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How much bandwidth will next gen airports need?

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“Could we have a single wired and wireless infrastructure with a batch of base stations. Add a new service, just add a new box.”

The system has to be scalable, secure, and upgradeable.

The bandwidth figures were cooked up a couple of years back, following lots of simulating on how people move around airports, and modelling situations such as planes arriving. But according to one of the team, Cambridge's Professor Richard Penty, they're still about right.

Example imagery produced by AIT millimetre wave airport scanner. Credit: TSA

“Biometric data for identifying people hasn't taken off as much as we thought,” he says though conceding that “its very hard to extract traffic data from operators so we can't be sure”.

Breakthroughs by TINA include determining new algorithms for addressing and routing in combined wired and wireless environments. White points out that with one million or more RFID tags around, each having an address, it presents a major switching and routing challenge. “Ethernet is limited in way it can address such huge numbers without requiring a lot of switching,” he says.

The team have developed a modified Ethernet system, called Moose (multi-layer origin-organised scalable ethernet), to simplify the routing.

Also it has designed a new form of wireless signal distribution network where multi service antenna units cooperate, not only to provide communication but also ID and location services. Radio over fibre systems have been developed to allow such signal distribution at RF frequencies while being agnostic to the exact radio service in the single unified infrastructure.

Penty says the distributed antenna system approach for comms “requires about 25 per cent, we believe, of the system power than single antenna solutions for similar levels of coverage. “

The TINA project hasn't yet agreed a trial but are in discussions with airport operators and other sectors, as well.

Other developments since the project started include an ongoing /discussion about the use of mobile phones as passenger boarding cards via a 2D bar code sent to the phone. Penty says some implementations are about to happen, but “of course not everyone has a phone or would want to provide their number or be able to display the bar code. So there's some fragmentation in approach here.” ®

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