Rail

LILEE, Fluidmesh to demo, grow open platform capabilities for ‘Connected Rail’

Posted on April 25, 2017

LILEE Systems, provider of advanced wireless communication solutions in industrial IoT and an emerging innovator in cloud-based network solutions, announced a collaboration with Fluidmesh Networks, manufacturer of fast-roaming wireless networking products, to provide superior and reliable train to ground communications to railways around the world.

Fluidmesh Networks developed an innovative wireless train-to-ground solution based on an MPLS protocol. The system provides up to 500 Mbps of usable throughput on-board trains traveling at a speed of up to 220 mph and supports both vital and non-vital applications. Thanks to some specialized antenna and radio technology, Fluidmesh solutions works both above ground and underground and support a trackside spacing up to approximately five miles.

As the interest and demand for more onboard applications is growing, so is the need for high bandwidth data requirements. There is a significant focus on augmenting the number of applications and services onboard the trains to provide increased safety, information, and connectivity to passengers, as well as real-time monitoring systems. These new requirements increase the importance of having a reliable, robust infrastructure for train to ground communications, as more and more services add pressure to the bandwidth needed to support them, increasing the cost of LTE significantly.

Railways around the world, traditionally relying on LTE-based communications to support their rail operations, are increasingly deploying alternative radio technologies to augment bandwidth and coverage while containing costs. Fluidmesh trackside radio is an ideal complementary technology to LTE-based communications as it provides redundancy, additional bandwidth when aggregated with LTE, and coverage in tunnels and other areas where mobile network operators do not fully cover, according to the company.

LILEE Systems’ onboard gateway serves as the central communications hub for all operational and passenger services that require high throughput connectivity, compute, and storage. The LILEE platform functions as the communications gatekeeper, determining what communication link or links to connect based on the operational goals and priorities of the railway. Communication can be provided by the radio trackside network, LTE, or a combination of both. It can also be provided by Wi-Fi networks, when available, at train stations and yards.

Each additional radio technology places huge operational burden on operators. LILEE provides a plug and play architecture that isolates the underlying technological difference and abstracts operational and quality parameters to power the connectivity algorithms that dynamically manage user and application traffic flows. This abstraction powers LILEE Systems’ open connectivity platform to seamlessly integrate LTE, Wi-Fi, wired and trackside radio technologies, and dynamically balance the traffic across all the links based on user defined policies.

The integration between LILEE Systems and Fluidmesh allows for a seamless switching between communication networks making it transparent for end-user applications that are sensitive to network latency. This is very relevant for passengers that rely on the onboard Wi-Fi network to have uninterrupted VoIP calls or video conferences, for instance.

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