Under the existing FTI contract, the FAA obtains approximately 28,000 telecommunications services to support a broad spectrum of requirements ranging from critical air traffic control operations to routine administrative functions. FTI relies heavily upon commercial telecommunications access and transport bandwidth to meet the FAA's unique requirements. The FTI contractor also supplements commercially-available telecommunications infrastructure with FTI-dedicated network infrastructure deployed at 4,000+ service delivery locations.
The FTI contract provides network infrastructure, access and transport, and security mechanisms (including boundary protection) to meet the FAA's requirements for communication services. Primarily through the use of dedicated Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) and access and transport services, FTI supports the transfer of voice, data, and video information among National Airspace System (NAS) users and external users.
The FTI contractor is responsible for the design, provisioning, integration, operation, and maintenance of the FTI network. To support the FAA's communications service needs, the FTI network encompasses all required requirements including:
- Physical layer transport and access transmission resources such as fiber, copper, microwave, satellite, etc. and physical layer transmit/receive equipment;
- Data Link Layer traffic flow and control resources such as multiplexers, switches and bridges;
- Network Layer IP networking and security resources, such as routers, firewalls, Boundary Protection Gateways, and Intrusion Detection Systems; and
- Infrastructure, network and service monitoring and control resources as necessary.
The mission of the FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world through the NAS. Due to the critical nature of the NAS, the required performance levels for FTI services generally exceed the performance levels of basic commercial service offerings. The FAA's requirements for high availability services and a survivable network (i.e., protection from network-wide failures) are based upon the need to mitigate the potential for service interruptions that can affect the safety of the flying public and result in costly airline delays. Operational drivers include:
- Safety-criticality of NAS services
- Pre-approval of all required maintenance actions
- Geographic remoteness of NAS sites
- Diversity and Avoidance
- Network Resiliency and Survivability
- Support for Legacy communications interfaces