Project: Integrated and Robust Aircraft-Based Cordless Network for Crews and Highly Critical Applications

The IRoCoN project will develop an innovative enhanced cordless network solution devoted to air transport needs (the IRoCoN system). The system will be used by airline crews within aircraft cabins and airport teams on the ground. It will drastically improve communication and mobility for any crew or personnel involved in normal or abnormal exploitation situation._x000D__x000D_The IRoCoN project targets on significant savings in terms of time and cost for the direct beneficiaries of the implemented solution through:_x000D_- Enhanced overall processes for aircraft general exploitation (avoiding delays on the daily flight schedule)._x000D_- Reduced time and operating costs for preparation of the flight and COtenance/catering of the aircraft._x000D_- New value services for passengers._x000D__x000D_A further goal of IRoCoN project is to design a system that improves safety for passengers and both for on board- and ground-crews during flight as well as during stops, on ground, even in abnormal situations. Without doubt, the prospective wireless hardware and software components must achieve a high availability to comply with the rigid safety levels required by the air transport sector. _x000D__x000D_In addition, the project will develop a specific infrastructure and features to fulfill the requirements for flawless integration into existing aircrafts (A320, A330, A340, A380) but also for upcoming aircrafts (e.g. A350 and A320NEO). _x000D__x000D_From a function point of view, the following core functionalities will be provided by the system to achieve the goals of the project:_x000D__x000D_- Specific mobility function for aircraft cabin crew members to communicate or deliver announcements, within all of their normal or abnormal (e.g. evacuation, first aid or hospitality) duties from any location within the aircraft._x000D_- Remote access to numerous functions currently located within the stationary FAP (Flight Attendant Panel), e.g. entertainment system reset or cabin temperature controls, thus that all functions can be performed from any place onboard the aircraft._x000D_- Mobile access to the various databases used during aircraft exploitation (e.g. passenger lists/preferences/status, cabin COtenance items,…). _x000D_- Direct connection of mobile terminals (independent of aircraft-systems) to coordinate emergency evacuation procedures._x000D_- Connection to the aircraft “CIDS” (existing fixed handsets used by the crews) and cockpit interphone system for emergency communications with the flight deck._x000D_- In-flight cordless connection to an onboard radio (VHF…) and/or to the SATCOM for communication with the emergency medical service on ground._x000D_- Cordless connections from aircraft cabin crew to ground crews (communication with ramp agent, mechanic, catering…)._x000D__x000D_To reach the required level of reliability and to fulfill the Airworthiness requirements, existing protocols and protocol stacks need to be improved, making the project a very challenging realization. Additionally, the addressed retrofit to already existing Cabin Management systems of older aircraft requires a high level of innovation. The wireless solution will be developed on the basis of preexisting technologies such as CAT-iq (enhancement of DECT) and WiFi (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) combined with existing VoIP protocols. _x000D__x000D_From an architectural point of view, the project will result in a demonstrator that is composed of all necessary prototype components, which are the following ones (cmp. appendix):_x000D_- Cordless Network controller (CNC)_x000D_The CNC ensures voice call switching (including conference management, priority management, etc…). It connects to the preexisting FAP so that the FAP’s functions will be available from the cabin mobile terminals. If present, the CNC also interfaces the preexisting WiFi infrastructure (A380 and A350)._x000D_- Cabin Network Interface Module (CNIM)_x000D_The CNIM connects the new IRoCoN network and the already existing wired cabin network (CIDS)._x000D_- CAT-iq Base Stations_x000D_These base stations provide the new wireless infrastructure. They feature a SIP-derived interface for voice calls, a proprietary interface for Wireless FAP-service and, of course, they also provide seamless hand-over between them._x000D_- Cabin Crew Terminals_x000D_Within the project, two models of these mobile terminals will be developed: one CAT-Iq and one WiFi based. Both will be equipped with touch screen to access the FAP functionality and, of course, will support voice calls._x000D_- Ground Terminals_x000D_The ground terminals will be derived from the pre-existing product from GLOBALSYS (AIRLINK 2080). The corresponding on-board Base Station will be connected via an analog link to the CNC._x000D__x000D_Although the project targets to reach technological readiness level 3 (TRL3), major TRL4 requirements (e.g. a fully functional demonstrator in laboratory environment within a modeled Aircraft Cabin) will finally be fulfilled as well. _x000D_From the functional, technological and architectural point of view, it must be noted that no similar realization exists within any existing civil transport aircraft up to date.

Acronym IRoCoN (Reference Number: 6421)
Duration 01/11/2011 - 28/10/2013
Project Topic Establishing a Cordless Communication System for Crews, onboard and [when grounded] around Civil Transport Aircraft
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO results of this project is valuable insight into the aircraft industry, their development phases and the development of a demonstrator that can used for testing the market for wireless communication inside an aircraft._x000D_GlobalSys has the connections to potential aircraft carriers due to their involvement into this industry and during the project it became apparent that the employees would like the wireless communication. Globalsys did not succeed in convincing their management that the demonstrator developed in this project should be turned into a product and therefore the demonstrator will not be commercialized.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 6

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 RTX Telecom A/S Partner Denmark
4 University of Duisburg-Essen Partner Germany
4 EADS Deutschland GmbH, EADS Innovation Works Partner Germany
4 GLOBALSYS Coordinator France