Integrated communications platform for Railway Exploration netrail-m


With the objective of making its integrated communications platform for Railway Exploration - netrail-m - more versatile, robust and secure, REFER Telecom has developed a set of new functions and redesigned the architecture of the solution to increase its level of availability.

Therefore, in addition to managing the exploration of voice communications supported on different means of transmission, fixed and mobile TDM and VoIP technology, the operation of the solution is now fully done from a man-machine interface, fully Web based. On the one hand, this evolution enables a highly functional and flexible versatility allowing the migration and integration of TDM legacy solutions to and with new generation solutions based on VoIP and, on the other hand, it makes the most out of Web and IP protocol technology to guarantee the redundancy and high work availability of the solutions’ operating positions which is a fundamental requirement for traffic command and control applications. The Web approach complemented by a Datacentre infrastructure and Disaster Recovery technology makes it possible to obtain high availability solutions.

Looking to increase the security of communications in Railway Operation, REFER Telecom has introduced a new concept in this type of communication - the videocall. In addition to the specific mechanisms and functions of this type of solution, in order to guarantee that participants in communications are qualified to make them, the videocall adds another level of security via mutual recognition of the parties involved. The implementation of this function was possible through the adoption of a fixed VoIP terminal with the possibility of making videocalls and the development of all control software and security enforcement, both in terms of the terminal and in terms of the integrated communications platform.

This videocall terminal is already being used in real operation to establish voice and video communications between railway stations on the Northern Line and the Operating Control Centre in Lisbon. It is a development in which the functionalities of the model and the regulation applicable to the section of the line in question were designed and implemented, and which correspond to a specific configuration of the telecommunications system in order to adapt it to the model being explored. This particular implementation uses different means of transmission to support communications and is supported by IP\MPLS and GSM technology. The solution uses the fixed network that supports railway communications where security mechanisms, QoS, traffic prioritization, bandwidth, etc. are implemented; which are appropriate for the criticality and requirements of the applications supported and for a mobile GSM network of a public operator, thus demonstrating the versatility of the solution.

The new developments of the netrail-m platform incorporate in their implementation all the functions required for this type of communication, namely point-to-point communication, conference, prioritisation of calls, etc., and guarantee the following essential requirements: confidentiality of communications, tracking, registration and recording. In the particular case of the Man-Machine Interface of telephones with videocall, information is also presented to the Operator regarding the status of the stations involved in the communication.

With a platform which attributes are based on versatility, robustness and security, REFER Telecom is able to find solutions for the different scenarios presented by the railway traffic managers.