G&D KVM Systems Support German Air Traffic Control Service

The control tower of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung at Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
(Image credit: Guntermann & Drunck)

When Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens at the end of October 2020, it will become one of the largest airports in Germany, with around 350,000 planned aircraft movements per year on two parallel runways. Not far from the main terminal, the control tower of DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung (German Air Traffic Control) rises into the sky. All take-offs and landings will be controlled and monitored from here. But hardly anyone knows that the tower at Berlin Brandenburg Airport has already been in operation since 2012 and has been controlling all air traffic at the neighboring Schönefeld Airport safely and reliably for eight years.

Air navigation service provider DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH operates the airport control towers of all German international commercial airports. With 65 years of experience, it controls over 3 million aircraft movements per year. DFS air traffic controllers direct and monitor all air traffic in German airspace and will soon also take over air traffic control at the new BER airport. By using cutting-edge equipment and employing professionally trained personnel, Deutsche Flugsicherung play a pioneering role among air navigation providers worldwide.

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For years, KVM products of Guntermann & Drunck (G&D) have been supporting DFS in Germany to ensure that they are able to operate their technical systems even more safely, efficiently, and easily. With KVM technology, the computer systems required for air traffic control can be removed from the air traffic controller environment and still be operated from a distance in real time. In addition, KVM matrix switches enable the independent operation of several servers via several controller consoles. The matrix switches can also be used to set up extensive redundancy concepts and thus prevent failures and system malfunctions.

The tower pulpit offers air traffic controllers an unimpeded view of the runways. From here, DFS controllers ensure that air traffic at nearby Schönefeld Airport runs smoothly around the clock. Using KVM systems from G&D, it is possible to switch between different computers that are physically separated and to display the images of several Air Traffic Systems (ATS) on their screens. All systems and the entire IT infrastructure must run securely and reliably 24/7, 365 days a year. 

In order to take account of the changed interface architecture and the latest computer technology, the KVM systems were recently inspected, and after eight years of reliable service, renewed with more modern equipment. Without interrupting the work of air traffic controllers, the equipment was replaced during normal operations, which placed additional demands on safety and reliability. DFS and G&D worked hand in hand to implement the complex redundant infrastructure. The new equipment ensures that the system is always available, thus providing maximum security for flight operations. 

Guntermann & Drunck has specialized in ATC applications for many years and has been able to gain extensive experience in setting up redundant KVM systems for mission-critical environments. The systems are used in all mission-critical areas such as center and tower are also included in DFS’s remote towers. Both companies, G&D and DFS, benefit greatly from their close cooperation. This enables G&D to work together even more closely with the ATC industry and to further adapt their portfolio to the industry’s requirements. This way, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung is also able to discuss new products and requirements directly with the KVM manufacturers. Thus, both the efficiency and the reliability of the constantly improved systems will continue to benefit from the use of KVM.

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