As demand for mass transit expands in densely populated urban areas, so do passenger demands for more entertainment, on-time delivery and safety. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and impending technologies like Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) are making this feasible.
TSN is a novel technology, currently in development at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), that provides an entirely new level of determinism in standard IEEE 802.1 and IEEE 802.3 Ethernet networks. Standardizing Ethernet networks with TSN will deliver an important capability: deterministic, time-critical packet delivery.
It represents the next measure in the evolution of dependable and standardized automation technology and is certainly the next step in improving railway communication.
Time-Sensitive Networking Will Be Key for Railway Communication
Communication-based train control (CBTC), which uses wireless technologies to continually monitor and control the position of trains, could use TSN to guarantee real-time delivery of critical safety data on Ethernet networks also carrying non-safety related data. Ethernet networks standardized with TSN will support higher data bandwidths and reduce the number of devices required for railway communication. Ultimately, with more information being transmitted across railway Ethernet networks, TSN will ensure that the most critical data is prioritized to assure operations.
What does railway communication look like today, without TSN? The process is like a police car and a truck sharing a one-lane road: Imagine that a truck, (which represents non-time-critical information), is driving along a one-lane road and can’t see anybody behind or in front of him on the road. So, he drives the truck onto the next section of the road. But just as the truck enters this section, a police car (representing time-critical information) with emergency lights arrives and wants to overtake the truck to quickly reach an emergency situation further down the road. unfortunately, the truck has already turned onto the next section of the one-lane road and cannot move out of the way, causing an unexpected delay to the police car!
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