Rail Systems


Solutions for the key issues for the rail industry

Europe relies on rail as efficient transportation mode and expects that a great percentage of medium distance intercity passenger and freight travel will shift from road to rail in the next years.
Belden dedicated communication infrastructure meets the requirements of critical assets as signaling and modern train stations, helping to increase reliability and safety, necessary to allow the increase of passengers and freight traffic and maximize the available railway infrastructure. Railways achieve a greater efficiency of its systems, an increased cost effectiveness and a focus on environmentally friendly aspects, so to be considered the best transport mode.

Better services with an IP infrastructure

Quality achieved by modern IP technology, the always larger bandwidth connections, both wired and wireless, and further improving reliability and performances of the devices, enable railway operators to control and monitor an increasing number of systems from remote centers. This availability of technology, of which Belden is a leader, allows to implement new safety systems, reduce maintenance costs and increase the efficiency of the rail network, providing better services to users.

High Network Reliability serving railway systems

A network in the railway world means operating in a harsh environment that requires special performance and a high degree of resilience. Conditions of humidity and temperature, small spaces, needs for redundancy, reliability, data security and long distances are just few examples of requests that are met with Belden industrial products.
An industrial type of network resolves the various issues of designing the data transmission network and thus ensuring reliability and performance of systems serving critical infrastructure.

Compliance to IRIS Standard for improved and specific quality

Railways need "ready to run“ systems that meet the different requirements of the individual countries along the international routes as well as complying with the restrictive regulatory requirements. IRIS has set the standard for these global rail business requests. Its main objective is to improve the quality in the rail sector by reduction of efforts and costs. Belden with its IRIS certification can offer competitiveness and proved solutions that meet the high quality of standards required from the railways operators.

Customizing Products as you need

Leading actors in transportation world trust the Belden products which have been deeply implemented in their systems and applications to help them to maximize their performances by offering them always the right customized range of products.

Delivery extraordinary Quality Processes to meet your needs

The quality management system is a living part of Belden. Belden maintains its first-rate quality standard by continuously refining its processes and in this way meets the most rigorous demands for quality with networking solutions that exceed industry standards. The IRIS certification label proves that Belden's Hirschmann™ brand is an approved specialist partner for highly available data communication solutions on trains and along railroad tracks.

Providing intensive Project Pre- and After Sales Support

Customers can expect our ability to support, deliver and maintain our products anywhere in the world. Our competence center and a strong presence of global partners, design and install a complete communication network for all the possible mission-critical applications in the world of transportation.

Sharing Knowledge within International Standard Committees

Belden as a market leader plays an active role in many standardization organizations and key industry associations as a member of IEC, IEEE, ODVA, PNO, EPSG, UNIFE.

The best performance combined with the lowest impact on the environment

Belden EMEA is committed to operating as an environmentally responsible company. In addition to seeking to minimize the environmental impact of our organization’s activities and operations, we support our customers’ drive for greener and more sustainable solutions by focusing on reducing the ecological impact of our products.

Where can I find copies of the test reports for testing against European standards (such as EN45545, EN50155 and EN50121) for your products?

Copies of detailed test results as required for certification against external standards are not held on our publically accessible internet site. If you would like to see copies of these test results for a specific reason, please contact either your local Sales Representative, or

How many switches can be put in an MRP or RSTP ring?

MRP: 50+. Switches based on ring topology. Recovery time is almost independent of the number of switches in the ring

RSTP: up to 40 Switches for any type of topology. Because RSTP works in a hop-by-hop principle, recovery time will almost linearly increase with the number of switches in the ring.

What are the recovery times of HSR (best case and worst case)?

There is no best or worst case recovery time for HSR, since there is no recovery time at all. The network recovery time from no fault to a single fault in a ring will always be zero. Also, the repair operation from one fault to no fault is also with zero switchover time.

HSR, as MRP or RSTP in ring configuration, can only sustain one fault in the ring network. This is due to the physical topology, not due to the redundancy protocol. Rings that are coupled via Quad Boxes do not share the same redundancy domain. Therefore, each individual ring can sustain a single fault.

Are HSR/PRP standardized technologies or are they proprietary?

Both HSR and PRP are specified in the International Standard IEC 62439-3. HSR and PRP are therefore standardized and not proprietary technologies.

If HSR and PRP are superior to MRP or RSTP, why should I continue to use them? Why shouldn’t I switch over to HSR/PRP completely?

While HSR and PRP are superior to MRP or RSTP in terms of reconfiguration performance, there are also drawbacks to the technology:

  • PRP: Requires a complete network infrastructure for both networks, which usually means double the costs for network equipment.
  • PRP and HSR: For both PRP and HSR, hardware support through FPGAs or ASICs is required, leading to higher device costs.
  • HSR: Compared to an MRP ring or RSTP in ring configuration, HSR carries only 50% of the traffic (available bandwidth is halved due to doubled frame transmission).

Where seamless redundancy is not explicitly needed, the use of MRP (with SubRings) or RSTP technology may be more cost-effective than HSR/PRP. But where the application requirements justify the additional costs, PRP/HSR can be utilized.

If HSR/PRP is a standardized technology, why should I buy an HSR/PRP device from Hirschmann? Other vendors will provide the same redundancy functionality?

There are several answers to this question. It is true that the technology is standardized, but there are several key factors why a customer should buy a Hirschmann HSR/PRP device:

  • Hirschmann was instrumental in the development of the PRP/HSR standard. With Hirschmann products, a customer can be absolutely sure that the device will satisfy every requirement HSR/PRP was designed to accommodate and that, thanks to our detailed insight knowledge, the implementation is of high performance and absolutely 100% standard conformant.
  • A high performance redundancy is almost useless without proper monitoring and fault detection. Hirschmann HSR/PRP switch products will be integrated into our state-of-the-art SCADA tool Industrial HiVision, which adds up to a combined redundancy and network solution that no competitor can match.

What are the typical application fields of PRP and HSR?

HSR and PRP were conceived for use in IEC 61850 substation automation, where network reconfiguration times cannot be tolerated, especially on the process bus with sampled values traffic. However, PRP/HSR can also be used in factory automation, especially as redundancy solutions for motion control applications.

In short, PRP/HSR can be used anywhere when only very low to zero network recovery times can be tolerated. This is especially true in time synchronized networks, e.g. with IEEE 1588v2. HSR in particular with its ring structure and cut-through switching, can also provide very low end-to-end latency on ring networks.

How many HSR ring devices are supported?

The total number of HSR devices in one ring should be limited to 50. This is mainly to reduce the latency in the ring. For very time-critical applications it may be necessary to limit the number of devices even to a smaller number. Another limitation for the number of devices in a ring can be the size of the duplicate detection table inside the device. This is dependent on the implementation.

Are HSR and PRP future-proof technologies? What is the technological outlook?

The IEC standard (IEC 62439-3) for HSR and PRP is now stable and the feasibility of the technology has been shown. HSR and PRP are highly future-proof thanks to the direct integration into the IEC 61850 standard and the acceptance of all major energy automation companies. HSR/PRP technology is expected to be successful in other application fields as well, in particular factory automation. The technology is scalable in line speed (Gigabit speed is scheduled as future improvement to the standard) and can be flexibly adapted to incorporate other technologies, e.g. 1588v2 time synchronization.