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RFID & Wireless IoT Global, Issue 03/2022 - Publication date: September 14th, 2022
İstanbul Airport

İstanbul Airport Relies on LoRaWAN for Real-Time Monitoring

İstanbul Airport relies on LoRaWAN for real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance of equipment and machinery on an area of more than 76,5 million square meters.

All equipment and machines on more than 76.5 million square meters digitally in view!

During construction, a comprehensive radio network was set up on the premises of the İstanbul Airport. The network supports numerous processes in asset and maintenance management. The radio network is equipped with special communication technology and is therefore suitable for high performance, such as in industrial applications.

The network is fully compatible with LoRaWAN and benefits from the advantages of LoRaWAN, such as the ability to communicate over long distances, low power consumption, and cost efficiency. Additionally, the application is enriched with additional technologies, such as micro-edge computing or additional QoS and security layers.

Bilal Yildiz, Electronic Systems Deputy Manager at IGA İstanbul Airport in an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global.

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One Infrastructure for All Systems

After completion, the IGA İstanbul Airport will be the largest airport in the world. It will offer flights to more than 300 destinations worldwide. 200 million passengers can be transported annually. As the largest infrastructure project in Turkey, there are numerous buildings with different functions and maintenance requirements on the premises of İstanbul Airport. How can the comprehensive control and predictive maintenance of the entire airport be carried out?

The answer: radio-based IoT Technology. The idea was conceived during the construction process while testing various wireless IT solutions. The LoRaWAN technology proved to be a key solution, which will subsequently be implemented continuously throughout the airport to ensure seamless real-time monitoring of all systems. The special feature of the solution is the management with LoRaWAN technology.

Large Airport, Countless Assets

The İstanbul Airport has an extensive and powerful local ICT network for communication between gateways and servers. The airport currently uses 107 IoT gateways to cover the acquisition of information over the entire infrastructure. A total of 650 sensors for monitoring temperature and humidity are installed in the buildings. The energy monitoring of 350 systems is managed by a total of about 350 Lo- RaWAN modules.

The İstanbul Airport employs around 600 people for the entire maintenance of the infrastructure. Six different IT applications have already been implemented at the airport, with more to follow. Up to six different projects are evaluated daily for the use of IoT technology. Currently, 6,000 LoRaWAN modules are in use and there are 5,500 WiFi access points throughout the airport.

Roadmap until 2027

Construction of the airport began in June 2014 and the first phase was completed in October 2018. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2027. After that, İstanbul Airport will officially be considered the largest airport in the world. In 2019, the airport began the installation and testing of all currently running wireless IoT systems. As the airport is expanding daily, new gateways and modules are being installed every day.

Also in 2019, İstanbul Airport began working with Skysens Teknoloji and started integrating LoRa devices and wireless IoT technologies in the airport. The planned technological installations are currently being continuously implemented. In the next six months, another ten systems based on the defined wireless IoT technology are to be implemented.

Real-Time Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance

The İstanbul Airport is a striking example of advantages based on wireless IoT solutions, as countless buildings distributed over a large, connected infrastructure are covered. Some of these buildings are located at great distances from one another. In many cases, it takes at least 20 minutes to get from Building A to Building B.

"That's why we started with wireless IoT technology for monitoring power, lighting, temperature, humidity and pressure. The geographical location of the airport was the main reason for choosing LoRaWAN technology," said Bilal Yildiz. LoRaWAN not only supports the monitoring of airport systems, but also plays a crucial role in implementing predictive maintenance solutions. LoRaWAN supports the existing SCADA system in real-time energy monitoring and uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

"As soon as a problem with the UPS or the energy flow occurs, the LoRaWAN nodes immediately send notifications directly to our mobile phones and e-mail addresses. Our maintenance teams can then react quickly and solve the problem," says Yildiz.

Technology: LoRaWAN

The İstanbul Airport uses a complex LoRaWAN parallel to the IT networks. The LoRaWAN technology comprises nodes, modules, gateways and servers. "We have a high-performance local ICT network at İstanbul Airport. We use 107 IoT gateways to cover the entire airport – in the terminal buildings, in the outside area, and in all other buildings.

This is an enormous number and creates a completely new level of transparency," reports the Deputy Manager for Electronic Systems. Many different types of hardware equipment have interfaces for different communication protocols such as Modbus, MBus, ProfibusDP, BACnet, relays, temperature measurement or Ethernet. Although all LoRaWAN modules can communicate with any protocol in the same way, different interfaces are required for each protocol.

LoRaWAN for Asset Tracking

Sensors are used to locate vehicles, goods and equipment. "With assets that don't have their own power supply, this is a challenging task," says Yildiz, and explains: "That's why we use wireless sensors to manage assets outside the main airport building. Outside the airport, we use GPS systems and LoRaWAN systems to track the assets. For indoor asset tracking, we install LoRaWAN beacons to locate people and wheelchairs," says Yildiz.

The entire İstanbul Airport has an IoT ecosystem that allows different applications to be implemented with LoRaWAN and combined with other technologies.

Yildiz explains: "We communicate our GPS data locally in the Airport Operational Database (AODB). Often, GSM performance is expected from LoRaWAN, but GSM systems and LoRaWAN systems are not comparable. LoRaWAN operates on a very limited bandwidth. We do not monitor every second, but every five minutes, which is sufficient under normal circumstances. This makes LoRaWAN many times more energy efficient."

Challenge: Defining the Appropriate Technology

In the beginning, there was the challenge to select the right technology to meet the tracking requirements as well as the regulations of İstanbul Airport. LoRaWAN, SigFox, ZigBee and other IoT technologies were evaluated. The tests led to a result that was not expected, as Yildiz explains: "We actually intended to use SigFox technology. However, SigFox collects all our data in a cloud in France and not in Turkey, not at the airport itself. One of the main requirements was that no tracking information should leave the İstanbul Airport. Unfortunately, this was not possible with SigFox. That's why we chose LoRaWAN."

All Requirements Fulfilled with One Technology

At İstanbul Airport, there are countless processes, applications, and machines that all work simultaneously. There must be one system, which monitors everything from temperature and smart meters, to pressure conditions and energy absorption. The emergency signaling systems at the airport must also be monitored daily and at all times. All these systems are located in a widely distributed infrastructure covering some 76,5 million square meters.

In such a situation, spectrum management is an absolute necessity, as Yildiz emphasizes: "We send and receive data via modules. This means that there is simultaneous communication between different systems. This creates the need for spectrum management, which is why our solution at İstanbul Airport is unique. With LoRaWAN we can manage all systems simultaneously."

The Next Steps at the Airport

Over the next few years, there will be a continuous implementation of wireless IoT applications in various systems within the airport. A mobile Android application is also planned, which will bring a task management application to the smartphones of the maintenance team. The task management system is currently being designed and programmed. The system will then be integrated into the AODB. The digitalization of the personnel administration, especially of the maintenance team, is also on the development roadmap of the İstanbul Airport.

İstanbul Airport

İstanbul Airport is located around 35 kilometers from the city on the Bosporus. The construction of the airport will be completed in four construction phases. The first phase was completed with the commissioning of two runways and a terminal with a capacity of 90 million passengers per year. Once completed, the hub will serve flights to more than 300 destinations with an annual capacity of 200 million passengers.

RFID & Wireless IoT Global: The e-magazine for users, integrators and developers of RFID & Wireless IoT

This article was produced by the editorship of RFID & Wireless IoT global and published in the issue 02/2020. The European technology magazine RFID & Wireless IoT Global appears 6 times in the year with over 100 up to the edge with information and know-how filled sides. We report extensively, in detail and up-to-date on the latest technological developments and use cases from the areas of industrial production, logistics, trade, security, medical industry, Smart City & Consumer IoT, hardware, research and digitalization.

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Anja Van Bocxlaer
Anja Van Bocxlaer
Editor in chief and Conference Manager
Lüneburg, near Hamburg, Germany
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