Dealing with data

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Introducing a new 5G wireless high-speed interface board for rail applications

In rail transport, increasingly larger amounts of data need to be processed to ensure operational safety, reduce maintenance costs, and improve passenger comfort through on-board connectivity. Modern transport systems therefore rely on embedded high-end computer applications with different rugged interfaces to the train and the outside world. To offer long-term availability by using the latest technical approach and high data throughput for rail applications, duagon has developed a new rugged CompactPCI Serial carrier board providing 5G mobile communication features to 19” systems.

High data throughput

One of the main requirements for operations in the rail business to run efficiently and reliably, is to achieve high data throughput for applications. Together with a powerful CPU, a high-speed interface board like the G239, features a lot of application possibilities, such as Internet-on-board for passenger comfort, general back-office communication for predictive maintenance purposes, or live CCTV to control centers in cases of emergency. For rail manufacturers to be prepared for future adjustments and avoid expensive retrofits, long-term availability of the devices ensures an extended product life. With its 5G mobile communication features, the interface card already offers the latest available standard and is future-proof.

To use the wireless functionality, the G239 has three slots: two M.2 slots for 5G and one PCI Express Mini Card slot for WLAN. For 5G mobile communication the board is equipped with eight QLS antenna connectors (four connectors for each M.2 card) as well as up to three QLS antenna connectors for WLAN functionality. Additionally, a high-precision GNSS receiver is available for track accurate locating, as an example.

In the train communication system architecture, the high-speed interface board is typically located at the front end where it communicates directly with a cellular network. To optimize the connection and network coverage, it features eight microSIM card slots.

Improving accuracy

Another reason for the development of the interface board was to equip it with a high-precision GNSS receiver, which has the accuracy of less than one meter and, with additional features, even down to ten centimeters. With this, customers can build applications like track accurate positioning, localization of trains, when they are positioned in the depot. Due to duagon’s flexible racks and modular products strategy, customers can have up to three G239 with six 5G modems installed for absolute high-data transmission over the air.

In addition to the hardware, a user-friendly software tool is included for interacting with the interface board. The user is thereby able to remotely control which microSIM cards are connected to the modems and can remote power reset each modem. Being based on the CompactPCI Serial standard, the board is future-proof with high-speed serial interfaces.

For a reliable operation in harsh and mobile environments, the embedded design also includes withstanding an extended temperature range: The interface card is designed for -40 °C to +85 °C operating temperature and comes with conformal coating.

Gunther Gräbner is a Solution Architect at duagon

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