KVM-navigator for safe and efficient air traffic control

“KVM from G&D runs in the background without causing any issues. Anyone working with it doesn’t even realize it’s there. The high reliability as well as the many small additional features that round up the solution really make a difference. G&D don’t just provide their users with theoretical solutions, but develop their devices according to the requirements of experts and users.” - Mario Nourdin El Hammouti, KVM manager at DFS

KVM implemented in new control centre project of DFS

As the aircraft approaches its destination, the pilot switches to autopilot. Not for the first time during the flight he hands over the safety of his passengers and crew to the air traffic controllers on the ground. Already during takeoff and even after the landing, air traffic staff keep their eyes on the flight. Some of the controllers monitor the airspace from control centres while others follow the traffic directly from the tower.

No matter where they work, everyone has the same responsible task: getting all airplanes safely to the ground. For this task, air traffic controllers are supported by their team, their KVM management and leading edge technology from Guntermann & Drunck. Therefore it comes as no surprise that G&D’s KVM equipment plays an important role for Deutsche Flugsicherung’s new air navigation service system P2.

High responsibility meets leading edge technology

Controller workstations in new service room
Controller workstations in new service room

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH operates five control centres, four of them in Germany. The team of KVM managers at DFS equip their control centres with solutions from Guntermann & Drunck GmbH (G&D). These solutions ensure that controllers are able to access different, remote and distributed computers independently from any network.

That’s also the case for the latest project of the control centre in Langen, Germany – a new system called P2, which is introduced step by step at other DFS locations. All systems included in the P2 project are state-of-the-art. The future control centre will be one of Europe’s biggest, most modern and most important. Several hundred controllers and experts for flight data will work here.

In this context, Air traffic services (ATS), communications (COM) and air traffic control (ATC) are updated. Distributed systems will be integrated into central ones as well. Starting operation by the end of 2015, DFS provides the technical requirements for making air traffic control more efficient and productive

Sophisticated planning and implementation

G&D devices installed in rack
G&D devices installed in rack

Continuous operation and availability of the IT components in use are the basis of safely and reliably managing all flight activities of the German airspace. Prior to starting the project, the KVM managers of DFS initiated comprehensive test and reference systems to simulate real-time operation.

Due to years of great experiences with the services of the German manufacturer, they consciously chose hardware from Guntermann & Drunck and thereby making them the main KVM supplier for the P2 project.

A benefit for air traffic controllers

Operations room with installed G&D hardware
Operations room with installed G&D hardware

The new control centre has the size of a football field. The round bridge stands out as the centrepiece in the middle of the large room. From here, supervisors and administrators make sure the technology is available and working so that the controllers can focus on executing their responsible tasks without any interruptions.

Due to the high resolutions (2K and 4K) of the radar screens and the large data volumes to be processed here, employees would hardly be able to focus on their work while distracted by fan noise and heat emission. That’s why the KVM managers decided to use KVM devices, which are able to handle the high bandwidths required to transmit signals without any latency.

Thanks to KVM, leading edge computer technology can be placed in accessprotected, air-conditioned equipment rooms. Here, computers can be maintained and updated without distracting the team in the control centre while all computers remain available since both, employees and computers need to react as fast as possible. Controllers must be able to switch the image and keyboard/mouse focus of any computer to their own workstation; for the maintenance team, however, it is important to carry out their tasks in the server room.

The technical plus of KVM

Technical control room with KVM multichannel connection
Technical control room with KVM multichannel connection

Thanks to less yet continuous twisted pair cabling, computers can be connected to the G&D matrix from different server racks. With KVM, controllers switch between different computers simply by pressing a button, using an input device or via SNMP. Each controller and supervisor station uses the KVM matrix to access the computers stored in the technology rooms. For extremely large distances, the matrix uses a media converter to transmit signals over optical fibres. Thus, a 1:1 connection remains intact even if users and computers are placed several kilometres apart from each other.

Monitoring the operating status (health management) of G&D devices and computers is carried out either via SNMP or via web interface. This way, devices are available even when they are not in use. In addition to the bridge, a separate control room monitors the technology and therefore serves as technical support. With the KVM matrix, all processes at the bridge can be accessed here as well. Thus, people are able to react as fast as possible, if necessary.

KVM for efficient workflows

Rack drawer with list of computers to be selected via KVM
Rack drawer with list of computers to be selected via KVM

The new air navigation service system P2 will be successively introduced at several DFS sites aiming at improving the compatibility of different management systems used for air traffic control.

At the same time, the controller workstations are redesigned for more efficient operation – buzzword iCWP (integrated Controller Working Position) within the framework of SESAR. SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) plays an important part in creating a single European airspace to gather the know how of the aviation industry and, until the year 2020, establish one single network to manage air traffic control. Combined with the concepts of DFS, KVM becomes an integral part of uniting the European airspace.

Project overview

Responsible for air traffic control in Germany - DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH)

Customer

DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH) is responsible for air traffic control in Germany and is headquartered in the town of Langen close to Frankfurt, Germany.

DFS has a workforce of over 6,000 at different locations, among them 1,900 air traffic controllers. DFS is regarded as a modern service company. Among their customers are large national and international airlines, regional companies, private flyers and the German armed forces. The service provided by DFS is called safety – the standard nothing less than highest quality.

Challenge

  • Designing new controller workstations supporting a more efficient workflow
  • Health management for KVM equipment
  • Limited space in control centre
  • Precise requirements regarding safety, redundancy, efficiency, productivity and cooling

Products

Result and benefits

  • Ensuring a long-lasting life cycle for components used at air navigation services beyond 2020
  • Increased capacity and productivity
  • Failsafe performance
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Optimised maintenance