Thursday, March 19, 2015

CASE STUDY: Bangalore International Airport Scales Up Networking Efficiency


By Manu Sharma

Bangalore International Airport Ltd implemented Fabric Connect technology from Avaya to enable its network to scale in a robust manner, improve productivity and offer services with faster turnaround times to concessionaires.

The Scenario

Kempegowda International Airport, operated by Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) and serving the Indian city of Bangalore is one of the largest green-field private sector owned and operated airports in India. Covering approximately 4,000 acres, the airport is owned by a consortium of investors, including private investors like GVK, Zurich Airport and Siemens, as well as central government and state government bodies such as the Airport Authority of India and Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (KSIIDC). The airport currently is India’s third-largest in terms of passenger numbers by handling 12.86 million passengers in 2013-14 and is expected to handle 20 million passengers a year by 2017. It is host to seven domestic airlines and twenty-six international airlines connecting Bangalore to fifty-five destinations across India and the world. In 2014 the airport was chosen as a hub airport by Air Asia India.

Business Challenges

BIAL provides network services for all tenants at Kempegowda International Airport, which includes airline operations and offices, airport concessionaires like ground handling companies, cargo and catering organisations and fuel concessionaires, and commercial entities including retail and food and beverage units at the airport. The airport network is all encompassing, including the terminal building and all 50+ buildings across the campus, and provides the flexibility of wired and wireless services on both the landside and airside of the airport. 

Since the airport is a multitenant environment, security and segregation of traffic and services between the different tenants is of critical importance. While the original terminal was designed for an annual passenger capacity of around eight million, sustained growth has necessitated expansion, with the facility now able to accommodate up to 20 million passengers a year. So now there was a corresponding need for network expansion, and BIAL needed a robust network, in order to provide 24/365 services to millions of passengers dependent on always-on reliable and fast passenger services delivered through numerous business critical airport applications. 

The need of the hour was to build services within the aviation policy framework - which sets out a policy to allow IT to make a significant contribution to the operations of the airport, helping the aviation sector contribute to economic growth across the country - and to be able to operate within a multi-vendor environment. 

In the expansion phase, BIAL identified four major initiatives: additional capacity, segregation of the network between critical airport applications and corporate network, upgrading the backbone for higher performance, and ease of implementation and simplicity in the operational framework. BIAL segregated its network into an application network delivering customer facing applications like check-in and boarding processes and real-time flight updates through flight display system (FIDS); a backbone network to support BIAL corporate applications and its concessionaires’ networks; and a CCTV network to cater to multicast needs. Within this overall framework, IT would be able to contribute support for ease of operations, and also provide a secure and fast network and contribute to overall airport revenues.

IT Challenges

Since the airport is a multi-tenant architecture; security and segregation of traffic and services between the different tenants is of paramount importance l BIAL needed a robust network to provide 24/365 connectivity, with carrier-grade reliability, for the airport’s business critical applications l The need of the hour was to build services within the aviation framework and be able to operate within a multi-vendor environment

The Solution

BIAL selected Avaya to provide a next-generation fabric-based network virtualization solution that would support its rapidly expanding application load, centering on a high-availability core that leverages the Virtual Service Platform 9000 product. Along with this, BIAL deployed products from the Ethernet Routing Switch 4000 Series and 5000 Series product lines to incorporate high-speed, 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the core. This architecture delivers a solution that is highly available, delivering re-convergence times of less than 200 milliseconds – which means that network downtime is virtually eliminated. The solution also offers a dramatic increase in performance levels. Leveraging the agility enhancements delivered by Fabric Connect technology, BIAL is now able to provision and turn on new services on the fly – without the need for manual intervention or reconfiguring multiple network elements.

The Avaya solution has delivered a broad range of benefits to the network and its users across the airport campus. High-Performance: A virtualized, high-capacity network with a Core that is 40/100 Gigabit-ready, and provides Gigabit-to-the-Desktop performance at the Edge. This translates into a high-performance network that is perfect for modern converged applications. The benefits of such a network include the ability to easily handle the simultaneous operation of multiple applications, especially the Airport Collaborative Decision Management (ACDM) implementation. 

BIAL has implemented the European standard and tracks 16 separate milestones, joining only 5 other airports which are fully ACDM certified. The network also supports ERP systems, passenger services systems like check-in and boarding, flight information, baggage reconciliation, and critical voice services - to name but a few. Crucially, the network is capable of seamlessly scaling up to thousands of nodes, which the airport may require due to the anticipated growth in aviation services with the new terminal (T2) and Aero City launching in due course. Resiliency: Avaya’s solution is capable of healing itself and resuming operations in sub-second time

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