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I read this paper recently; it's titled ATC over the World Wide Web, a case study and prototypical implementation. The paper says:

"In the context of radar surveillance for regional airports DFS (Deutsche Flugsicherung Air Navigation Service) must provide a possibility for the controller to monitor and control the dedicated airspace in a safe manner without the need for a complex and locally installed radar surveillance system. In other words: The aim is to provide the controller in the tower with a PHOENIX Controller Working Position (CWP) over the World Wide Web (WWW). The CWP receives the surveillance data over the Internet. This approach allows the usage of a standard PC connected to the internet in a standardized manner (e.g. DSL)."

The PHOENIX is a Radar Data Processing System (RDPS) for air traffic control that's been developed at the Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS).

My question is: why does a client need to send their ATC over the Internet for this? DFS still has to set up the hardware in the client tower. So, why doesn't the client use the conventional method to transmit/receive ATC and then, if needed, send the ATC through the Internet (on the ground) to the vendor (DFS) for real-time processing?

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  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately the paper is behind a paywall, so many people won't be able to read it and comment on whatever it's suggesting. You might want to investigate remote towers for more information. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Sep 8 '17 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ Remind me not to fly during live events likely to be video streamed around the world... $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Sep 8 '17 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ “World wide web” is such a vague term that the claim does not make much sense. This leaves very strong first impression (without reading the paper itself) that it was not given much thought and therefore I wouldn't expect anything particularly clever from it. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Sep 10 '17 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ I think what they mean is peer to peer communication. $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Sep 10 '17 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Teodorism, definitely not peer-to-peer. Everything on “web” is client-server and there is nothing here where anything else would make sense. I think they simply mean using common components to keep the cost down. Which is kinda obvious, not revolutionary. Depends on the level of details they discuss this—reliability is a major issue, but components like web browser and also the operating systems, are seeing frequent updates, so some testing regime for ensuring a broken update won't get pushed and cause service outage is needed. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Sep 10 '17 at 18:14
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The radar needs to be able to see the operating area. If the terrain is relatively flat you could have a radar station many miles away and still have coverage. For example, KRNT doesn't have a radar dish, it piggybacks off of KSEA (5nm isn't far, but it shows the principle).

http://open-air-data.github.io/atc-radar/ (if you zoom to the same approximate positioning as https://www.google.com/maps/@47.500892,-122.258982,27364m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-US) shows the one radar station at KSEA which is also used by KBFI and KRNT (all three are in the Google Maps view if your screen is big enough).

The particular paper may be discussing using HTTP/WWW over some other data link format.

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For the scope of the article you should read Internet as IP VPN.In practice you would have at least dual links with some kind of SLA attached. All this is much cheaper than having and maintaining your own radar on site. At my employer we have a system which gets information from various radars over an IP VPN ( been there , done that ).

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  • $\begingroup$ But can't the client use the conventional system on the controller-aircraft link? Why rely on IP on that part? It won't make it cheaper to set up VPN for that part? $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Sep 8 '17 at 9:59
  • $\begingroup$ From the snippet posted I can infer that the article is about getting radar information to a tower controller without having to have an actual radar installed on site. The beauty of TCP/IP is that it makes the underlaying network transparent and cheap compared to previous solutions. $\endgroup$ – cavver Sep 8 '17 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ How can a client control a plane without a radar on site? $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Sep 8 '17 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Teodorism The radar needs to be able to see the operating area. If the terrain is relatively flat you could have a radar station many miles away and still have coverage. For example, KRNT doesn't have a radar dish, it piggybacks off of KSEA (5nm isn't far, but it shows the principle). $\endgroup$ – bartonjs Sep 8 '17 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @bartonjs Thank you. This answers my question. If you post this as an answer, I'll accept it. $\endgroup$ – Teodorism Sep 8 '17 at 17:24

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