Wireless Access

Occasional Contributor II

Air Port Apron Wireless Coverage

Hello Airheads Community,


I have a question that maybe someone can assist with. I am designing an outdoor wireless plan that will cover our Air Port Apron area or the area where aircraft are parked during passenger onload, refueling, etc.


The total area is roughly 2000 ft in length by 1900 ft in width. Additionally, there is a open clear LOS of the entire apron area.  During my single test with an AP-135 and AP-ANT-16. I was able to have relatively good coverage out to about 450 ft with an antenna mount hight of 8ft. I have several buildings in front of the apron on which I can install AP's ant antennas.


Can anyone recommed an AP / Antenna combination that would allow us to increase our coverage area out to at least 850 ft.


Please attached image for view of subject area


Thanks in advance.



Guru Elite

Re: Air Port Apron Wireless Coverage

Where will the clients be located? Tarmac? Inside planes?

| Tim Cappalli | Aruba Security | @timcappalli | timcappalli.me |

NOTE: Answers and views expressed by me on this forum are my own and not necessarily the position of Aruba or Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Occasional Contributor II

Re: Air Port Apron Wireless Coverage



They will be located both on the Tarmac and inside aircraft.

Guru Elite

Re: Air Port Apron Wireless Coverage



Half of the equation is the access points and the antennas.  The other half of the equation is what clients (devices) and what  external antennas would be talking back to those APs?  Some devices might not be able to communicate back at that range, or if they are moving objects, their antennas might not be oriented in such a way to provide adequate throughput based on how they are pointed.  There also could be hidden sources of interference that might under certain circumstances cut or completely destroy your coverage and range.  There are alot of variables here and you might want to engage someone in parallel who has done this before so they can go through all of the possibilities and come up with a plan to test your existing and future devices to see what you would be capable of...



*Answers and views expressed by me on this forum are my own and not necessarily the position of Aruba Networks or Hewlett Packard Enterprise.*
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Re: Air Port Apron Wireless Coverage

Is this for a USAF or Guard base or is this for a commercial/civilian airport? 


Regarding your test setup, assuming a 134+ANT16, that is REALLY a sub-optimal AP+Antenna configuration. I have tested/validated coverage inside a C130 at a distance of 300-400ft from the building using an AP-175 and ANT-2x2-D608. 


Moving forward, the BEST AP to use will be the AP-277 mounted on the buildings facing the aircraft. Mounted at a height of approx 12-15ft, you should easily reach out a good distance, 300-400m on the tarmac, and likely 200m inside the aircraft (depending on the ype of aricraft and orientation, number of doors open, etc). 


That said, note that MOST clients don't work well out past 400m with clear line of sight. Once inside the aircraft that will only get worse. So if you are attempting to reach out to the far edge of that 1900 ft, the clients may not work well. We have some tests with our best performing client devices (2x2 11ac laptops) that have gone out to 600m, but those are fringe devices. Tablets and phones, and general laptops we test out to 200-400m but find outside of that they don't work reliably well, and that is clear line of sight. 

Note that the USAF has an SRD of 1000ft from the AP, so any aircraft parked farther away from the AP than 1000ft, there is no required coverage the comms guys have to hit. To address that, they use mesh points to extend the wifi over these larger areas. 

So in your case, depending on the clients, you may want otl ook at extending the wifi out on nearby light poles, etc. Definately work with your regional sales team, and if this is for military/DoD/ANG, private message me and I can get you to the correct engineering team to assist in any designs.

Jerrod Howard
Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer
Occasional Contributor II

Re: Air Port Apron Wireless Coverage

Thanks all for you recommendations and assistance.Your insight is very helpful.





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