I've read a lot about Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS) functionalities and features, but yet it is not really clear to me if CIDS is part of the Airline Information Services Domain (AISD), or the Passenger Information & Entertainment Services Domain (PIESD).

Does CIDS receive information/messages from the Aircraft Communications and Reporting System (ACARS), and if so, through which ARINC protocol, and does it have any kind of connection to the Aircraft Control Domain (ACD)?

  • $\begingroup$ I'll readily admit that I'm not familiar with these systems, but might the answer to this not depend on the specific aircraft (at least model) in question? It might help focus answers if you specify an aircraft model that you are interested in. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Oct 30, 2017 at 16:44
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling Well I'm not sure it could help since the domains are from the ARINC 664 Part 5 that is a standard and ACARS and CIDS are somehow a standard presence on aircrafts. $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2017 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


As the commentators above pointed out, there are some issues with your question due to the concepts involved.

As @Bluephoenix mentioned, the security domains are defined in ARINC 664 Part 5. These domains specifically apply to ARINC 664 networks, though the concepts can be applied to other networks.

You also reference a Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS) which is an Airbus specific system in the A320 series -- which does not have an A664 network. But we can look at its functions to see which domain would apply if they were implemented on an A664 network.

The A664P5 descriptions are:

Part 5 describes the objectives, characteristics, services and functions that should be satisfied and provided by the aircraft computing network as a whole. Their allocation to specific networks and devices is the responsibility of aircraft network designers and specified by other documents.

The Aircraft Control Domain (ACD) and Airline Information Services Domains (AISD) can be divided into sub-domains.

The ACD can be divided into two Sub-domains:
• Flight and Embedded Control System Sub-domain, where the aircraft is controlled from the flight-deck
• Cabin Core Sub-domain, which provides environmental functions dedicated to cabin operations, such as environmental control, passenger address, smoke detection, etc.

The AISD can be subdivided into two sub-domains:
• Administrative Sub-domain, which provides operational and airline administrative information to both the flight deck and cabin
• Passenger Support Sub-domain, which provides information to support the passengers

Subsystems within the Passenger Information and Entertainment Services Domain (PIESD) could be supplied by different suppliers.

Passenger Owned Devices (POD) can be supported by onboard networks. The Passenger Owned Devices Domain (PODD) is constituted of only those devices that passengers may bring on board the aircraft.

Reviewing the CIDS documentation of functions and comparing it to the A664P5 definitions, it would appear that the CIDS has functions within the ACD Cabin Core Sub-domain (environmental control, passenger address, smoke detection, etc.) and AISD Administrative Sub-domain (operational and airline administrative information to both the flight deck and cabin.)

To your last question, ACARS is a legacy communications link designed to support Airline Operational Control (AOC) and Airline Administrative Control (AAC) messaging. With advances in data link systems and applications, ACARS can refer to either the AOC messaging (most correctly) or the entire data link system (not so correct) which also includes Air Traffic Control (ATC) messaging.

The ATC portion of data link falls under the ACD. AOC and AAC messaging fall into the AISD. In the case of the A320, the CIDS does not have a direct interface to the AOC/AAC messaging. These messages (manifests, gate assignments, etc.) are printed out in the cockpit and passed to the cabin crew as needed. On some newer aircraft, this may be accessible by the cabin crew via a terminal.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your good answer, but I still have a doubt about your placing of the CIDS both in ACD and AISD. The ACD should be a closed domain and so how can a component, like CIDS, have some parts of it in a closed domain and the remainings in a not-completely-closed domain? $\endgroup$ Nov 13, 2017 at 10:00
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't put it there, the AEEC (the writers of A664) put it there. And if you note, ACD has two sub-domains - one for flight deck and one for cabin. The functions included in the Cabin Core sub-domain are aircraft control functions - environmental control, fire detection, PA, doors - and can be monitored and controlled from the flight deck and the FA station. The domains provide a firewall that allows the PA to override the IFE but blocks the IFE from accessing any control systems. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Nov 13, 2017 at 12:49

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