Riding out the Storm, Malaysia Airports Delivers More Memorable Journeys
At KL International Airport (KLIA), passengers enjoy a streamlined boarding experience. They can quickly check in without waiting in a long queue, and can handle work online or surf the Internet using convenient networks in the departure lounge.
This is one of many ways in which KLIA, the largest international airport managed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), is benefiting from its Airports 4.0 Initiative. Malaysia Airports is committed to creating superior connectivity and providing a seamless travel experience for passengers. To this end, it is moving towards digital and intelligent airports with secure and reliable networks, smarter and convenient applications, and better quality services. The Airports 4.0 Initiative is pivotal for Malaysia Airports to become a global airport group that pioneers interconnection and sustainable development.
Malaysia Airports started to go digital as early as 2018. Its digital transformation framework, Airports 4.0 Initiative, encompasses infrastructure enhancement, capability development, and digital innovation. The initiative aims to improve the efficiency of terminal optimization and operations, generate more revenue, and intensify regulatory compliance, ultimately delivering a better customer experience.
The core of the Airports 4.0 Initiative is to enhance connectivity and real-time information sharing by connecting all passengers, tenants, airport staff, and other stakeholders to a fully integrated digital ecosystem. It centers around four key domains of transformation:
• Terminal operations: Use data and analysis to improve daily operational efficiency.
• Passenger experience: Provide passengers with more control over their journeys and more personalized services.
• Security and safety: Redefine airport security and passenger safety using target recognition and intelligent video analysis.
• Employee activity and productivity: Improve employee efficiency through digital means.
For Malaysia Airports, digital transformation is inevitable. Rapidly developing technologies have been widely applied across all kinds of solutions for airport operators and the airport ecosystem. These solutions can improve passenger experience and airport operational efficiency, expanding channels and opportunities for revenue generation. Secure and reliable networks are the cornerstone of Malaysia Airports’ digital and intelligent transformation. The convergence of 5G and many other technologies brings with it the potential to connect all things across all scenarios.
Airlines and cargo forwarders provide transport services from airports that in turn need high network reliability and security. The original network architecture of Malaysia Airports faced huge obstacles since they had to abandon manual configurations to become totally smart.
Poor reliability and scalability: Airport services and surrounding tenants needed many VLANs. At that time, the two core switches were almost fully loaded, preventing new service systems from going live.
Manual configuration and difficult O&M: Malaysia Airports 's service systems used to be manually configured and were prone to faults, resulting in time-consuming and difficult repairs. It took at least 10 days to roll out new service systems for airlines, ground handling departments, and airport security.
Critical services could not be isolated: Air traffic management (ATM) authorities and some airlines required physical isolation for independent networking, while Malaysia Airports could not meet this requirement.
Huawei’s Fully Connected Fiber Network Solution is reliable, agile, simplified, and green. It has helped KLIA resolve all of its pain points during digital transformation, laying a connectivity foundation for it to make the move from Airports 2.0 to Airports 4.0.
Compared with the traditional IP architecture, the solution adopts an IP + DWDM dual-plane architecture. It capitalizes on physical and logical service isolation to provide a highly reliable bearer of services for ATM authorities, airlines, and terminals. The router plane and WDM plane back each other up for cross-domain protection, fully meeting the high requirements of Malaysia Airports 's airlines and ATM authorities for reliable and secure networks.
Huawei’s Fully Connected Fiber Network Solution adopts GPON/XGS-PON technology at the access layer to realize natural Layer 2 isolation and avoid risks like network storms. It uses optical fibers instead of copper cables, which could only cover 100 meters at most. In addition, the solution features passive aggregation so that fewer ELV rooms are required and airport operations will become greener and more efficient.
Beyond these benefits, the solution has a high scalability. There are no restrictions on bandwidth or distance and cables do not need to be re-routed. This is because the solution supports flexible capacity expansion from GE to 10GE high-bandwidth networks. As Malaysia Airports enhances the specifications of its operational system, it needs an increasing number of smart terminals and higher bandwidth. Huawei's solution helps Malaysia Airports quickly roll out Airports 4.0 applications on massive terminals. During this process, NCE-IP delivers E2E services in one click, meeting the development requirements that will amount over the next five to ten years.
For Malaysia Airports, future airports should evolve towards fully-connected and real-time Airports 4.0. Huawei’s Fully Connected Fiber Network Solution is reliable, agile, simplified, and green, providing powerful network support for its digital journey.
With Huawei's help, KLIA took only four and a half months to migrate and upgrade the entire network. Usually, such a large-scale project would take 12 to 18 months.
Since the transformation, Malaysia Airports 's new networks boast a capacity that is at least 10 times larger than that previously. The port speed ranges from 10 Gbit/s to 100 Gbit/s, while the core scalability can reach 400 Gbit/s. Such secure and efficient networks enable Malaysia Airports to implement more digital projects. Passengers, merchants, and staff will be able to enjoy convenient services brought by digital airports.
Automated processes and powerful network capabilities enrich the passenger experience. Online check-in brings shorter queues and less congestion. Passengers can find their flight schedule and boarding gate using a mobile app, and then travel smoothly from the airport entrance to the boarding gate. This delivers a smooth boarding experience and helps airports effectively manage passenger traffic, reduce congestion at all checkpoints, and ensure passengers can spend time shopping or dining at airport stores.
Malaysia Airports also flexibly configured networks based on airport tenant requirements to prevent broadcast storms caused by the rapid increase of terminals. This improves tenant experience while slashing O&M costs. Huawei's network solution integrates multiple technologies to prevent network issues like broadcast storms from influencing airport services and management.
The global aviation industry has noticed the importance of data sharing. Malaysia Airports is accelerating the implementation of Airport Collaborative Decision-Making (A-CDM) and effectively cooperating with airline partners by sharing real-time information. This is critical to reducing delays and cutting the O&M costs of airport IT systems, as well as enabling Malaysia Airports to take preventive measures against potential risks.
The digital transformation of airports and even the entire aviation industry is a long and arduous journey. Intelligent airports cannot be built overnight. Passenger experience and demands will always come first. From ambience to amenities, Malaysia Airports aims to make its airports both a destination and an experience by delivering the ultimate memorable airport experience through continuous technological innovation.