APEX: VT Miltope issues update on cabin WAP developments

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VT Miltope logoVT Miltope says that its nMAP2 802.11AC multi-function wireless access point is now available as line-fit at Airbus and Boeing.

The device is an optimised cabin wireless LAN access point network for inflight connectivity utilising Cognitive Hotspot Technology (CHT). This uses smart technologies to constantly monitor how they are being used and adapts the Wi-Fi environment to give the user the best, fastest wireless experience.

CHT means that fewer WAPs may need to be fitted to the aircraft cabin as they collaborate with each other and can move connected users to give the maximum throughput.

It says real-world performance metrics show when using conventional Wi-Fi solutions without CHT in passenger aircraft that as soon as 18-20 passenger devices request 1 Mbps video streaming “goodput”, or successful streaming, can fall.

VT Miltope also says that its RazorSecure cyber security product integration on the nMAP2, which provides continuous auditing of data being passed over the inflight network, is almost complete.

VT Miltope's MAP3 Wireless Access Point.
VT Miltope’s MAP3 Wireless Access Point.

Its MAP3 WAP is also on target for a Q1 2019 rollout, while its MAP 4 update featuring the 802.11ax standard is currently scheduled for rollout in Q3 2020.

IEEE 802.11ax is the new standard for wireless LANs, with nominal data rates 37% higher than IEEE 802.11ac, and with a 4× increase in user throughput due to more efficient spectrum utilisation.

Alex Cowan, RazorSecure CEO, said it is seeing cyber attacks on other transport WiFi networks, such as on trains, continuing to grow. The worry is that inflight WiFi networks could suffer similar attacks and airlines must be prepared and be proactive in their defences.

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With the European NIS directive now live there is even more reason for airlines to take more care with passengers’ WiFi connections. The NIS Directive aims to raise the overall security and resilience of network and information systems across the EU. It demands active monitoring and anomaly detection of inflight connectivity wireless networks if airlines are to comply properly.

And there are big financial penalties for companies who fall foul of the law.

“The fines for companies that don’t follow the NIS Directive can be huge,” said Cowan. “They could be up to four percent of a company’s worldwide revenue.”

RazorSecure works by learning what is “normal” network behaviour through machine learning and can recognise potential cyber attacks by identifying abnormal behaviour.

This can work far better than legacy cyber security solutions, such as antivirus software, that look for known threats, but may be out of date or miss new types of attacks.

VT Miltope says another benefit of Cognitive Hotspot Technology is that it can help locate individual network users by triangulation and signal strength. The accuracy is currently around two metres, but the target is to get this down to one metre.

Not only could this be used to identify potential hackers, but the WAP’s location services could also be used to target advertising content to individual passengers.

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