It's All About Time: Time-sensitive Networking

February 7, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

In today’s fast paced world, we’ve all got places to go – and quickly. Thus, the demand for reliable transportation has grown along with urbanization and transit companies’ desire for efficient and cost-effective business. Previously, we’ve discussed how technology is changing transportation and modern day wireless railways. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at another technology changing transportation: time-sensitive networking.

 

Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is an extension and update to the IEEE Ethernet standards 802.1 and 802.3 that are intended to standardize Ethernet technology for control systems. TSN is a groundbreaking technology that offers deterministic, timed messaging over Ethernet for train-to-ground communication. It is centrally managed and ensures delivery with reduced jitter by utilizing time scheduling for real-time applications that require determinism. This technology will allow operations networks to utilize the benefits of traditional Ethernet while also fulfilling the timing and control demands of control and measurement applications.  

 

TSN eliminates the need for multiple networks by leveraging existing Ethernet networks to prioritize transmissions that are critical to safety over non-critical data. This feature provides enhanced interoperability and cost savings by reducing the amount of physical network components needed. Though TSN is not a protocol, but an extension of the Ethernet standard, it benefits from growing improvements in Ethernet security, bandwidth and additional capabilities to hold an advantage over standard and specialty Ethernet protocols.

 

Some of the biggest advantages of TSN include safer rides for both passengers and rail operators by allowing real-time delivery of safety messages. Clearer communication and accurate delivery of information allows for trains to run more efficiently and move more passengers. In addition to faster, safer rides, passengers will have a better trip experience with TSN’s reliable Ethernet network to keep them connected during the ride.

 

In addition to rail transportation networks, there are other applications and industries that could benefit from TSN. These include test cells and distributed monitoring which require sensor readings from multiple locations, all of which need to be linked in time. Hardware in the loop (HIL) could also use TSN since it often needs closely coordinated measurements in addition to distributed closed loop control. Machine control systems also use control networks that need synchronized measurements and actions that are highly time-sensitive. Additionally, auto makers are beginning to integrate Ethernet into vehicles to deliver more bandwidth and quicker response, and media networking can use TSN to transmit audio and video data that requires a stringent timing schedule.

 

As the world of rail and transportation and Ethernet networks continue to evolve, TSN has much to offer to help advance operations and usher in the next age of Ethernet technology.

 

How Tech is Changing Transportation

April 19, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

These days, it’s hard to find a part of our everyday lives that’s not being transformed in some way by technology. Transportation is no different. Driverless cars have been at the forefront of most transportation technology discussions lately, but do you know other ways that tech is changing how we get from point A to point B? Here, we’ll take a look at some of the ways technology is changing the transportation industry.

 

Rail

 

Railways are one of the oldest forms of transportation still used today. At their inception, trains were a groundbreaking way for people to get back and forth for everyday commutes, to explore places they’d never been and to transport goods at speeds that were unheard of at the time. Rail systems are still used today for many of the same reasons, but they are much smarter. Today’s rail yards have wired and wireless technology that allows for communication throughout the rail yard to provide security, control and real-time data collection.

 

RFID technology has also been put in place to modernize asset management in rail yard operations. Instead of employees walking from one car to another, manually recording inventory, today’s systems use electronic scanners to record asset information accurately and without the variable of human error. This data is then sent back to a central office where assets can be monitored in real time.

 

Technology is also being used to make rail travel safer by using wayside monitoring applications to record real-time data such as speed, time of passing and track conditions. This critical information is used for real-time scheduling and to generate safety alerts.

 

Roadways

 

Until all of those self-driving cars get on the road, and possibly still after, making roadways safer is another way technology is affecting the transportation industry. In tunnels, cellular and Wi-Fi service are provided by antennas while IP cameras connect to an Ethernet network. These cameras provide real time surveillance to a tunnel control center, so traffic and safety concerns can be monitored live. Digital signs are also connected to the Ethernet network, allowing them to be controlled remotely.

 

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) use wired and wireless technology to control roadway traffic signals and vehicle and pedestrian safety systems. These systems utilize technology to manage traffic flow and ease congestion on the roads. Roadway security and overall safety is also improved with IP cameras and traffic sensors providing live surveillance and control.

 

With the use of wireless technology, roadside digital signs are able to deliver real time messaging along roadways with live updates being delivered from a central control office. These messages can include weather updates, traffic and road condition alerts and information on alternate routes, all of which can make travel easier, more efficient and save lives.

 

Maritime

 

An entire ship, including every part of shipboard communications and surveillance, can be managed via a central management station by using an Ethernet network and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). 

 

IP cameras are used for monitoring, cables connect propulsion and steering systems to a controller, and antennas allow for voice and data communications and RFID management of cargo containers.

 

To load and unload ships, modern seaport terminals use automated crane systems to save freight companies millions of dollars in labor, maintenance and repairs. Computers are housed in a secure location, connected to Ethernet networks and used to control the cranes. This wireless network allows remote control over operations without the cost of running cables.

 

On the dock, keeping track of personnel, assets and ground support vehicles is made easier with wireless communications. Antennas allow for communication with the central operations command center. They also support Intermodal container RFID tracking systems which enable wireless devices to quickly and accurately process container and inventory information in real-time. With cellular and Wi-Fi communication between crews, freight companies can save money and increase security by eliminating the need for traditional radio communications.

 

For an in-depth look at what L-com products are being used to deliver technology to the transportation industry, click here.

 

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