Aeronautical Telecommunications of Jamaica Ltd (AEROTEL), the specialist ICT Engineering company for the aviation industry, has finalised the technical architecture and service layer components for a new Network Operations and Control Centre or NOCC. The facility is a key development in its plans to improve availability and performance of the national Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Communication Navigation Surveillance (CNS) systems that are used by air traffic controllers and other aviation professionals to keep Jamaica’s airspace safe.
The NOCC is based on the ‘Solar Winds’ network management system, and provides AEROTEL technicians with on-screen graphic user interface (GUI) that gives virtual ‘visibility’ of equipment failure or other negative incidents that either have occurred or are unfolding across the far reaches of the network. The GUI provides pictorial images of the networks and a simple colour scheme of green (no fault), grey (possible problem) or red (definite fault) that gives an easily discernible indication of what is happening. Monitoring personnel can then drill down in the system to get detailed diagnostic information and assessment of the fault.
AEROTEL can therefore be proactive in responding to faults as they occur leading to shorter down times and more available systems. The NOCC facility can also be used for analytical assessment of data collected over time for useful functions such as trend analysis that can be used to inform growth plans, predictive maintenance scheduling etc.
In addition to the electronic and ICT aspects, the NOCC can also monitor important host environment parameters including electrical power, air conditioning / temperature, security camera alarms etc. If the electricity mains is unavailable, due to a power cut for example, the NOCC can even keep track of the fuel level of the ack-up generator at a remote site so that monitoring personnel can know exactly how much time they will have before a shutdown.
There is a wide array of complex equipment deployed all across Jamaica, many in deep rural high-site locations which in tandem provide for the safe management and control of flights in Jamaica’s very busy airspace. These include air traffic automation systems, radar systems, air-to-ground voice communication systems, aeronautical meteorological systems, microwave and fibre high speed IP networks, Vhf Omni Ranging and Instrument Landing Systems for aircraft navigation, Aviation Messaging systems, Aeronautical Information Management systems and many more. The unavailability of any of these can put a flight’s safety at risk and hence the importance of the NOCC in helping the overall system maintenance efforts. Indeed, in many instances, AEROTEL will be able to completely expedite the repair, restoration or configuration from the NOCC without having to dispatch personnel to the offending location Commenting on the NOCC development, AEROTEL General Manager said that it was a very important tool that will be used to improve the speed and efficiency of system / network diagnosis and repair. “We recognise the critical importance of the work we do, and what can happen if we are not able to return malfunctioning systems to normality quickly. We will continue to work with our partners at the JCAA to improve the functionality and ensure that it is delivering maximum benefits to our stakeholders.”