Highway Communications Sees an IP Transformation with IP/MPLS

March 28, 2016
By: Peter Scott

Not all communications is equal when it comes to the intelligent transportation systems that serve highways communications.

A range of devices use highway communication networks, and not all of it warrants equal service. Emergency communications, for instance, might require ride-of-way while weather station information can survive a slight service disruption.

That’s why intelligent transportation systems need the ability to set quality of service guarantees and parameters based on service type.

Ideally a highway communications network will have hierarchical QoS (H-QoS) that is service-aware. H-QoS allows lower priority traffic to ”burst” to fill available bandwidth when higher priority applications go idle, and will pause non-essential traffic when critical traffic such as emergency communications must pass through the network.

This is the ideal, but many intelligent transportation systems today don’t reach that ideal. Traditional IP and Ethernet networks lack the ability to scale to support traffic and to optimize the use of network resources. Further, they are unable to react to network events quickly so they are unable to guarantee end-to-end QoS per application.

What highway communications networks need instead is IP/MPLS. What IP/MPLS offers over traditional IP and Ethernet networks is high scalability and fast reroute capabilities, legacy support for TDM-based applications while supporting newer IP applications, QoS needs, bandwidth optimization through traffic engineering, and extensive OAM tools for troubleshooting and maintenance, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) article, Highway communications networks get green light.

“A single IP/MPLS network has the robustness and predictability of a circuit-based network paired with high capacity and support for bursty traffic,” noted the article.

The Nokia (News - Alert) IP/MPLS solution, for instance, comes with service-based queuing built-in so each logical port within a physical port has a dedicated queue. It also supports queues and QoS for traffic classes within the logical port, and provides each service with committed information rate and peak information rate type guarantees.

This is nothing less than an IP transformation for highway communications that are upgrading from traditional IP networks.

It also is a necessary transformation; it helps progressive agencies deliver on time, safe and connected journeys for millions of travelers through better emergency communications systems, tolling systems, video protection systems and digital road signs, among others.




Edited by Peter Bernstein