Transforming Terminal Network at Chennai International Airport

Learn how Netcon earned AAI Chennai’s trust to transform its legacy network infrastructure to a SDN ready network with high security posture.

Chennai International Airport

Chennai International Airport, operated by Airport Authority of India, is the 3rd busiest in international traffic and cargo capacity and 4th busiest in passenger traffic in India.  The airport serves as the regional headquarters of the Airports Authority of India for South India comprising the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala and the union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep. To cope with the passenger traffic, two new terminals, namely T2 and one satellite terminal, are under construction to handle 40 million passengers per year.

The Challenge

The existing home-grown network has served well for many years to cater to the needs of the passenger, cargo, and airlines. Over the last 5 years, there was a substantial increase in passenger traffic, boom in Wi-Fi connectivity from personal mobile devices, heightened travel & security concerns and robust cargo traffic, growth outpaced the network’s capabilities. Moreover, airport many IP enabled devices like surveillance cameras, asset tracking to improve customer experience and operational efficiency.

The current infrastructure had three main challenges: All the active devices were announced End of Life by the OEM, single Point of Failure in many distribution and access locations and longer time to troubleshoot and resolve network issues.

In an airport environment, multiple systems (also called as tenants) use the network and they require logical isolation for security and better performance. In the existing network, each tenant was configured as a VLAN and there was 100+ VLANs in the network. These VLANs were configured and managed manually in all the switches which lead to frequent misconfigurations. Due to this, the network often experienced “broadcast storm” which had catastrophic effect on the overall network performance. Also, Network lacked flexibility to provide segmentation and customized policies to the tenants.

The challenge is to design a multi-tenant network and implement it with minimum disruption to the on-going airport operations.

The Solution

AAI Chennai through a tender process selected Netcon as a trusted System Integrator with stringent evaluation of product choice, Solution, design expertise and experience in working in airport projects. On Award of the order, Meticulous study was carried out by the expert team to understand MAA’s issues and the solution given earned their confidence. Netcon Worked towards meeting customer’s requirement, designed, and implemented a multi-service, resilient and secure network with centralised configuration & policy management.  The new 40G backbone network solved the network throughput issues and provided the adequate capacity for the current & future applications.

The solution provides segmentation and customized policies to the tenants from a single pane of glass management. VRF based segmentation ensures traffic isolation between tenants thereby providing a MPLS like network virtualisation. Routing at distribution locations and a loop free topology design mitigated the broadcast storms. In-Service Software Patching at core layer ensures zero downtime for software upgradation.

The solution also includes a NGFW (next-generation firewall) fully integrated, threat-focused firewall with unified management. It uniquely provides high security posture with advanced threat protection before, during, and after attacks. It provides unified management and automated threat correlation across tightly integrated security functions, including application firewall, NGIPS.

The entire airport wide network was migrated to the new next generation network within the given time window with meticulous planning and precise execution. This highly scalable and secure software defined network infrastructure will act as a platform for AAI to transform Chennai Airport to a digitally enabled airport for a great customer experience.

Netcon is a reliable business associate who values long standing relations. Whenever we approached Netcon to trace best solutions for technical requirements or issues, we always received a very warm response in finding an industry acceptable and apt solution. We are very much thankful for the kind of support we receive and really cherish it. In future, we would like to receive information on industry trends, technology updates, reliability, and ruggedness of products to stay contemporary with emerging technologies.

Baburaj. V

Jt. Genral Manager - IT