Toward 5G for Aircraft Communications
The EIT Digital Innovation project ICARO-EU addresses a new integrated high capacity direct-air-to ground communications system. FBK research center CREATE-NET contributed to the system prototype design and implementation
FBK in a collaboration with its partners presented a system prototype that brings a cellular connection on board of the aircraft.
It implements a truly uninterrupted connectivity from one boarding gate to other de-boarding gate with added benefits of enhanced network capacity and cellular coverage.
“FBK worked on this solution throughout the 2016 and 2017 together with its partners from Airbus, British Telecom, Ericsson and KTH within the ICARO project funded by the EIT Digital. It lets aircraft passengers enjoy high-quality voice and video conference calls or HD Video streaming even when aboard.”
– comments Dr. Roberto Riggio, Head of the Wireless and Networked Systems Unit at FBK CREATE-NET.
This solution effectively utilizes the LTE and License Assisted Access, or LAA, inside an aircraft, moving the onboard communication technology towards cellular communications in unlicensed frequency bands.
“FBK developed and supplied the functionalities for management of on-board traffic and load balancing between LTE and WiFi networks onboard. We tested the algorithms at FBK lab facilities in Trento. They effectively offload the LTE traffic to a co-existing WiFi network, thus optimizing the utilization of the network resources.”
– add Dr. Roberto Riggio.
The ICARO project continues in the 2018 with an active participation of FBK and targets further development of the onboard communication solution.