Information published on 27 March 2012 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 284.

IP introduction to railways – guideline for fixed networks, version 1.0 released

  • GSM-R
  • Telecommunications

Railway telecommunication networks have assumed an increasingly prominent role over the past decade. Reliable and cost-effective data communication has become essential to all important railway operations and services.

It is important to understand that the business case for railway telecommunications is not based on the telecommunications in itself; the business case is rail transport, and telecommunication services provide crucial support to railway operations.

The systems and equipment in question are mostly off-the-shelf products; in a few cases they are modified off-the-shelf products (e.g. GSM-R) while for some very typical functions, e.g. dispatcher communications, specific equipment (in this case dispatcher terminals) is required to provide critical communication support.

Technology and equipment is procured from the public market and is therefore subject to its trends. Accordingly, in a context where worldwide telecommunication systems are converging towards IP, railway systems are no exception.

Understandably concerns are voiced by traffic managers and signalling experts for example as to the reliability of an IP structure with a broad range of functions, some critical. The present guidelines address the challenges but also the opportunities of introducing IP to railways; they provide a series of recommendations, all based on the experience and joint effort of the UIC Panel of Experts.

Contents of the document:

  • Technological evolution overview
  • IP impact
  • Railway telecom network model
  • Guidelines for introducing IP – provides guidelines on the following:
  1. Network planning
  2. Network design
  3. Technology choices
  4. Protocols
  5. Synchronisation on IP networks
  6. Quality of service and prioritisation based on class of service
  7. Network security and management
  8. Considerations for a future proof network
  • Annex – Technology: An in-depth technical explanation on the technologies referenced in this document

Annex – State-of-the-art railway network and development plans

As announced in the document, a second edition is planned, where important subjects like for instance SIP Interface for dispatchers, compliance to EN50129/EN50159 (specifications for the IP Quality of Service requirements for signalling systems) and specification for IP Quality of Service requirements for operational and safety critical applications, GSM-R R4 and network security issues will be addressed.

For more information please contact Dan Mandoc, Railway Telecoms - ERIG Chairman: mandoc@uic.org