Managing Network Devices in Wayside Railroad Applications

Managing Network Devices in Wayside Railroad Applications

At first glance, the task of managing thousands of miles of rail road track and keeping an eye on hundreds of units of rolling stock can seem particularly overwhelming. Fortunately, digital technology vastly simplifies this challenge by providing railroads with a means to remotely monitor train status and rail status from central administration centers, often located miles from the sites that they are monitoring.

4g LTE cellular out of band management - railroad wayside device management application

In order to ensure safety and streamline the process of managing a huge, complicated rail system, modern railroad tracks are often lined with a series of small, wayside monitoring stations. In addition to monitoring rail traffic and switching status, these wayside stations can also be used to check track conditions, weather conditions and bridge safety as well as controlling track lubrication and other functions. Without these wayside monitoring stations, the task of managing a large rail system would require a veritable army of on-site personnel.

A typical wayside monitoring station might include sensors to monitor train speed, traffic levels, open/closed track switches and track wear conditions and icing, plus security cameras and other devices to ensure track security. The safety, security and monitoring functions provided by these wayside stations are so important, that when one or more of these stations are down, rail traffic often grinds to a halt until the problem can be corrected. Obviously, an efficient, reliable out-of-band management for these wayside stations is absolutely imperative.

Due to the remote nature of many of these wayside monitoring stations, a workable out-of-band management solution will typically rely on cellular broadband communication. When normal network communication is not available, remote administrators can communicate with the wayside monitoring station via 3G or 4G LTE cellular in order to reboot unresponsive devices, power-on back-up equipment or access console port command functions on devices at the wayside station.

A 4G LTE cellular broadband based, out-of-band management solution enables administrators at distant control centers to instantly establish emergency contact with a wayside station in order to promptly restore monitoring capabilities, without shutting down the track or waiting for a service team to travel to the remote site. A WTI CPM-1600-1-ECA Console Server + PDU Combo equipped with the 4G LTE Cellular Option can provide remote, out-of-band console port access and power reboot functions for AC powered wayside stations, while the combination of a WTI RPC Remote DC Power Switch working in tandem with a DSM-40DC-E Serial Console Server with the 4G LTE Cellular Option can cover port access and power switching requirements in DC powered wayside station applications.