Mission-critical Broadband Connectivity is the Foundation for Digitally Transforming Today’s Railways

Smart rail solutions have propelled urban rail and metro networks into the digital age, and uninterrupted connectivity is becoming especially essential for the public transportation sector. Reliable train-to-ground communication is required for efficient on-board operations and many on-board applications, which also continues to increase.  

A secure, high-performance train-to-ground communications solution provides safety-critical applications such as Communications Based Train Control (CBTC), Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), real-time CCTV streaming, door clearance, and passenger information systems (PIS). In addition to non-safety-related applications such as public Wi-Fi and passenger infotainment systems. All the while enabling rail operators’ innovative ways to operate more efficiently, and delivering value for passengers across the entire fleet.

However, traditional Wi-Fi networks maybe not always be sufficient to support high-speed mobility and the demands of mission-critical rail. As performance and quality can be unstable, and the technology is susceptible to security compromises.

Rail Cyber Security Vulnerabilities

Rail transportation IT systems require high bandwidths of accessibility, availability and security, which means that they equally need to be strong and resilient to cyberattacks. As driver assistance and on-board control systems now feature connectedness and communication, this brings openness to systems that were traditionally closed, which in turn will be more vulnerable to malicious attacks. If these weaknesses are exploited, there could be serious consequences, affecting passenger information systems, video surveillance networks and even taking over control of the train.

Industry 4.0 Technology Applications

The application of Industry 4.0 technologies to the rail sector results in numerous benefits such as better accuracy and improved safety in managing railway control and traffic, in addition to improved traveler experience, but there are also increased associated risks. Mission-critical systems, convergence of IT and OT networks, automation, and the inclusion of artificial intelligence, with these many factors, rail operators need to incorporate the concept of cyber-resilience into their systems. Rail and metro administrators urgently need to adopt a risk management policy, identify their sensitive assets, segment their network, and deploy cyber defense solutions. Rail and metro holdings need to learn to guard against hostile cyberattacks and how to deal with it when it happens.

Advanced Operational Technology Functions

A secure solution can ensure enhanced customer experience with continuous, resilient wireless broadband connectivity for passengers and on-board operations. Through adding a layer of firewall protection, end-to-end encryption, and protocol analyses to ensure secure operations data exchange between the trains and main station. Use digital identity and authentication, and access management to control access to the OT network and secured infrastructure for endpoints on control systems. Confidential data can be protected through encryption solutions and security mechanisms to block malware and network corruption. Effective cyber resiliency programs will assist organizations to face evolving security threats and prevent many of these attacks.

Lanner’s security gateway LEC-6041 is a high-performing, secure broadband connections solution for rail and mass transit industries. A reliable platform for real-time information systems and modern applications with industrial-grade transmission technology. LEC-6041 was designed to protect the communication in both IT and OT domains, and meet all requirements for performance and reliability.

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