Alcatel-Lucent installs largest fiber-optic network for automated rail services

Posted: 10 December 2013 | Alcatel-Lucent | No comments yet

Fiber-optic city network in the world to be installed on forthcoming driverless citywide rail network in Brussels…

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Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) and STIB, Belgium’s largest urban public transport operator, are to deploy a new broadband communication network capable of carrying all operational traffic needed to ensure communication and safety for the new fully automated driverless metro rail network in Brussels.

The driverless metro system in Brussels will increase train frequency from 24 trains an hour to 40 to cope with the rapid expansion of passenger traffic in the Belgian capital. Shifting to a fully automated network requires special safety measures, such as a new signaling system, automatically controlled platform gates and more than 10,000 interconnected video-protection cameras.

The fiber-optic network is seamless and secure, providing the required broadband capacity for corporate and operational services as well as for data and video traffic, essential to passenger safety.

Besides the immense growth in communication bandwidth,  this fibernet project drastically increases the availability and resilience of STIB’s own fiber infrastructure. The fibernet has an extremely robust design, which can even sustain multiple fiber cuts using failover mechanisms that restore communication links within only 50 milliseconds.

Key Facts

  • Passenger numbers on the Brussels public transport system have increased by 70% over the last 10 years, a comparatively high rate of growth for Europe.
  • According to projections, STIB is expected to handle 415 million passengers annually by 2017, a 20% increase from the 348.8 million journeys in 2012. To cope with this massive growth, they will increase the metro frequency drastically by implementing a fully automated driverless metro (announced as the Pulsar project).
  •  A WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) network based on the award winning Alcatel-Lucent 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) is being installed, interconnecting 70 metro stations, supporting video surveillance and transport of the railway signaling system traffic. With over 140 nodes, this is the largest number of Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) nodes deployed by a metro rail network in any city in the world. The network is fully redundant, consisting of two parallel loops, which can easily take over from one another, ensuring an always-on availability.
  • STIB will run the following services over the optical communications network:
    • Railway signalling using CBTC (communication-based train control)
    • Video surveillance with thousands of cameras and image sharing
    • On-board communication with passengers (PIS – Passenger Infromation System)
    • Real-Time LAN connecting all vending machines and ticket offices
    • STIB offices communications
    • Datacenter interconnect
  • Alcatel-Lucent provides a turnkey solution including: the 1830 Photonic Service Switch; the 5620 Service Aware Manager for integrated network and services management; a 5-year maintenance contract; services such as network design, network delivery, network deployment, full integration, field maintenance, remote assistance 24/7 helpdesk and 24/7 network monitoring.

Karel Van Oostveldt, Senior Manager Telecommunications of STIB said: “STIB’s development is based on performance and quality, efficiency and sustainability – values commonly shared with Alcatel-Lucent. With its proven broadband solution  and know how in the rail sector, Alcatel-Lucent will bring  the required foundation for our passengers and mission critical services as well as all innovations which will increase the attractiveness of our public transport offering.”

Pascal Homsy, President Strategic Industries of Alcatel-Lucent said: “Railway operations are becoming increasingly automated and integrated, and the existing communication networks are put under tremendous pressure because of advanced signaling, asset management and improved video security. Meanwhile, passengers are demanding to be connected, entertained and informed. This creates very complex challenges for railway operators who need to improve transport capacity, maintain punctuality and enhance safety. Alcatel-Lucent helps urban transport operators to seamlessly integrate all pieces of this mission critical infrastructure.”