London Underground seeks advice on its future communications infrastructure

By Derek du Preez
28 Oct 2011 View Comments
London Underground train going into tunnel

London Underground (LU) has asked companies to provide it with information about how it can best implement a communications infrastructure that will not be outdated ahead of its plans to implement a new railway system.

LU is planning to progressively upgrade seven of London's tube lines, although it doesn't expect the new railway system to be fully operational until 2018 at the earliest.

Further reading

An e-service notice highlights that LU is concerned that any plan for its communication infrastructure, which will include switchers, routers, network processors and wireless technologies, will be outdated by this point, and hopes to gain insight from companies as to how it can avoid deploying a modern railway network that is supported by old technology.

"It is recognised that the pace of change of technology requires that insight into current innovation and developments are gained to ensure the solutions designed are not obsolete before implementation," reads the notice.

LU does, however, also indicate that this will be only a "dialogue" with companies and does not mean it will procure any suggested solution.

The London Underground network will require components that have no unplanned downtime, are secure and protected against malicious attack, capable of managing large volumes of real-time data, and will need to work equally well in office, depot and deep tunnel environments.

LU also outlined in the notice that it is interested in a number of specific technologies:

• It is considering deploying "iPad-type tablets" in the next three years

• Real-time analytics are of interest to help monitor video footage and raise security alerts

• It is seeking information on systems that provide "geographical intelligence" on actual and predictive people movements.

Once LU has finalised a strategy review and developed the future specification requirements, it will put out tenders for the supply of a communications infrastructure. It expects the procurement process to start in June 2012.

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