You’re sitting in traffic on the drive home but can’t see ahead to know what’s causing the back-up. You hear sirens behind you and must navigate out of the way to let emergency vehicles pass. Now your interest is piqued.

You check the news when you get home and find out a tour bus had caught fire. The passengers were evacuated without injury, but you naturally wonder: what caused the fire?

Could it possibly have been a fuel leak or flammable materials onboard the bus? Scenarios such as these pose serious threats to commercial passenger vehicles, like buses and coaches. The United Nations has prioritized this issue and made flame-retardant and fire-resistant components a standard with the regulation ECE R118. The guideline applies to public road vehicles – any vehicle designed to carry people and cargo – and sets clear guidelines for what fabrics can be used onboard. It also clearly defines how electrical equipment should be designed for enhanced operational safety.

Completing the Portfolio: Providing a Fire-Resistant, On-Board Ethernet Solution

Most passengers traveling by bus have three standard expectations that need to be met: to be safe, to have reliable and punctual service and for the journey to be productive (have ample on-board Wi-Fi, entertainment options and journey information). Part of meeting passenger expectations is the use of regulation-approved materials. While not something that is top of mind for a traveler, it is a critical factor engineers consider. Safety first, after all.


Jacketed cabling protects passengers and drivers from on-board electrical sparks. (pictured)

To meet passenger expectations of a productive journey (whether working or streaming video entertainment) engineers work to deliver vehicles equipped with a full on-board Ethernet system. A complete portfolio would include ECE R118-approved cables, switches and LTE routers (for vehicle-to-ground connectivity) that can support the following Ethernet capabilities:

  • Enhanced in-vehicle video surveillance and streaming for real-time monitoring from control centers
  • Remote diagnostics to increase the reliability of the vehicle fleet
  • Passenger Information Systems, including route updates, like expected arrivals times
  • Ticketless travel and passenger counting to make the passenger journey easier
  • Driver advisory applications and location systems for improved management of fuel costs and vehicle fleets
  • On-board internet and entertainment access to meet increasing passenger demands

Road Vehicle Location System Ethernet Transportation NetworksLocation systems for road vehicles depend on a safe and efficient on-board Ethernet network.

Like a fire without oxygen, the features above could not be supported without the increased bandwidth capabilities Ethernet switches and cables allow. Addressing Ethernet demands for both speed and safety, the cables’ fast data transfer rates (up to 10Gb/s) mean information can easily travel throughout the on-board network, as well as reach distant control centers and bus stops. The switches’ and cables’ compact and flexible designs are ideal for the tight constraints of an on-board network infrastructure. Plus, they are capable of powering video cameras via the data cable (PoE) – ensuring that the equipment necessary to get you where you need to go is out of harm’s way.

Download the white paper "The Case for Specifying Industrial Ethernet Cable for Harsh Environments"Keeping the Flames for the Bonfire, Not the Road

By incorporating a full-fledged on-board Ethernet system (including a real-time LTE connection from the vehicle to the ground systems), teams enable their vehicles to safely and efficiently operate on today’s congested roadways  In doing so, they are providing buses and coaches with flame retardant materials that safeguard both the passengers and drivers. Implementing industry-approved electrical components now will help you keep pace with changing standards and equipping yourself to continuously innovate. As a result, you save time and money on unnecessary future updates.

Do you feel confident in your road vehicle networks? Find out which cabling option is right for your Ethernet needs in this white paper: Selecting Ethernet Cable to Meet Transportation Demands.

Are you interested in reading more about how LTE connectivity is used in a transportation environment? Read our application note on Remote Train Management Using LTE.

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