To meet the growing demand for reliable onboard railway communications networks, Westermo has introduced a new generation of industrial Ethernet switches that provide highly robust networks and long-term field operation. Specifically designed for onboard applications around the ‘Westermo IP train concept,’ the new Viper-212, Viper-112 and Viper 012 twelve-port switches, deliver a complete solution for onboard control systems, including improved levels of reliability and simplified network design, installation and maintenance.

The Westermo IP train concept provides a complete EN50155 Ethernet switch and routing solution providing an ultra-reliable network backbone for the creation of intelligent trains. This concept has been developed in answer to the many unique requirements of the rail industry which can be solved using a suite of IP protocols delivered by the Westermo operating system (WeOS).

Onboard rolling stock applications present one of the toughest environments for any electronic device. The Viper series exceeds the EN 50155 onboard railway standard for electronic equipment, which encompasses not only EMC requirements, but also shock, vibration, extended temperature range and humidity. The switches have also been designed to achieve the highest mean time between failures of up to 900,000 hours, ensuring the extremely long-term and reliable field operation that is expected within the railway industry.

The Viper 212 is a managed layer three routing switch, the Viper 112 offers managed layer two switching functionality and the Viper 012 is an unmanaged solution. These different levels of software functionality allow users to select the most appropriate level of functionality for their network whilst still having hardware that meets the toughest environmental challenges.

The new Viper series incorporates M12 connectors that are integrated into the housing to reduce size and further protect against vibration. With an ultra-robust design, sealed to IP65 and vibration resistant to military standards, these units are ideal for situations where mechanical stress, moisture, condensation; dirt or continuous vibrations (such as those produced by engine) could adversely affect the function of standard Ethernet switches. A unique Gore-Tex membrane is used to prevent condensation build-up by normal climatic day / night cycling. The Viper-212 is also very compact and ultra-thin, enabling installation within the confined spaces of railcar panels.

The WeOS operating system of the Viper and RedFox switches is able to balance data traffic on the network to maintain maximum throughout and stability. The introduction of increased traffic from new cameras or video stream will therefore not affect the stability of the entire network. In the event of any link or hardware failure Westermo’s unique FRNT technology is able to re-configure a large network in 20ms.

For easy configuration, the Ethernet switches can be safely accessed from anywhere in the network, or directly via a console port on the Viper switch or an Ethernet or USB port on the RedFox switch. The configuration can be backed up and restored in seconds using a using a special M12 USB memory stick. An easy to use, secure web configuration interface simplifies the setting up of a redundant ring network.