Expandable Switches Simply Explained
Dec 1, 2020

When it comes to setting up IP networks in public transport buses, transport companies are faced with the question of whether the IP network should be managed or not. An interesting alternative are the so-called expandable switches, whose special features we will explain in the following.

Considering the average lifespan of a bus of 8-12 years, it cannot be ruled out that some requirements will change within this time. Typical example: A few years after the vehicle has been put into service, a new ticketing system is to be implemented, which makes it necessary to separate the ticketing data from the rest of the data flow within the bus network. The consequence for the transport company is that new switches that meet the new requirements have to be purchased and installed. The old ones, on the other hand, have to be depreciated with negative consequences for the operating balance.

When the switch grows with the operational requirements

Transport companies that want to avoid such a worst-case scenario are best advised to use expandable switches. Expandable switches initially have the characteristics of pure unmanaged switches – the initial costs are only slightly higher. The advantage for the transport company is that it only has to pay for what it needs now. What distinguishes expandable from unmanaged switches is the hardware – in the former, it is already prepared for a managed switch. The conversion is done almost at the push of a button.


From unmanaged to managed at the push of a button

The implementation of new functionalities such as diagnostic data, network segmentation, automatic IP addressing of the network nodes make the use of managed switches necessary. If the need for a managed switch arises during the life cycle of a vehicle, the firmware upgrade is done in three simple steps:


  1. Traffic operator notifies TRONTEQ which Expandable Switches should be upgraded to Managed Switches based on serial numbers.
  2. TRONTEQ provides the traffic company with a firmware upgrade in the form of a USB memory stick and a USB adapter.
  3. Traffic operator now has to insert the USB stick into the respective device. In a few minutes, all managed features are available in the switch.

The cost of the upgrade is simply the difference between a managed and unmanaged switch. This makes the investment in expandable switches all the more worthwhile.


Expandable Switches at a glance

In summary, it can be said that expandable switches are a worthwhile, future-proof alternative to unmanaged switches.

✓ The initial costs are lower than for managed switches – only the functionality required at the time is invested in.
✓ Expandable switches grow with the requirements of the IP network – so they always represent a custom-fit solution.
✓ The initial investment in hardware and installation is maintained despite changing requirements.



Our products are fundamental for the digitalization in public transport. ROQSTAR M12 Ethernet Switches provide the network infrastructure for e-ticketing, passenger counting systems (PCS), dynamic passenger information (DPI) and closed-circuit television (CCTV).


TRONTEQ Electronic
Hoelzlestr. 3
72768 Reutlingen



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