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Replace VSAT Satellite with Cellular

The Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) provides airfield weather conditions to help pilots and flight dispatchers make take off and landing decisions for flight operations. The AWOS is comprised of sensors that measure wind, temperature, visibility, cloud cover and altimeter settings.

The AWOS serial data is disseminated via the FAA’s National Aerospace Data Interchange Network (NADIN) system. Airport managers who wish to send their AWOS data to the FAA can do so by contracting with a third-party vendor. Currently there is only one FAA approved NADIN vendor in the United States. It uses VSAT satellite connections to deliver data from the individual airports to the data center, and then to the FAA. The start up fees and monthly subscription charges for this service are expensive and cost-prohibitive for some airports.

A leading provider of non-FAA AWOS installation and maintenance wanted to find a low-cost alternative to the current satellite vendor service. After researching various delivery options, including dial-up modems, the company found that IP-based cellular communications is an affordable and reliable alternative to satellite.

The Digi Connect WAN 3G, a high speed upgradeable HSDPA/EV-DO Rev. A Wireless WAN cellular router with integrated VPN, is connected to the AWOS. It utilizes cellular networks (GSM or CDMA) to send data to a server, and then across the Internet where anyone who is registered for the service can use a web browser to view the AWOS weather data.

Sending data from the AWOS via the Digi Connect WAN 3G provides several benefits:

  • Lower installation costs that satellite system
  • Affordable monthly cellular data rate plans
  • Ability to maintain persistent “always-on” connection to cellular network
  • Higher reliability than hardwired connections, which are susceptible to wire breaks

With the Digi Connect WAN 3G, this AWOS provider can offer an affordable and reliable way for its customers to access up-to-the-minute weather updates.

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High cost of VSAT satellite services

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