STIB to install fiber-optic network for automated rail services

STIB, Belgium’s largest urban public transport operator is planning 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.

A WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) network based on 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; and 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, Alcatel-Lucent said, “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.”

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