The demands of airlines, crews and passengers are drastically changing air traffic. The demand for new applications and data analysis is growing constantly. What is needed is easy access to information and a wide range of services. Expectations for communication and entertainment above the clouds are also extremely high and will grow furthermore. An important prerequisite for satisfactory solutions is the seamless connection between ground operations and aircraft. It is this end-to-end connectivity that enables a wide range of entertainment and communications (IFE&C) functions, that are expected on board today.
Kontron recognized this development at an early stage and developed appropriate solutions. IFEC hardware is already installed in more than 4,000 aircraft worldwide. For example, the Kontron ACE Flight 4600 is a highly integrated, application-ready platform, designed especially for the high demands placed on communication applications for Ethernet-based network installations in aircrafts. Qualified according to D0-160F and optimized for a wide range of flight information systems, this product family is the optimal platform for application development in air traffic. This includes crew and passenger web servers as well as connectivity and wireless content servers or in-flight entertainment (IFE) servers.
Open system platform enables a wide range of services
“We offer an open system architecture platform, that enables airlines to offer their passengers and employees a wide range of services while reducing complexity and costs," says RJ Mclaren, Systems Product Manager at Kontron. According to him, Kontron developed the roadmap for its ACE Flight Airborne Servers and Cab-n-Connect Wireless Access Points (CWAP) on the premise of meeting current and future requirements. For example, the Cab-n-Connect Wireless Access Points (CWAP) already offer first-class performance for next-generation HD video streaming. This makes them predestined for dense multi-client applications as they are found in fully booked airplanes. The integrated WiNG software supports fast roaming between the aircraft's access points. And Smart Load Balancing distributes the clients evenly across the aircraft's access points and bands. This improves overall network performance.
The rapid pace of technological development and the continuously growing requirements in the avionics sector were also the decisive factors for this year's first ENVISION Technology Conference in the USA. Kontron invited its partners and customers to discuss collaboration on key technological innovations. It was and is clear to all the protagonists that adequate solutions will be needed in many industries over the next few years. At ENVISION, experts from Kontron, Intel and Wind River organized an agenda of inspiring presentations and demonstrations on the fundamental technologies needed to revolutionize next-generation products and systems.
Cyber-crime threatens above the clouds too
One of the main topics at the conference was the need for ever stronger radio systems for aviation security. The vulnerability of devices using an aircraft's Wi-Fi is increasing. Threat scenarios are data theft from client to client and from client to server, but also unauthorized system access and denial-of-service attacks.
To secure critical and system-relevant cabin connections, airlines must establish more comprehensive, wireless burglary protection. Kontron's Cab-n-Connect A100 CWAP, combined with the AirDefense software, is predestined for this. This solution offers a multi-layered security suite with proactive monitoring and threat prevention. Other features include attacker detection, intrusion prevention, active countermeasures and forensic analysis. This enables airlines to raise their safety to a higher level without great effort.