As attendees will see at next week's APTA Expo, the future of smart cities transportation will require more advanced levels of computing and communication technology to allow operators to take full advantage of the data they collect to monitor and manage their application. The power to transform transportation system usage is data, so its integrity is vital. Therefore, it stands to reason that security is an essential element in any connected rail technology adopted. However, it is no simple feat, however, to secure reliable data transmission between speeding rail cars and ground stations so to find out more, we welcome today a guest post from one of our regular expert contributors, Valentin Scinteie, Transportation Business Development Manager at Kontron ,so read on for some fantastic insights into this important area of our growing industry.
In terms of connected objects and data, LoRaWAN, a low power wide area network protocol specification developed by the LoRa Alliance is especially efficient to support digitalization of existing fleets with easy integration or refurbishment. Proven successful in meeting network and communication infrastructure security needs, it uses an unlicensed wireless battery radio spectrum that supports network communication between remote sensors and gateways. And because it is standards-based, LoRaWan-based platforms enable the streamlined installation of public or private networks wherever they are needed. Thanks to its rapid adoption by many industrial system developers, LoRa™ offers an ideal lowcost wireless data gathering technology that makes a popular choice for many new applications in transportation.
Providing advanced levels of end-to-end network and application security, LoRa networks are based on multiple layers of encryption. Furthermore, in support of other smart cities initiatives, solutions that support LoRaWAN also satisfy fundamental Internet of Things (IoT) requirements for intelligent transportation connectivity such as secure bi-directional communication, interoperability and accurate localization services. An added benefit for rail operators is that LoRa platforms offer seamless interoperability between smart devices without the need to add complex local systems. This allows installation schedules to be considerable shortened so they can start to realize the real-time data and remote monitoring advantages of IoT much more rapidly.
An available LoRa solution example for rail is the implementation of an IoT gateway that provides the ability to transform messages to Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) streams. This gives operators an all-in-one secure IoT gateway, when combined with cloud connectivity services. By supporting continuous communications from LoRa-based devices to a Cloud server, this type of IoT gateway enables highly-secure data collection and remote analysis. This approach gives operators the needed security from a private local LoRaWAN network infrastructure that is exclusively reserved for intra-vehicle communication. Security is iron-clad as the LoRa™-MQTT Gateway can easily support highly secure protection for both software and hardware levels. Associated cloud server connections are also secured by a TLS connection that uses private keys on both sides.
Continually innovating its portfolio of products specifically designed for transportation, Kontron is the first to provide a secure all-in-one LoRa-MQTT gateway and IoT gateway. The recently introduced TRACe™ LoRa-MQTT enables enhanced communications security by pushing MQTT streams to the cloud, supporting authentication, trusted boot, secure communications with built in hardware protection, all embedded in a gateway processing system. It successfully overcomes the technical challenge of securing train to ground station reliable data transmission. Already in the process of being tested on high-speed trains, the TRACe LoRa-MQTT embeds a LoRa™ radio concentrator that maintains up to 8 simultaneous communication channels as well as full Ethernet connectivity from one of the two gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connectors. Based on an open Linux distribution, this powerful gateway features an Intel® Atom E3845 quad core running at 1.91 GHz. Ensuring stable operation in harsh rail environments, it has been designed to EN50155 railway certification standards. In addition, the Kontron TRACe LoRa-MQTT integrates advanced technologies for system health monitoring.
Putting the TRACe LoRa-MQTT to work allows data to be easily retrieved from the Cloud with MQTT subscriptions and using MQTT clients. Widely used today and essential for future intelligent smart cities IoT applications, MQTT clients are available in various languages for a diverse range of operating system environments including Linux, Windows, windows phone, Android and IOS and can be installed on all popular computer, tablet or smartphone devices. Combined with data stream analytics such as SQLStream or other analytics tools, it gives operators the ability to analyze collected data and utilize it on a graphical dashboard.
In addition to its native IoT gateway capability that can integrate the LoRa Server, the TRACe LoRa MQTT can optionally host edge computing workloads. The provides the ability to power other smart cities applications in parallel like vehicle management, remote control and diagnostics and well as onboard entertainment, video recording and passenger information and much more.
As experts in transportation systems development, Kontron understands the foundation for enabling intelligent and reliable connected rail systems is commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) open architecture computing technologies. Helping attendees get excited about the breadth of advanced COTS computing platforms that are available from Kontron now and that the company will showcase at the APTA Expo is Kontron’s new transportation video. In it, viewers will learn about the essential building blocks that give developers both design flexibility and critical interoperability between the diverse range of rail sub-systems currently used.
See Kontron at the APTA Expo October 9-11 in Atlanta, Georgia, Booth # 6323 where attendees will discover ways to harness proven computing, connectivity and security technologies that make Smart City autonomous mobility possible. To schedule a meetign the Kontron team, click here.
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