We all know that aviation is a key component to life as we know it. In fact, aviation security both in the air and on the ground is a leading area of investment and concern for governing agencies.

Working with an aging physical infrastructure is a challenge for any public sector client. Unlike commercial clients who work within the walls of standard office building, most public sector clients must work within unique spaces and environments.

Having the know-how to work with industrial ethernet, and understand the best hardened solutions for the unique aviation environment is a specialized skillset. Unfortunately very few solution providers can deliver on that kind of request. However, the aviation industry has experts from BlackHawk Data who have done, and continue to do, just that.

Unique Qualifications Enable Easy Migration


For one of the world’s most-traveled airports, any kind of network disruption could affect thousands of travelers, not just locally, but around the globe. With its security campus network — an Intellect-based OC-3 network responsible for the airport’s access control system and CCTV systems — functioning unreliably, the airport was having to post security guards at various locations 24×7 throughout the facility.

This was neither very cost efficient nor did the guards particularly like standing out in the rain and cold. Since the network was coming to its end of life and was no longer cost-effective to repair, if even possible, executives decided it was time to upgrade the system to ensure efficiency, drive modernization and comply with evolving security demands. Many network solution providers were offered the lucrative job, but none had the expertise to tackle such a high-profile and difficult undertaking.

When our engineers — who have especially strong optical backgrounds — were called in, they quickly understood what the problem was and presented a solution: Replace the Intellect SONET network consisting of two physical rings running over 62.5 micron multimode fibers totaling 31 SONET nodes.

The our team includes specialists in not only networking, but complete public sector solutions, and are well-versed in the industrial equipment needed to withstand the harsh environment of an airfield, including housing devices in high-temperature sealed cabinets.

These cabinets are designed with no ventilation to prevent rain, snow and ice from getting in, and also mitigate physical security risks. In fact they are sealed so well, that temperatures inside these cabinets can exceeding 140 degrees Fahrenheit. A standard PC would be damaged by such extreme temperatures and many devices aren’t made for that kind of environment.

36-Hour Migration

Not wanting to interrupt service during migration, the team replaced two rings of Intellect nodes with Cisco Industrial Ethernet 5000 series switches, installed physically in parallel to the current SONET system. They also replaced the 20-year-old multi-mode 62.5 micron fiber with industrial 100MB multi-mode fiber optics better suited to accommodate the extreme temperatures and overcome the fiber plant limitations.

Since service interruption was such a factor, the migration had to be done quickly. Other solution providers who were willing to tackle the job, quoted it as taking months to complete. Our highly skilled engineers assembled teams of 6 to go site-to-site around the entire campus to replace all of the old network equipment, swap it out with new equipment, where needed new fiber, and test all of the security panels. Within a mere 36-hour period, the team replaced an entire airport’s security ring.

Our engineering team designed the solution that helped enable the airport to modernize its infrastructure with a cost-effective and powerful solution that keeps passengers, employees and the general public safe.

About BlackHawk Data

BlackHawk Data is focused on delivering the best solutions for their customers from design to support. We ensure that every solution not only is the best on day one, but for the life of the system. With the BlackHawk Data deploy and support model, the customer avoids the pitfall of only installing solutions that can be supported with their staff’s current knowledge, instead of the best available.


Tags: Aviation