Faa Deploys New Communications Gateway At Air Traffic Control Centers
Taking a major step toward furthering the modernization of the air traffic control system, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the deployment of a new mission-critical communications gateway that processes radar and flight data in all 20 en route air traffic control centers.
Called En Route Communications Gateway (ECG), the new system eliminates the possibility of a system outage by removing the single point of failure that existed in the previous system.
“This communications gateway is designed to head system outages off at the pass,” said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. “Whenever you eliminate a single point of failure, you’re taking a huge step forward.”
The ECG consolidates all gateway functions into a single system, allowing all national airspace system components to communicate seamlessly and securely. It provides the foundation to support new communications sources and new radar/surveillance sources, such as Automatic Dependent Surveillance, which allows pilots and controllers to see the same traffic. The design also enables the system to adapt to modern technologies such as the communication technology utilized by Internet providers.
The design of the new system will allow for easy integration with the FAA’s En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program, a key element in the agency’s overall air traffic modernization effort. ERAM will redesign and modernize the current Host Computer System, which is the core automation system in the en route environment. Currently, the FAA plans to begin deployment of ERAM in 2009.
The ECG replaced the Peripheral Adapter Module Replacement Item (PAMRI), using modern communications protocols and modular, scalable hardware components. PAMRI was a single point of failure in the en route air traffic control infrastructure.
The first ECG went operational in Seattle in 2003. The final site to go operational was Miami in October 2005.