National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

NextGen CNS Test Bed

Shared Situational Awareness Hazards in Real Time

Shared Situational Awareness of Hazards in Real Time. Select image to view larger. 

Airport Surface Wireless Communications


  • Reduce cost and increase performance of airport communications and surveillance infrastructure
  • Enable airports to expand operations affordably
  • Support multiple users including: pilots; controllers; airlines; dispatchers; service providers
  • Preserve protected aviation spectrum for safety
Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X (ASDE–X) Display

Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X (ASDE–X) Display. Select image to view larger.

NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is leading research for a new wireless mobile communications network technology for shared situational awareness and multiple safety-critical air traffic applications on the airport surface.

The new airport surface communications system will be based on the IEEE 802.16e standard and will operate in the 5091- to 5150-MHz band proposed for allocation to aeronautical mobile route services (AM(R)S).

Airport Surface Surveillance and Wireless Mobile Communications Network Testbed at NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

The IEEE 802.16e-based technology meets airport surface requirements under non-line-of-sight conditions in the 2- to 6-GHz spectrum by use of scalable orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) with channels from 1.25 to 20 MHz to transmit up to 50 Mb/s within a 5-km radius to vehicles moving at speeds up to 120 km/h.

As an AM(R)S allocation, the network will provide both safety-critical air traffic control services and communications among mobile users and facilities on the airport surface required for safety and regularity of flight.

The research and demonstrations will be conducted via the next-generation communications, navigation, and surveillance test bed (NextGen CNS Test Bed) located at NASA GRC and three nearby airports in northeast Ohio.

The NextGen CNS Test Bed is a collaborative effort between the Sensis Corporation in East Syracuse, New York, and NASA GRC in Cleveland, Ohio.

For additional information, view the NextGen CNS Testbed website (site no longer avaiable).