Bush Intercontinental Airport-Houston, is among the top few international airports in the U. S. The volume of tasks handled at this airport- the ninth busiest in the U. S- is enormous, yet it functions smoothly. The secret behind the smooth and hassle-free functioning of this airport is to be found in its strong, high-tech, state-of- art IS network. The airport consists of the four terminals-A, B, C and IAB that were built in over a period from 1969 to 1990, resulting in a mix of technologies to be managed by the Aviation MIS department.
The network at the airport is primarily fiber-optic with T-1 lines connecting the Ethernet-based LANs at each airport to create a citywide WAN. A non-collapsible fiber ring around the city of Houston connects all the airports to the administration building. Even as the IAB had the newest technologies available, terminals A, B, and C handled the bulk of the traffic and revenue generated by the airport. Terminal C and a major part of terminal B are leased to Continental Airlines, who handle three-fourths of all the traffic. The network at the airport is leased from the local telephone company, Southwestern Bell telephone.
The Department of Aviation (DOA) manages eight LANs supporting 455 personal computers and 12 servers. Four Stratus minicomputers also support airport operations. Two of the Stratus systems run IAH’s most crucial safety and scheduling system. A mainframe computer located in downtown Houston is connected to the DOA network. Over and above, each individual airline that has leased space from DOA has its own terminals for its own uses. There is a proposal to install OC3 servers, the equivalent of 100 T-1 lines as the backbone of the network, giving the IS here the cutting-edge technology.
What are the key components of the IS infrastructure at IAH? Effective IS are critical for an airport to run smoothly. They save time. They ensure smooth overall functioning of the various sub-systems within the airport system. An advanced IS, as at IAH is not only a source of pride for the airport personnel, but helps determine an airline where to expand its services. What is even more significant, an advanced IS system can directly impact the bottom line of airport budget, as well as the entire economic success of the region in which the airport operates.
IAH, the ninth busiest international airport in the United States boasts of a large complex information system. Some of the standard business applications used here are budgeting, records management, rates and charges, warehouse inventory and purchasing. There are various other tasks for which the airport requires the automated systems as flight information, security access control, ground transportation, paging/information, airfield lighting, radio and facility maintenance, vehicle maintenance, parking, concession tracking, and a wide range of planning, design and construction activities.
It is in fact due to the advanced IS that a passenger waiting for a connecting flight here, for instance, feels comfortable and is able to taxi to a waiting lounge, pass through immigration, retrieve baggage, complete custom, check the video-display for connecting flight and use his wait-time to make calls, have a snack, visit the restroom and get to the gate in time to upgrade his seat.
The passenger then boards his flight, handing the gate-attendant his electronic boarding pass which is computer-scanned at door of the plane, confirming that the passenger is cleared to board the plane for the next leg of his trip. Consider the software applications in this architecture. Which do you think are running on the local PCs and which are running on the servers or mainframes in the network? Softwares on the PCs used at IAH include standard business software applications for budgeting, record management, rates and charges, warehouse inventory applications and purchasing.
They run on the local PCs, and are used by the airport personnel. Besides these, the airport requires the automated systems for managing flight information, security access control, ground transportation, paging/information, airfield lighting, radio and facility maintenance, vehicle maintenance, parking concession tracking, parking, design and construction tasks. The Microsoft Office suite including Word, Excel and Access is used. E-mail, calendaring and scheduling programs run in all the computers in Microsoft Outlook.
They run on an exchange server. 1. Software on the PCs Standard Business Applications as well as Specialized Applications Standard Business Applications: budgeting, records management, rates and charges, warehouse inventory and purchasing. Specialized Applications: flight information, security access control, ground transportation, paging/information, air-field lighting, radio and facility maintenance, vehicle maintenance, parking, concession tracking, planning, design and construction. 2. Software on servers and mainframes
E-mail, calendaring and Scheduling programs in all computers in Microsoft outlook. What are the advantages and disadvantages to the DOA of leasing the networking from Southwestern Bell? Advantages 1. Fiber-optic network at the airport. 2. T-1 lines connecting the Ethernet-based LANs at each airport to create a city wide LAN. 3. A non collapsible fiber ring around the city of Houston that connects all the airports to the administration building. 4. Non collapsible ring ensures, if one link fails the entire network does not collapse.
5. The improvement program will install OC3 service, the equivalent of 100 T-1. lines. 6. Innovation perspective. Disadvantages 1. The airport has four terminals built over a wide time frame resulting in a mix of technologies managed by Aviation MIS department. 2. The infrastructure needed to manage this airport must include both new and old technologies. 3. This mixture presents a challenge. 4. DOA itself manages eight LANs supporting 455 personal computers and 455 personnel. 5. Innovation at the cost of smooth functioning.
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