Air navigation service providers and suppliers of Voice Communication Systems (VCS), Radios and Recorders have confirmed that the VoIP protocol as defined by the EUROCAE WG67 ED documents is now the strategic direction for ATM Voice communications and this decision has been endorsed by the EUROCONTROL Com Team. This implies that all players should now dedicate resources to achieving the objective of moving towards a VoIP ground voice network.
A European Single Sky Implementation (ESSI) objective has been defined and is expected to achieve consensus at COMT, SCG and PC levels, this should result in all European air navigation service providers supporting the objective and defining plans for the migration of their ground/ground telephone communication networks towards VoIP within the 2011 to 2015 timeframe, closely followed by the migration of their ground/ground radio communication networks within the 2013 to 2020 timeframe. VoIP in ATM implementation and transition expert groups are currently being organised in order to aid the migration process towards VoIP. It is now expected that the ICAO Aeronautical Communication Panel (ACP) WG-I will cite EUROCAE WG67 ED documents within future editions of its ATN/IPS Manual, implying that the EUROCAE VoIP interfaces should be adopted globally. Following a series of successful ETSI PlugtestsTM events that had the scope of testing interoperability between VoIP telephone and radio interfaces and also VoIP gateways it is recognised that VCS and Radio suppliers have dedicated their in-house resources to developing EUROCAE WG67 ED compliant interfaces. A SESAR JU work programme defines a comprehensive test programme for IP based ground-ground communications (voice/data) over a Pan European Network Service (PENS) in its Work Package 15 and efforts to test voice quality, call performance parameters, call types and a wide range of telephone and radio feature functionality will be starting in the coming weeks. The SESAR 15.2.10 programme will also use a VoIP conformance test tool in order to facilitate the validation of VoIP interfaces using the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) over the PENS. It is also foreseen that the implementation of VoIP ground telephone and radio networks will make the process of accessing Radio Stations within Functional Airspace Blocks from distributed VCSs easier to implement while at the same time improving the safety of last resort communications by allowing adjacent Area Control Centres (ACCs) to assume control of radio stations. It will also facilitate the process of transferring sector suite roles between different ACCs. Prior to the imminent implementation of VoIP networks, the moment has arrived when air navigation service providers should be planning staff training to give them the required know-how about VoIP telephone, radio and recorder interfaces, network equipment as well as the protocols used to establish connections between VCSs and Radio stations. Helios is running a 2-day course on VoIP for ATS Ground Voice Networks on 18-19 May 2010, covering what VoIP is and how it is applied for ATS ground services. Places are limited to 25 and bookings are now being taken. Brochures can be downloaded from Helios website: www.askhelios.com/training.