Cologne Retrofits Trams and Buses to a Digital IP Network Using Roqstar Ethernet Switches – TRONTEQ as the Perfect Partner

Cologne, Germany

Vehicles: 380 trams and 260 buses
Performance: 286 million passengers per year


  • Digitalization of the tram fleet
  • Optimization of operations
  • Offering contemporary passenger services
Establishment of a complex network infrastructure
KVB Köln Strassenbahn und Busse Umrüstung mit Ethernet Switches ROQSTAR von TRONTEQ

KVB at a Glance

Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe (Cologne Public Transport Services, KVB) operates a total of 12 light rail lines and a dense network of bus routes. Altogether, they have more than 380 light rail vehicles and around 260 buses. The KVB fleet is undergoing a modernization process towards an eco-friendly fleet. Since 2016, the company has been using electric buses, powered in part by self-generated green energy. Light rail vehicles are also continuously being modernized and newly procured. The aim is to transition the entire bus operation to electric propulsion by 2030. By 2035, the entire public transportation system in Cologne and the region is set to be climate-neutral. With these measures, KVB actively contributes to environmental protection and plays a significant role in reducing CO2 emissions.

million passengers per year

tram lines


TRONTEQ Demonstrates Relevant Technical Expertise and Wins Tender for Ethernet Switches

Cologne Public Transport Services issued a project to retrofit a portion of its older trams and buses with an IP network infrastructure to improve operational efficiency and reliability through the use of digital systems and create conditions for the integration of future technologies.

Three Key Challenges in the Retrofitting Process

  • Limited installation space: In existing vehicles, one of the central challenges for a successful retrofit with Ethernet Switches. In addition to the size of the devices, consideration needs to be given to the wiring with bending radii of the power supply and Ethernet cables.
  • Time and money: Existing vehicles are needed in daily operations to transport passengers. The installation, commissioning, and approval of new components mean downtime in the workshop, which in turn incurs costs. Hence, quick equipment is of great importance.
  • Future viability: The network infrastructure should be designed in a way that allows for easy expansion with new IP-based systems in the future.

The Tender

The tender for Ethernet Switches in buses and trains was carefully prepared by KVB. Clear requirements for the Ethernet Switches were formulated based on the aforementioned challenges:

  1. The dimensions for the installation space were precisely specified,
  2. The switches had to have Push-Pull connectors to ensure fast installation,
  3. The number of Ethernet ports was set at 16 ports.

In order to verify the required normative and functional product properties, test scenarios were also described, which the applicants were allowed to demonstrate on-site at KVB. This ensured that the transport company received exactly the product it needed for the project. Thus, the providers knew exactly what requirements needed to be met to succeed in the project.

The TRONTEQ network expert team set up a test board specifically for this purpose, on which they successfully demonstrated all necessary test cases. The project was awarded to TRONTEQ, as a specialist in Ethernet Switches for public transport, with our product ROQSTAR 16-Port M12 Managed Gigabit Switch Push Pull proving convincing.

Future-Proof Network Infrastructure in Vehicles Thanks to ROQSTAR Ethernet Switches

Based on the test scenarios created by TRONTEQ and through the use of ROQSTAR M12 Ethernet Switches, Cologne Public Transport Services successfully retrofitted more than 250 vehicles to a digital IP network infrastructure. The network includes various systems such as route indicators, IP cameras, multifunctional displays, intercoms, passenger counting systems, onboard computers, validators, video monitors, video recorders, and vehicle number displays. For the setup of all vehicle networks, over 1000 ROQSTAR 16-Port M12 Managed Gigabit Switches were used in buses and trams.

The decision was made in favor of ROQSTAR M12 Managed Gigabit Switches because, with their extensive functionalities, they are capable of meeting the high requirements of a complex network infrastructure. Their sophisticated management functions allow KVB efficient management and monitoring of the network. Each network participant is visible, addressable, and configurable via its own IP address in the network. Additionally, Managed Switches ensure the separation and security of sensitive data from subsystems such as passenger information systems, Automatic Passenger Counting Systems, and video surveillance. To ensure seamless connectivity between all vehicle systems, ROQSTAR M12 Ethernet Switches are compatible with IBIS-IP according to VDV 301 standard, ensuring interoperability and compatibility between different manufacturers and systems.

Cologne Continues its Modernization – with ROQSTAR on Board

The successful collaboration between TRONTEQ and Cologne Public Transport Services goes beyond the retrofit project. The KVB is once again opting for our proven ROQSTAR Ethernet Switches for their new trams. TRONTEQ is proud to continue being a part of the modernization and digitalization of public transport in the Rhine metropolis Cologne and looks forward to a successful continuation of the collaboration.

More Success Stories:

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).


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