Cisco lands deal at Dubai Airport

Network services will be deployed across all three terminals

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By  Published  October 6, 2006

Dubai airport is overhauling its network infrastructure and deploying a Cisco converged network to provide new services across its three terminals.

The Cisco network will provide wireless coverage across the airport’s three terminals and lay the foundation for the adoption of next-generation network services throughout the facility.

The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCA) will continue to use an existing Nortel network as an internal enterprise network within its airport offices as well as other parts of the airport. This network is also being expanded to cover new areas. However Ghanim Alfalasi, IT director at DCA, told IT Weekly that Cisco’s technology would better serve the airport’s aims of becoming a service provider to tenants of the airport such as passengers, airlines, retailers, the police and immigration authorities.

“We are moving from being a connectivity provider to providing triple-play services such as voice, data and video on-demand to all our tenants,” he said.

Mazen Jabri, general manager for Cisco in the UAE, described the range of services the airport hopes to provide using the Cisco network. “It wants to be able to provide IP [internet protocol] telephony, video telephony, internet access, applications access, It wants to do integrated security, VIP treatment — all kinds of services that would encourage people to use the airport more and spend more money because of having all these integrated services together,” he said.

Jabri claimed the network would also provide the airport with greater operational efficiencies by allowing different systems to be integrated, saving cost and resources.

“There is absolutely a productivity and an efficiency impact on the operation of the airport,” said Jabri.

“It allows the airport to integrate various systems together which means minimising cost and maximising security because you are integrating the radio system with the flight information system and the telephony and access and security systems all in one network,” he explained.

“So you have more control and you can better leverage your resources,” he added.

Alfalasi said that integrating the different communications system together would make it easier to transmit information between the different workers at the airport.

“This will give us greater efficiency for transferring the data from, and to, every client,” he said. “It will be easier, for example, for catering and fuelling to communicate to an airplane at the gate and even if we had to change that gate it would be easy to notify all the service providers for that plane.”

Alfalasi revealed that DCA was considering further leveraging the network by deploying Cisco’s Interoperability and Collaboration System (CiscoIPICS) technology — a communication system designed to integrate multiple push-to-talk radio systems together with other communication resources such as voice, video and data devices on the same network.

“This technology would really enhance our procedures for a crisis or in case we have some emergencies,” he said.

“We are evaluating it now and we are observing it in a test lab now and we have seen the potential on acquiring this technology,” he added.

Work on the Cisco network started six months ago and is being carried out in two phases.

In phase one, due to be finished in the first quarter of next year, the network will be deployed in terminals one and two.

In phase two it will be deployed in terminal three and other areas such as the cargo area.

A spokesman for Nortel said the company had been in talks with DCA over the expansion of its network.

“From our perspective as of today the whole operation in the airport is running on a Nortel network,” he claimed.

“I can assure you that they are talking of an expansion of features and components to the [Nortel] infrastructure that they are using at the airport.”

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