Over the past years, the emergence of Ethernet as an industry standard for communication on-board trains has moved from concept to reality. Pushed by new applications such as on-board passenger entertainment, passenger information, video monitoring, Internet on board or modern train control systems, the demand for bandwidth of train backbone networks keeps increasing. In this context, fiber optic technology has all its place at least from a system performance point of view.
Benefits of fiber technology
Optical fibers are recognised as the medium with the highest bandwidth transmission capabilities. Thanks to optical transport systems, a 100 Gigabit-Ethernet standard has even been developed to push the limits further. Moreover, a large part of modern rolling stock equipment is electrically powered and therefore subject to constant electromagnetic interference and electrostatic shock.
Optical fibers being intrinsically immune from any electric or electromagnetic phenomenon, appear in principle to be ideal medium for data transmission in railway rolling stock. Screening effectiveness, screen resistance or impedance control are topics that no longer need to be addressed with fibers, while weight savings are achieved by replacing copper-based data cables.