IP/MPLS Helps the Paris Metro Handle Increasing Complexity and Commuter Volume

Next Generation Communications Blog

IP/MPLS Helps the Paris Metro Handle Increasing Complexity and Commuter Volume

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The Paris Metro shows that you can, in fact, teach old dogs new tricks.

For more than a century, the massive Paris Metro has been enabling commuters and tourists to easily travel across the French capital. Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), which operates the metro network, employs roughly 54,000 employees and has yearly revenue of more than €5 billion ($5.43 billion). As part of the Grand Paris initiative, which has support from several levels of government, RATP is planning:

  • 205 km of automatic metro lines
  • 68 new stations
  • Deployment of 30,000 high-definition video cameras

However, getting there means having a next generation communications network. With that in mind, the Paris Metro is converging its five communications networks into a single IP/MPLS network. Instead of separate networks for TETRA, CCTV, telephony, passenger info and IT, RATP is boldly moving ahead with a converged network aided by the expertise of Alcatel-Lucent.

“By converging our five separate legacy networks into one single IP/MPLS network,” noted Patrick Goasdoué, director of telecommunications for RATP in a recent Alcatel-Lucent interactive case study, Signaling Change for the Paris Metro, “We will not only reduce our maintenance costs, but also improve our operations.”

Companies often struggle with moving forward thanks to a network of fragmented systems that don’t effectively integrate with each other. With its expansion plans, RATP saw the opportunity to fix its own fragmentation issue as it expanded its metro network. This was a perfect time to migrate to IP/MPLS, which moves all communications over a common IP backbone.

The advantage of converging networks into one system extends far beyond improved efficiency, security and control, as Alcatel-Lucent noted in the case study. IP/MPLS not only handles communications traffic today, but it also makes future expansion easier; it can handle new applications and services, manage even more lines, trains and CCTV coverage, and be ready for whatever new innovations emerge in the next few years.

At the same time as it simplifies the communications network and makes it future-proof, the move to IP/MPLS will enable the Paris Metro to significantly reduce congestion and pollution, combat urban sprawl and agricultural encroachment, promote the economic development of the surrounding region and contribute to France's reputation as worldwide leaders in economic progress.

Not a bad trick for an old dog.

 



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