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A novel network architecture for train-to-wayside communication with quality of service over heterogeneous wireless networks

Daan Pareit1*, Erwin Van de Velde2, Dries Naudts1, Johan Bergs2, Jan Keymeulen1, Ivan De Baere3, Walter Van Brussel4, Christophe Vangeneugden4, Patrick Hauspie5, Gerd De Vos5, Ingrid Moerman1, Chris Blondia2 and Piet Demeester1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Information Technology, Ghent University-IBBT, Gaston Crommenlaan 8 box 201, 9050 Ghent, Belgium

2 Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Antwerp - IBBT, Middelheimlaan 1, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

3 Newtec Cy, Laarstraat 5, 9100 Sint-Niklaas, Belgium

4 Nokia Siemens Networks, Atealaan 34a, 2200 Herentals, Belgium

5 Bombardier Transportation, Vaartdijkstraat 5, 8200 Brugge, Belgium

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EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking 2012, 2012:114  doi:10.1186/1687-1499-2012-114

Published: 22 March 2012


In the railway industry, there are nowadays different actors who would like to send or receive data from the wayside to an onboard device or vice versa. These actors are e.g., the Train Operation Company, the Train Constructing Company, a Content Provider, etc. This requires a communication module on each train and at the wayside. These modules interact with each other over heterogeneous wireless links. This system is referred to as the Train-to-Wayside Communication System (TWCS). While there are already a lot of deployments using a TWCS, the implementation of quality of service, performance enhancing proxies (PEP) and the network mobility functions have not yet been fully integrated in TWCS systems. Therefore, we propose a novel and modular IPv6-enabled TWCS architecture in this article. It jointly tackles these functions and considers their mutual dependencies and relationships. DiffServ is used to differentiate between service classes and priorities. Virtual local area networks are used to differentiate between different service level agreements. In the PEP, we propose to use a distributed TCP accelerator to optimize bandwidth usage. Concerning network mobility, we propose to use the SCTP protocol (with Dynamic Address Reconfiguration and PR-SCTP extensions) to create a tunnel per wireless link, in order to support the reliable transmission of data between the accelerators. We have analyzed different design choices, pinpointed the main implementation challenges and identified candidate solutions for the different modules in the TWCS system. As such, we present an elaborated framework that can be used for prototyping a fully featured TWCS.

railway; train; quality of service; performance enhancing proxy; network mobility; SCTP; TWCS