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Remember when going to the airport was sensational? Well, welcome back!

With air traffic expected to double in the next two decades, airports are looking to be more efficient and deliver a better customer experience while maintaining the highest levels of safety and security. Those goals are behind the passenger-centric designs of the massive new hubs in Beijing and Istanbul, the customer service focus of the planned $344 million expansion of JFK Airport’s Terminal 8, the deployment of biometric scan pods to speed up security checks at Logan Airport in Boston, and countless other enhancements worldwide.

Airport COOs and CIOs know that network-based technologies will play a key role in meeting future operational and customer experience goals — not just for passengers but also for airlines, retailers and community stakeholders. They also know their existing wireless networks need to evolve with growing demand for greater wireless service reliability, efficiency, and security.

Pervasive connectivity from the apron to the airfield

Many existing airport wireless services are made up of a mix of Wi-Fi and commercial cellular offerings — often from multiple providers — that are shared between operations and passenger services. (Emergency services usually have their own PMR/LMR radio network.) These shared networks are easily congested when traffic grows. Their signal strength and coverage are often poor, there’s no way to prioritize bandwidth, scaling is difficult, and they’re usually expensive to maintain. As a result, growing numbers of airports are considering private wireless for seamless, reliable, always-available connectivity for BOTH airport operational communications and mission-critical, emergency communications. 

Private wireless also offers airports the ability to replace legacy TETRA emergency communications networks, while maintaining their independence from other non-emergency airport operations.

With private wireless, it’s possible to provide a single, dedicated voice and data network for operations. That segregation improves bandwidth utilization for all sides of the business, making it possible to support enhanced applications, rich communications and a better overall Wi-Fi experience for passengers as a result of offloading operational services from existing shared Wi-Fi service.

Operations and feature rich airport applications that are always in reach

On the operational front, private wireless extends the reach of the airport network and accommodates a wide range of high-bandwidth, low-latency services. Baggage and ground services crews, for example, can work more productively below-wing when they’re equipped with tablets that can access information in real time. Out on the airfield, connected “follow-me” cars can give marshallers real-time updates on runway activity and projected flight traffic to better guide pilots in. Security and emergency personnel can be equipped with networked bodycams and push-to-video capabilities so that first responders can stream live video to their management for a more informed response. Wireless CCTV cameras can be deployed and redeployed at a moment’s notice to keep airport monitoring up to date.

Because private wireless networks can segregate and prioritize traffic, airport operators can even monetize wireless services for airlines, ground handlers, baggage handlers and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers. That means the wireless network becomes a source of revenue generation and not just infrastructure demanding investment.

Making the airport a hub of choice

Ultimately, private wireless provides for efficient, responsive, better coordinated staff and rich, reliable communications for full situational awareness and emergency response. For airports with an eye to 5G and promising new applications, today’s private wireless technologies can provide a runway to 5G and a “future-proof” foundation for ongoing value creation.

When travelers, airlines, crew and vendors all have a seamless, enjoyable and on-time experience at your airport the word will get around! These benefits (and more) can help an airport gain a competitive edge and become the preferred hub for airlines, vendors and travelers alike.

At Nokia, we’re already working with airport partners in Vienna and Helsinki (see the video) to provide private wireless capabilities and help them build the airport of their future. Our solutions offer everything airports need to seize the advantages of wireless connectivity today and be ready to take off into a future of virtually unlimited possibilities. – Go Allwhere with Nokia.

To learn more about Private wireless for Airports we recommend the following guide.

Share your thoughts on this topic by joining the Twitter discussion with @nokiaindustries using #5G #PrivateLTE #AirportIT

Jochen Apel

About Jochen Apel

As Global Vice President of Nokia’s transportation and manufacturing segments, Jochen leads our endeavors for advancing the future of all things Go! Whether riding the 5G-optimized railways, traveling the highways in a driverless car that was built in a fully flexible factory and seamlessly shipped through an automated port terminal, or cruising connected at 30,000 feet, Jochen and his team of industry innovators will make the journey with you as we Go Allwhere!

Tweet us at @nokianetworks

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