Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB/MIVB) Chooses NetModule

Communications specialist NetModule reports a successful major project with AEG Belgium for the STIB/MIVB transport company in the nation’s capital city. From the start of the project in March 2013 to its completion at the end of 2015, more than 1,080 buses and trams were equipped with the NB3700 CompactRail routers by NetModule – as retrofits to existing vehicles and to new vehicles – with more to follow.

The routers transfer eTicketing, monitoring and private mobile radio data as well as passenger information by mobile communication network while the vehicles are in service and via WLAN in the depot. During this project, the focus was on ensuring system reliability even at high temperatures.

Initially, an industrial PC with a UMTS and WLAN module, which transmitted the data via a mobile communication system to the central control station, was installed in the roofs of the buses and trams. However, significant heat generation in the vehicle roof led to increased incidences of temperature problems, which meant that reliability could not be guaranteed.

This is where the NB3700 CompactRail router offered a solution – with certification to EN50155 T3 international railway standard, it is designed for use at temperatures ranging from -25° to 70°C, and is resistant to shocks and vibrations in line with the MIL STD810F standard. Its compact design was also an advantage. These characteristics proved to be persuasive in the project: Today, the standard NB3700 CompactRail router functions as a UMTS / WLAN communications interface to a robust industrial PC.

Data is transmitted as before using the mobile communication network while on the move and via WLAN in the depot. This is realised by a single integrated broadband modem and two WLAN modules. The NB3700 CompactRail router is also compatible with and supports seamless switching between all common mobile communication standards (LTE, HSPA+, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS and GSM). The fastest available connection is always selected automatically.

The devices are built into a 19in rack as a bundle with a power supply. The software for the NB3700 CompactRail was customised to the client’s specifications, and the router configuration adapted to the system: This means that each vehicle has a USB stick containing all the scripts and configurations specific to that vehicle and its router. This stick is connected directly to the NB3700 CompactRail router. If the router fails, it can simply be replaced with a new device and the stick re-inserted. As a result, NetModule guarantees very short outage times.

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