One of the challenges with Air Force Flight Line network communication is size. Air Force base maintenance ramps are generally over ½ mile long with many planes parked for maintenance. Traditional networking communication mediums cannot extend to areas of need effectively.
The challenge is both with the client and the transmitter. WiFi communication, truly any wireless, is a two-way communication. A stable connection is only as strong as the two devices creating that connection. In today’s environment, the client is generally a very small form factor such as smartphones, laptops, or tablets. These clients have a small WiFi radio that simply cannot connect effectively over clear line of sight distance; certainly not effectively nor consistently. The challenge is to wirelessly extend the network, making it easier to extend the network to these clients.
By using wireless mesh technologies, we can have an access point mounted to a campus building at the edge of the Flight Line Apron (root node), paired with a portable access point (mesh node) configured to connect with each other wirelessly. The strength of the mesh node radio is far greater than the typical clients mentioned above and thus can reach further. This same access point is also supplying a WiFi signal to the local area thus extending the reach of a less capable client.
The ID Technologies Wireless Extender Box (WEB Slinger) is a ruggedized mesh node capable of extending the network for WiFi clients. The goal of this solution, beyond creating a consistent connection, is to be simple. Those working on the flight line are there working on Air Force assets, not messing with technology. They should never have to open a box, configure a device or start a VPN. They should be able to check this tool out of the warehouse and go. The WEB Slinger then meshes with the BAN network and simply works.
Performance testing on an active flight line provided 40mbps download to a smart phone from over ¼ mile range from the root node. With the WEB Slinger located at the base of an AirStair at a range of 887’, a smart phone measured throughput speeds of over 30mbps from the galley of a C10.
Ease of use: Once the Ruckus access point is configured to the Ruckus powered Base Area Network, the only thing to do is turn it on. There is no special client or client configuration and no need for any forklift upgrade nor special clients. As long as the client device is properly onboarded to the base area network, they will connect to the WEB Slinger.
Military Grade: Encased in a ruggedized, military grade case, the core feature of the WEB Slinger is a Ruckus access point utilizing the Ruckus patented BeamFlex adaptive antenna technologies. This antenna system mitigates radio interference, noise and network performance issues, and improves application flows. Using BeamFlex technology, APs can dynamically change antenna patterns on a packet-by-packet basis to adapt to conditions and ensure a solid connection.
Magnet Mount: Using a built-in magnet, the WEB Slinger has the ability to mount it in a position, allowing for the most efficient connection available. In most cases, airmen are on the maintenance ramp with some sort of vehicle. Having the ability to mount the case onto the exterior of the vehicle, possibly the underside wing of a plane or onto the stairs leading to the cockpit, will be a large advantage to maintainers.
Tri-Pod Stand: The case can be mounted to a standard Camera Tri-Pod stand for use in any area where a magnet cannot be utilized.
When using infrastructures, powered by Ruckus Networks, the ID Technologies WEB Slinger is the lightweight answer to extend the already secured base area network without the need of software installation or new devices.