White Paper - Connecting Trains: The Promise of On-board Ethernet Networks
In the rail transportation industry, sensors, on-board processing and other electronic systems have become more prevalent. As a result, bandwidth requirements for the technologies that connect equipment within a railcar – and that connect rail vehicles together – have been growing consistently.
This trend has put strain on the existing Train Communication Network (TCN) standard for data communication, and is contributing to reduced functionality and increased costs for rail operators. Recently, train manufacturers and system integrators have been making greater use of Ethernet technology to supplement TCN, with the ultimate goal of replacing the legacy technology entirely with an Ethernet standard.
For train manufacturers and system integrators looking to capitalize on the benefits of Ethernet train networks, there are three key steps to follow:
• Defining a network performance requirement
• Selecting the corresponding transmission hardware and Ethernet protocol
• Choosing the cabling most suitable to the application, such as copper or optical fiber.
However, applying Ethernet-based networks within the harsh on-board train environment poses technical challenges in terms of network configuration and component performance – the solutions to which include using the most qualified, high performance interconnects, capable of delivering a fault tolerant network that adheres to the unique topology of the train, even under severe mechanical and elemental stresses.
This white paper is a reference guide to help manufacturers navigate the process of implementing Ethernet train networks based on their own unique requirements and desired applications.