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Hong Kong Airport Authority takes off with upgraded IP/MPLS network

Next-generation network to offer key regional hub migration of legacy applications to support increased passenger capacity, reliability and ease of expansion

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) is to deploy a new, high-bandwidth, mission-critical Nokia IP/MPLS network to support tower operations at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

Nokia’s air navigation service provider (ANSP) communications systems are designed to maintain security, reliability and service continuity. Providing resilience to failure and resistance to external interference, they also support legacy services migration while simultaneously adding new services that enhance ANSP capabilities.

Nokia has already delivered mission-critical IP networking systems to ANSPs to ENAV in Italy and IAA in Ireland.

In the latter deployment in March 2020, Nokia implemented the IAA’s next-generation air traffic control network at its new West Ireland disaster recovery centre, supplying its IP/MPLS networking products, which have been specifically designed for this level of mission-critical application.

The North Atlantic airspace, most of which the IAA is responsible for, is one of the most crowded in the world and as air traffic has grown, so has the IAA’s requirement for more network capacity. It is expected that global air traffic will double by 2030, and although modern ATC management applications can scale to meet the demand, the IAA required a different kind of network connectivity based on IP.

Hong Kong International Airport first opened in 1998 and at the end of 2019, handled 71.5 million passengers connecting to more than 200 destinations worldwide. The 120 airlines using the airport in 2019 made 419,795 air traffic movements.

In addition to providing packet-based IP routing technology to HKIA, Nokia will support and manage the migration of legacy non-IP aviation applications to the new network. Nokia will also supply a range of operational aviation-specific professional services for network design, architecture, integration and deployment.

Upon completing deployment in 2021, Nokia will deliver long-term support and maintenance. As in Ireland, the Nokia solution will aim to increase existing data capacity throughput for aviation control systems and ensure smooth and safe operation of aircraft movements throughout the airspace and ground control.

It will aim to equip AAHK with a robust, secure communications infrastructure for its critical data, enabling it to operate with optimal levels of efficiency and safety, and to accommodate anticipated growth in aircraft movements.

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Nokia will partner Shun Hing Systems Integration, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based Shun Hing Group, to deliver the project. Shun Hing Systems Integration has extensive experience in design, project management, installation, maintenance of telecommunication and transport infrastructure-related systems.

“As we deploy this robust next-generation network, not only will we complete a flexible, seamless migration of legacy applications, but we will also deliver HKIA wide-ranging benefits that include increased passenger capacity, reliability and ease of expansion,” said Mervyn Harris, head of air traffic management, Nokia cloud and networks services.

“Nokia possesses extensive experience in mission-critical IP networking with air navigation service providers elsewhere in the world. This enables us to deliver an unparalleled combination of technical skills and domain expertise, which is essential to provide the highest levels of network availability, performance and safety for such a high-profile airport.”

SF Chan, assistant general manager at Shun Hing Systems Integration, added: “This project is an important step in plans to expand the airport’s operations, enabling it to take advantage of IP networking to modernise aviation communications.”

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