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The network security architecture and possible safety benefits of the AeroMACS network

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1 Author(s)
Stuart Wilson ; Harris Corporation, Melbourne, FL

The IEEE 802.16 standard known as the Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN), which is also commonly referred to as the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) was initially created as a final mile; point-to-point wireless communication protocol known as 802.16(d), or Fixed WiMAX. Further development of the WiMAX standard created a mobile version which is 802.16(e), or Mobile WiMAX. The aeronautical industry is adopting a version of the Mobile WiMAX 802.16(e)-2009 standard known as the Aeronautical Mobile Airport Communications System (AeroMACS). The goal of AeroMACS is to create a broadband wireless network with the ability to transfer data between fixed and mobile assets on the airport surface. Aircraft, air traffic control (ATC), airlines, ground crews and other stakeholders on the airport surface are examples of the intended end users of the AeroMACS network. The need for such a network has been identified by the joint FAA-EUROCONTROL, Future Communications Study (FCS) as documented in the Communications Operating Concept and Requirements (COCR) for the Future Radio System (FRS). One of the goals of the FCS was to determine a possible medium of communication that can augment the current VHF radio based communication system for aircraft and controllers. Some of the data that will be transported over the AeroMACS network is considered critical to flight operations, depending on the data set and which party is providing the data. The guidelines for the utilization of the AeroMACS network are that the data transmitted over the network is necessary for the safety and regularity of flight. Therefore AeroMACS data transmissions must remain secure and reliable so the information provided by AeroMACS can be trusted by industry stakeholders and the FAA. To ensure that the 802.16(e) standard will be able to provide a secure and reliable means of wireless communication, it is important to analyze the network security protocol. In doing so, we will be able- - to identify any potential weaknesses in the network security protocol, allowing us to find ways of mitigating the risk associated with any weaknesses found.

Published in:

Integrated Communications, Navigation and Surveilance Conference (ICNS), 2011

Date of Conference:

10-12 May 2011