Engineered Synergistic Interoperability
Rail Solution: Reliable Network = Hardware + Software
One of the challenges in today's transportation industry is in creating a reliable and robust Ethernet network. The rail industry has established its own standards for devices that would either be installed directly on-board or track side. These standards are encompassed within the EN50155 directive. Westermo has focused its development of several products to meet the requirements of this directive. Through this corporate initiative, they have created products that will address rail requirements, whether on-board or track side.
Reliability and robustness of your network should be a primary concern. Your network is the connection that brings your operation together. Through it, the very heart beat of your operation is transmitted. The requirements of an industrial network are more demanding than that of your typical IT network. And even more demanding for a network that is housed within transportation.
What does it take to make an industrial network reliable and robust?
An application where many devices are being used, resulting in a comprehensive capabilities and as a result, raw data is being generated requires reliability. Many devices are connected for a reason. That reason is to satisfy the requirements of the application. Whether that connection is onboard or track side, the reliability of the network is of utmost importance. Whether it is to enhance the customer experience, operator efficiency or safety a network is only as good as the backbone that connects it together.
Connection of those devices via a physical connection is required. In order to bring multiple devices together, they would need to be connected to an Ethernet switch or router, depending on the functionality required. The switch / router is the pulse of the network. It is where the information of the device gets transmitted to its next destination, whether it is another switch / router or its final destination, whether on board or track side. Having a reliable and robust physical network connection is extremely important to the efficient and continuous operation of your application. An unreliable network connection could mean:
What should you be looking for in the hardware that will be the pulse of your network? Whether you are looking for a layer 2 switch or layer 3 router, consider this to be the minimum:
Westermo's unique FRNT (Fast Recovery of Network Topology) technology is the fastest network recovery protocol on the market. FRNT is able to reconfigure a redundant ring network consisting of up to 200 switches within 20 ms of the initial failure, regardless of network load. FRNT is a protocol supported by other Westermo switches like the Lynx, Wolverine and Viper series meaning that different types of Westermo switch can be configured in the ring.
IGMP Snooping is a method that actually 'snoops' or inspects IGMP traffic. The protocol will only enable multicast streams to switch ports that have requested to 'join' the feed. In this way switches can control multicast data on networks. When using IGMP snooping in conjunction with redundancy protocols, problems can occur when a network reconfigures. The network topology change by definition means that the IGMP data paths changes. It is for this reason that Westermo has closely integrated their IGMP solution with FRNT to ensure that these delays do not occur.
Depending on your company's requirements, Westermo will likely have a solution to meet your needs, offering both Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality in products designed to meet EN50155 requirements:
Westermo developers have built in the intelligence to WeOS (Westermo Operating System) so that you do not need to worry about complex network technology. To extend the network or install a replacement product is done plug-and-play and as far as configuration is needed, this is done through a simple web-based interface or a preconfigured USB-plug. You get an intelligent and fully flexible network that is easy to maintain and control, is future-proof and scalable indefinitely.
Resilient Train Backbone Communication
The RedFox train switch is designed to aggregate a dual backbone, regardless of the state of the train. In case of power failure in one carriage an integral dual bypass relay closes to ensure that communication is maintained along the length of the train. All of the Westermo train products feature the 150 m extended Ethernet standard on the copper connections giving extra insurance that the Ethernet signal is strong enough to bridge the failed network segments.
Carriage Scalability and Flexibility
WeOS allows you to create an intelligent network where you can change the number or position of cars without affecting the network. The network topology is automatically updated enabling endless scalability and mobility in the train network.
Control of Network Bandwidth
WeOS is a multilayer operating system which allows maximum throughput while maintaining absolute stability. Data traffic can be load balanced to achieve optimal resource utilization and avoid network overload. The intelligent network will automatically handle increased traffic from, for example, newly installed cameras or video streams, without risking the stability of the network.
Simple to Install and Maintain
WeOS makes it easy to create, install and maintain a train network. Equipment which is connected to the network can be assigned identical IP addresses in each carriage, which simplifies the overall IP plan as well as maintenance and installation of new or replacement devices.
Unique Network Solutions Within Trains
In all other network environments it is highly unlikely a section of network will move, however with train carriages this can happen. Undesirable phenomena may occur if a railway carriage is rotated 180 degrees from its original position. WeOS detects and compensates for such changes in the network without any manual re-configuration.
Track Side Solutions
The power behind the Westermo products is found in its engineered products and operating system, known as WeOS. You can learn more about product capabilities and this powerful operating system that is the backbone of these products through the following documentation.
ESI also offers cord sets and PMA conduit for your rail applications. When one considers their cord set requirements, you need only look at that automobile as a guide. The only piece of the vehicle that touches the ground are the tires, likewise, the only component connecting your network are the cord sets. Allow us to work with you on providing your cord sets for your network. Conduit protects your infrastructure of connectivity.
Whether they are M12 connectors or standard Ethernet cables, ESI can offer a solution.
Hardware is one aspect of creating a reliable and robust network. The software that connects and manages your network should be given intense consideration as well. If the hardware is the pulse, the software is the heart that maintains the pulse. The following needs to be taken into account when making your selection:
One software package can address all of the above requirements: KEPServerEX
Additional functionality is offered in KepserverEX through their plug-in options that can further enhance your industrial network:
When you put the right pieces together, you will end up with that robust and reliable industrial network that you require for uninterupted and dependable connectivity for gathering, maintaining and protecting a corporations most valuable intangible asset - INFORMATION.
In talking with a Kepware customer, the comment he made about their product was so profound because it was so simple. What did he say?
"IT JUST WORKS."
No elaborate explanation, just the plain and simple truth, based on their experience.
Regardless of the devices that are connected to your network, the key components that will ultimately make or break your network are your Ethernet connection and your OPC server.
ESI has the components you will need in order to make your Ethernet network reliable and robust for the most demanding of Rail applications.
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