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Feasibility of LDACS1 Cell Planning in European Airspace

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The L-band Digital Aeronautical Communications System (LDACS) is the air-to-ground data link technology within the Future Communications Infrastructure (FCI). LDACS1 is one of two candidate LDACS technologies that have been recommended for further study by ICAO. In this paper, we assess the feasibility of a Europe-wide deployment of the LDACS1 system. For this purpose, we consider the estimated data traffic load for the year 2020 and perform cell planning to serve this traffic with LDACS1 base stations. The requirement is that the proposed cell planning is able to fully serve the expected traffic and to provide full coverage of the continental European airspace above Flight Level 100. We propose a frequency assignment which takes into account the interference from Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) ground stations, which are also operating in the L-band. We come to the conclusion that a European deployment of LDACS1 is easily achievable, coexists well with today’s operating DME stations, and still leaves significant room for future traffic growth.

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