The new text is being implemented under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the United Nations body whose primary mission is to ensure the rational, equitable, efficient and economical use of the radio-frequency spectrum by all radiocommunication services – and relates to services in the VHF, UHF and SHF bands.
The revision is known technically as Recommendation ITU-R P.528, and it extends applicability to different frequency bands, among other updates. What it means in the real world is that the tools for keeping aviation and terrestrial signals separate are going to be as good as they can be.
Radio is used in aviation not just for aircraft to talk to each other and the ground but also for navigation and location purposes. Like any radio systems, these are at threat from interference and, specifically, interference from networks on the ground. The new recommendation gives engineers the best possible tools for planning and modelling how aerial and terrestrial systems can coexist.
At the core of creating it is ATDI managing director Cyprien de Cosson. He has volunteered a large number of hours to produce the propagation curves that underpin the recommendation.
“It’s been tough going squeezing in the voluntary work, but it has been great to collaborate with other committed professionals, and I can’t think of a more worthwhile project,” Cyprien says. “Clearly, if aviation radio systems are compromised then lives are at risk so I have been happy to give my time and energy to this.”
The work sits alongside ATDI’s consultancy with Nomad Digital, the company providing WiFi on trains. It is essential that the backhaul for on-board services do not interfere with outside signals – particularly when the train is passing close to sensitive installations such as airport landing systems – and ATDI expertise has been used to plan and model how these systems can coexist.