Providing the latest security and surveillance systems (e.g. CCTV) and onboard entertainment technologies (Infotainment) such as passenger WiFi services to the rail sector is a challenge. Reliability of these onboard technologies is critical for both train operators and passengers, while also improving the maintenance of onboard devices when trains are on the move.
Existing conventional train communication networks are facing several challenges, including limitation in bandwidth and systems integration. The devices installed in rail communication networks often need to operate in harsh environments with unique requirements such as severe air pollutants, vibration, shock, input voltage surge and ripple, and EMC (EMI/RFI).
Other challenges are security and control management. Train Communication Networks consist of four main elements: Security, Information, Control and Passenger communications. Each part is critical in ensuring the safety of the train and its passengers.
The Lantech™ series of high performance, ruggedised, industrial managed Ethernet switches from Industrial Data Communication and M2M specialist M.A.C. Solutions (UK) LIMITED are specifically developed for onboard and trackside rail applications. Certified to EN50155 and EN5012-4 European Rail standards, the switches are available in a variety of design specifications to suit the specific requirements of the rail industry. These include switches with wide power/operating voltage ranges, wide operating temperature ranges (-40°C to +75°C), as well as switches with anti-vibration M12 Ethernet connectors and industrial PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) capability. The switches are also protected by an aluminium enclosure to IP67/IP43. Lantech switches are ideal for applications where high-engineered switches are required for harsh environments, including ruggedised switches that operate reliably in extreme temperatures, high humidity, high shock and vibration, or where input voltage surges or ripples are likely to occur.
Case Study: Helsinki Tram System
Lantech industrial switches were recently installed on the city tram system in Helsinki, Finland. As the primary means of transport in the city centre, the Helsinki tram system transports up to 54.9 million passengers per year. As one of the oldest electrified tram networks in the world, the company needed to upgrade its tram system with the latest IP technology.
The weather in Helsinki is subject to extreme fluctuations between seasons, from 30°C heat in the summer to less than -35°C in winter. Therefore, providing the tram system with rugged, reliable switches that can withstand these harsh weather conditions and wide ambient temperature range were key factors on this project.
The customer therefore required switches that were certified to EN50155 and that supported the PoE at/af standard. The switches also needed to be protected from ingress of water and dust, and capable of withstanding long-term shock and vibration, as well as being able to operate reliably in ambient temperatures that could range from -35°C up to +35°C. The switches also had to support low voltage power inputs from the tram vehicles.
Lantech supplied a total of 105 IPES-5416T-8-67 industrial switches for the project. Two or three switches were required for each tram. These EN50155 certified switches support various IP network systems including connection of process computers, LCD displays, passenger information terminals, ticketing systems, video surveillance systems and fire alarm systems. All the data from the ticketing and video surveillance systems is transmitted via the reliable IP networks supported by the Lantech IPES-5416T-8-67 switches. The Gigabit uplink connection not only satisfies the current bandwidth requirements on the project, but also ensures there is sufficient bandwidth available to meet future projects.
The IPES-5416T-8-67 industrial switches are protected by a water- and dustproof (IP67 rated) aluminium enclosure. A 12V DC booster ensures 30W PoE output, even in the trams. Eight 802.3at PoE injectors are provided with up to 30W per port. The switches are also supplied with M12/M23 anti-vibration connectors to ensure more reliable cable connections. The switches can operate in ambient temperatures from -40°C to +75°C.
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