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.

 

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