Securing Schiphol’s communications with an EMC Study

At Schiphol Airport, a video installation by artist Maarten Baas shows a laborer, who appears to be standing in a giant clock, writing and erasing elapsing minutes. This installation was causing Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI), which interfered with the airport’s closed T2000 secure communications network, which is also used by police, fire department and ambulance services. For example, emergency services’ walkie-talkies had no range near the clock.
Christan van Dorst Manager Technical Engineering

A critical installation such as the T2000 system should never be disrupted so we had to find an optimal solution quickly. We can use the measurement experience we have gained in a wide variety of Power Quality projects to identify these kinds of phenomena. You need to come up with a hypothesis and can use all kinds of methodologies for different purposes to check that hypothesis.


This was a very special assignment: working on a famous piece of art, high up in the ceiling of Schiphol Airport’s departure hall, as thousands of passengers pass by! Through our Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) study, we were able to determine at which frequencies the C2000 system operated, and which frequencies were being transmitted. The interference to the C2000 system was caused by an increase in electromagnetic noise when the clock is turned on. The Electromagnetic noise was caused by components, especially Hub PCs and flat ribbon cabling in a specific part of the clock. The problem was quickly solved and the system has been working for years without any problems!

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