self-organising and self-managing wired and wireless infrastructure is going to fit the bill.

And this is what we're looking at according to the TINA (The INtelligent Airport) project being carried out by the University of Cambridge, London's UCL and the University of Leeds, in collaboration with a number of industrial partners.

The group recently declared that a largish airport, wanting info displays, surveillance video cameras, biometric scanners hung from doors, comms for all, private and public lans, and tags tracking bags and staff, the network must support:

  • 1,000 Fixed and 500 Mobile Video Cameras - 10 Gb/s
  • 500 Displays - 10 Gb/s
  • 500 Biometric Scanners - 10 Gb/s
  • Private and Public Fixed and Wireless LAN - 20 Gb/s
  • Cellular services - 10 Gb/s
  • TETRA and private radio - 0.5 Gb/s
  • Passive RFID - 0.2 Gb/s
  • Active locatable RFID - 5 Gb/s

The aggregate mean data rate is predicted at 65.7 Gb/s with an assumed peak rate of 100 Gb/s.

TINA's aim is to develop the wired and wireless networks to meet these potential requirements for future "intelligent airports". The project's Professor Ian White, from Cambridge, says the team wanted to replace the existing approach of just adding new services on top of old.

“If you have a new service - a cellular system, or distribution of wireless services over a building, currently many airports will just overlay new system separately and on top. It's very expensive,” he says.

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