Secure networks and communications for rail ensure a better passenger experience, efficient operations and improved safety.

Today, ensuring rail services means building resilient connectivity into the entire journey. From the station platform, to onboard the train, to track-side monitoring, and through the tunnels, rail operators are tasked with transporting passengers safely all along the journey. Secure networks and communications for wired and wireless LANs, can help railway operators improve operational efficiency and ensure a safe and secure passenger journey.

Rail in the 21st century

Cloud-based collaboration and indoor location-based services (LBS) can help travelers with everything from booking tickets to providing directions to get where they need to be, as well as locating the closest staff should assistance be required. Innovative communications using Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as cognitive communications, chat bots with natural language speech capability, and other applications offer new ways for rail operators to engage passengers along their journey.

Train passengers and conductor on tablet for blog post

Once onboard the train, voice, web and mobile applications make the journey easier and more enjoyable. Operators can proactively provide information to passengers through integrated chat, voice and video communications for a personalized multimedia experience. And, in the event of an incident, passengers can request assistance or notify the operator directly from their mobile app.

At the heart of these capabilities are ruggedized, track-side Ethernet switches that can withstand harsh outdoor conditions while delivering high level services. These switches provide the network foundation to support subsystems such as passenger information, emergency telephony, video surveillance, as well as Wi-Fi for operations, passenger access, and ground-to-train communication. Additionally, on-track sensors deliver information  that can be analyzed and monitored in real-time to help identify problems before they can cause an issue.

As trains go through tunnels, it is important that onboard communications as well as data sent from sensors along the tracks are not interrupted while the train is inside the tunnel.  It is critical that the entire length of a tunnel be connected and secured with IP network connectivity as even a minimal network disruption could cause delays and potentially impact worker and passenger safety. An extremely stable and reliable data network is needed to ensure transmission of essential operational data via automated technology.

At the Operations Control Center (OCC)—a critical element of the railway system—network and communications reliability are essential. Efficient recovery procedures and reduced convergence time help maintain multiservice capabilities. Elements hosted or backed-up in a secured cloud can provide data resiliency and accessibility from all around the world.

With a converged mission-critical architecture the number of networks that require support and management can be reduced. And, a single dashboard can provide network visibility on alarms and issues at a glance, keeping travelers safe and the rail system secure.

Learn more about how ALE solutions are helping railway operators deliver a better passenger experience, run efficient operations and improve safety and security, or check out our e-zine, ‘Fast Forward’ to discover how rail operators are staying on track in the 21st century.

Tags - Railway, Customer Service

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About the author
Roch Muraine image for blog author page

Roch Muraine

Worldwide Sales Director for Transportation, ALE

Roch Muraine leads the ALE global transportation business practice, responsible for the rail, road, air and sea sales. His more than 20 years of global experience in IT, network and telecom marketing, and extensive involvement in field as well as operational activities make him ideal for this role. 

Roch holds an engineering degree in Computer Science from ESI Paris, and a postgraduate Masters in Telecommunication from Institut Mines-Télécom. 

You can reach Roch on Twitter at: @MuraineR.

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