Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise provides fixed data and VoIP network for Gotthard Base Tunnel

The technology has already proved its reliability and effectiveness for this huge project during the initial construction phase when it was selected for the network that supported logistics, safety monitoring and personnel management. The Swiss mega-project now boasts a robust data network enabling the supervision and control of the numerous sensors, safety equipment, tunnel management systems and power supplies underpinning the operation of the tunnel.

Establishing a reliable data network through the world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel requires network technology capable of operating with minimal maintenance in remote and non air-conditioned areas of the tunnel where ambient temperatures can reach 40°C and humidity can reach 70 per cent. The Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 6855 hardened LAN switch is an industrial-grade Ethernet switch designed to operate in environments where standard network equipment cannot function. Over 450 of these rugged access switches form the basis of a vast data network that connects tunnel lights, racks, power systems, doors, drainage and ventilation systems, as well as video surveillance to the Tunnel Control Centres at both the North and South ends of the tunnel.

The tunnel’s data network has been installed by key ALE business partner Alpiq InTec in close co-ordination with Alcatel-Lucent. It is controlled by two OmniVista Network Management Systems which provide the visibility of data and advanced analytics required to ensure resource availability and reliable flow of traffic at all times. The data gathered by the sensors, monitors and surveillance equipment in the complex’s 152km of main tunnels, access tunnels and cross passages is transmitted to tunnel control centres, and the 16.7Hz power and ZKE systems which monitor train power and wheel temperature link directly to the SBB network at its control centre in Bern.

Bruno Frommenwiler, business unit manager IT & TelCom Sales, Alpiq InTec commented; ‘With temperatures up to 40°C inside the tunnel, the interior of the mountain is a harsh environment and not easily accessible. We have to rely on equipment which can operate under those difficult conditions and which have a low level of preventive and corrective maintenance. The Alcatel-Lucent product family fulfills the high standards required of equipment inside the longest railway tunnel in the world.’

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