Posted on Dec 13, 2016

SAF Microwave and East Midlands Airport

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Discover how Zycomm delivered a secure and reliable communications solution to East Midlands Airport.

East Midlands Airport is an International airport located at Castle Donnington in Derbyshire, which lies between the cities of Derby, Nottingham and Leicester.

The Challenge

Some years ago East Midlands Airport first implemented their WebTrak software. WebTrak is an online tool which enables you to see air traffic in the vicinity of East Midlands Airport. The system was originally set up for environmental purposes, to measure noise disruption in the areas closest to the airport. They were the first European airport to make this facility widely available, which enables aircraft information and the routings of flights to be viewed. WebTrak enables anyone to see aircraft operations at East Midlands Airport but it does not show aircraft above 15,000 feet, (which are outside of their controlled airspace and are not operating to or from the airport) as well as some light aircraft.

East Midlands Airport first implemented their Multilateration System in 2010. Multilateration is a navigation technique based on the measurement of the different in distance between stations at known locations that broadcast signals at known times. Coupled with an upgrade to the WebTrak system which was delivered in 2011, “multilat” provides users of the facility with more detailed location information for aircraft movements to and from the airport. As the aircraft passes through any of their stations surrounding the airport, data is then sent back to a management system.

During it’s infancy for around two and a half years, the data was being sent using a normal DSL connection through Zen internet. Mark Chambers explained that even though DSL was able to effectively meet the needs of the system when serving its initial purpose (as more of an environmental tool), it proved far to constrained as well as extremely slow and unreliable when tracking aircraft. They were finding that the connection was undependable; elements such as bad weather would cause the connection to go down and they were loosing a lot of targets. This was a serious problem, loosing data or targets meant that in air traffic surrounding the airport was unclear at certain times.

The Brief

  • To provide a reliable solution to replace the existing DSL connection
  • The solution needed to be secure, with guaranteed speeds
  • The solution was to aid the improvement and efficiency of operations at the airport whilst heightening  air traffic safety
  • The solution needed to be robust enough that elements such as weather would not interfere with the connection


We first approached the airport with our SAF Microwave links solution in 2010. Due to initial concerns with Microwave Links being a fairly new and unfamiliar at the time, unfortunately nothing was agreed. We later approached them again in 2012 when the solution was more familiar and we were able to install a trial fixed microwave link. We had the go ahead to install shortly afterwards.

Microwave links have provided the airport with a cost effective, reliable solution that has seen 100% availability since install.

Mark Chambers, Airfield Technical Manager:

“Ever since the install of fixed microwave there has been 100% availability. Microwave links proved more cost effective and with much better speeds than DSL”


Discover the Zycomm SAF Tehnika Microwave Solution