RF Interconnect Solutions for Railway Applications

RF interconnect solutions are used to power performance-critical applications in locomotives, class 1 railroad, light rail, metro rail, subway systems, and more, including communications-based train control (CBTC) and rooftop and trackside antennas. It is vital to guarantee system availability regardless of the highly variable conditions railway communication systems operate within.

Coaxial Cables

An optimal coaxial cable for these applications is a flexible, low-loss, flame-retardant, low smoke coaxial cable that can operate across a wide temperature range. This cable design enables RF to support continuous two-way communications between the train and control center for traffic management and infrastructure control in applications such as communications-based train control. RF communications enable the exact position to be known more accurately than with traditional signaling systems, creating a safer and more efficient way to manage railway traffic.

However, many traditional multi-point, antenna-based communications systems cannot provide uniform RF coverage inside rail and transit tunnels and subways. To provide adequate coverage, many service providers increase the power to unacceptable levels – a problem that can be overcome with radiating cables, also known as leaky cables. These act as continuous antennas and are designed to emit RF signals at very low power, reducing the potential for interference with other nearby systems that use the same frequencies and allowing for frequency reuse.

Radiating cables offer other advantages: they can carry multiple frequencies on a single cable and can function as a single broadband antenna to extend coverage inside the car. The radio frequency signals are fed between the transmitter and antenna, and a controlled amount of energy is “leaked” into the surrounding environment to provide RF coverage. The radiating cable is designed to receive and transmit RF signals in the surrounding controlled environment across this single broadband antenna cable. There are also radiating cables designed to address applications where longer runs of cable are required, such as long road tunnels, metros, and subway systems. These offer lower down-line signal attenuation while still providing adequate RF coverage within the surrounding environment.

Powering Railway Communication

The highly unique and often challenging environments that railway communications systems operate in require the expertise of a reliable and seasoned RF interconnect partner. Times Microwave has the experience and the market knowledge needed; we have been creating unique applications for extreme and demanding environments for decades. By partnering with us for complex railway communications, our customers benefit from the collective experience of industry experts entrenched in performance-critical industries such as military electronics, aerospace, space, and other rugged environments, with the ability to create custom solutions designed for any specific need.

With an emphasis on future-proof products, backed by a robust network of manufacturing facilities and expert engineering teams, we are ready to meet your most challenging railway communications needs.