Home | products & services | AFSWITCH – AFTN Message Switch

AFSWITCH – AFTN Message Switch


The Automatic AFTN Message Switch from Copperchase was created for ATC using our extensive experience of the aviation marketplace. AFSWITCH has been specifically designed for AFTN use, meeting the requirements of the current issue of ICAO Annex 10. The switch provides full connectivity to the Copperchase AFGATE and AFTERM products.

Copperchase hardware and software platforms are well proven through extensive use within the AFTN network and commercially operated message switching centres worldwide. An ongoing development programme ensures that the software keeps pace with technological advances. It can also handle up to 64 serial connections and is supplied configured for each application.

System Descriptions

AFSWITCH is designed for non-stop 24-hour operation. Its core consists of two mirrored file servers plus a pair of powerful serial communications processors. These are linked by a resilient high-speed Ethernet LAN. The serial ports are connected via A/B switching units to the relevant line interfaces. The mirrored file servers use replication software with a high-speed connection between the units. The replication software uses this high-speed link to ensure that the disk content of the two systems is identical. In the event of failure, the secondary unit takes over without loss of data or disruption to any connected network user.

The serial interface modules run with one set on-line while the other monitors the on-line system, ready to take over instantly if needed. The CPU changeover unit assists in coordinating the two CPUs, allowing for manual changeover. When changeover occurs, messages being transmitted or received will be interrupted by the hardware changeover. AFTN message sequence numbering allows AFTN systems to request a re-send of interrupted messages – this is done automatically by AFSWITCH.

Software Features

AFSWITCH software comprises a collection of tasks running on a multi-tasking operating system. It uses industry standard components and data formats where possible, e.g. journal/archive uses dBase format to allow access via standard spreadsheets and databases. Resilient data storage is provided by the mirrored fileservers.

Line interface – provides outgoing message format (AFTN) generation. It supports ITA2 (Baudot) and ITA5 (ASCII) character sets. All circuit parameters can be modified by the supervisor without stopping the system.
Journal and archive – stores received and transmitted message text and message journals in an integrated database to allow easy searching and retrieval. There are facilities to transfer the archive database to CD for storage or additional analysis elsewhere.
Routing – supports routing by AFTN address and trunk routing according to ICAO tables. These tables can be changed on-line without stopping the system.
Statistics – generates summaries daily at midnight or on supervisor request. The midnight summaries give the previous day’s circuit and system traffic totals. Monthly and year-to-date summaries are by supervisor request. The user can also define additional summaries as required by using standard spreadsheet packages.

Optional Features

Telecom interfaces – dial-up PSTN, telegraph, fax, telex, X25, TCP/IP (Internet).
Briefing – software module giving terminal access to briefing databases held on a Copperchase AFGATE.
SITA – allows reception and transmission of SITA messages over AFTN network and vice versa.
Interfaces to other systems – Airport Administration, Flight Data Management, Airport Remote Management Unit.