KEEPING THE WORLD OF RADAR TURNING | ATDI

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KEEPING THE WORLD OF RADAR TURNING

KEEPING THE WORLD OF RADAR TURNING

KEEPING THE WORLD OF RADAR TURNING

NATS UK upgrade radarsRadar is about echoes, and ATDI has seen its work reflected in the latest moves to prevent vital safety systems and the UK’s new 4G service interfering with each other. National Air Traffic Services (NATS) has upgraded its radar systems to preclude any impact on the country’s new high-speed mobile data network and has used a solution ATDI pioneered three years ago. “It’s gratifying when our thinking gains a wide validation,” notes ATDI managing director Peter Paul. “And, while every radio planning situation is different, we have been able to generate some fundamental principles which have broad application.” In 2010, ATDI prepared a report for regulator Ofcom on the interference potential of all radars in the S band. This covered systems run by NATS, the Ministry of Defence, the Met Office, the coastguard and a number of other agencies. As part of a number of solutions it offered, ATDI advocated upgrading older radars to solid state; this produces lower emission powers and better receiving filtering capabilities. Such an upgrade has now been adopted by NATS. S-Band radars used by NATS operate at 2.7Ghz, while the upper band 4G network ranges from 2.5Ghz to 2.69Ghz. “Clearly, there’s a potential for problems,” Peter comments. “If planners get it wrong, radar screens could go blank with air traffic controllers having no idea of the position of aircraft. “It’s a delicate balancing act as radio planners are caught between two immovable objects. On one side is air traffic control where there is zero scope for compromising radar efficiency and on the other are the mobile network operators who, having invested billions in their new services, are in no mood to offer a worse-than-advertised product to their customers. “But, anybody who balks at the idea of pleasing all the people all the time probably shouldn’t come into radio planning and modelling in the first place.”

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