The IBIS-IP Forum, organized by the Association of German Transport Operators VDV, serves as an exchange between transport operators and industry. The main focus is on the practical use of the IBIS-IP standard. We report on the event, at which we were represented alongside major transport operators with a presentation on the topic of network infrastructure.
Transport companies use different telematics systems both in the stationary sector and in public transport vehicles. For this purpose, the first standards such as the integrated on-board information system IBIS with a data transmission rate of 1200 baud were developed and standardized as early as the 1980s.
With increasing data volumes and demands for real-time data in vehicles, the IBIS-IP standard was introduced in 2014. This describes IP-based communication mechanisms for a modern IT system architecture in vehicles.
Every year, VDV organizes the IBIS-IP Forum. This year, around 50 specialists from industry and transport companies met in Frankfurt am Main to discuss the topic of IBIS-IP. The program included reports on experiences with the introduction and implementation of IBIS-IP from Berlin, Bremen and St. Gallen. We from TRONTEQ were also represented with a presentation on the topic of network infrastructure.
Berlin, Bremen and St. Gallen Report from Practice
The changeover from IBIS to IBIS-IP is a challenge for transport operators in many respects. Investments are needed, especially in resources such as the IT infrastructure in the depots and in trained personnel. These are the most important prerequisites for mastering the technology and successfully implementing IBIS-IP.
Cooperation with System Suppliers
Furthermore, cooperation with different system suppliers is a success factor. The sooner manufacturers of passenger information systems, on-board computers, video surveillance and people counting systems get together, the sooner interpretation areas of the IBIS-IP standard can be clarified. In practice, a TestBench in the laboratory and a test run in real operation in the vehicle have proven to be good methods for this, in order to identify and eliminate problems early on and optimally prepare the rollout to the entire vehicle fleet.
Training workshop personnel is another very important point for successfully operating IBIS-IP and enjoying the benefits of a flexible system architecture. Operation, maintenance and fault clearance are core tasks of transport companies. To do this, workshop personnel must be able to safely handle the IT systems in vehicles, whether it’s a matter of replacing equipment, configuring or installing new components. Staff shortages and a change of generations in the companies pose major challenges.
Network Infrastructure in the Vehicle is a Success Factor
The projects and field reports presented with IBIS-IP involved systems for passenger information, automatic passenger counting and video surveillance. It quickly became clear to the transport operators involved that a stable network infrastructure consisting of Ethernet switches and mostly LTE routers was absolutely essential for successful project implementation.
The requirements for the network and the Ethernet switches in particular are related to the application and its degree of complexity. Depending on the project, a network for 10 to 30 components is required in buses. For example, up to 65 subscribers are addressed via IBIS-IP in the light rail vehicles in Bremen. Accordingly, the requirements for the network architecture are higher. Dynamic coupling of streetcars only adds to the complexity and must be carefully planned and tested in advance.
>> Read also: Use Case: Dynamic Coupling of Trams
Regardless of network size and topology, transport operators reported that their choice was programmable managed switches with M12 connectors. These would have significant advantages in terms of link stability as well as flexibility, control of communication paths, and diagnostics in the event of a fault.
If networks function as planned, all systems function as well. If there are any problems with the network, all systems will be affected.
From the invitation to tender, through testing in the laboratory and in test vehicles, to roll-out and operation, the network in the vehicle plays a decisive role. The network components play a special role here: If they function as planned, all systems also function. If there are network problems, all systems are affected.
As our CEO Juri Martinevski aptly put it in his presentation:
“What the street is to your vehicles, the network infrastructure is to your data and services.”
Conclusion: Working Together for the Digitalization of Public Transport Vehicles
Digitalization is gaining momentum in transport operators and thus also in vehicles. IBIS-IP plays an important role in this. Already in the tender process, transport operators can refer to this standard to implement a digital and modern system architecture in their vehicles.
In turn, manufacturers of IT components need advanced transport operators to rely on IBIS-IP and thus boost demand for IP-based systems and services. The exchange of information between IT manufacturers and transport operators is of particular importance. The know-how for network technology and IP-based systems must be continuously built up in companies. Here, system and component manufacturers can contribute experience as well as expertise in the form of support before and during the project, thus contributing to successful implementation.
Network technology is a fundamental component and a prerequisite for all IBIS IP-based services. The expertise and controllability of the technology is indispensable for transport operators.
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