Customer Success Story Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB): How the Swiss Rail Company Improved the Management of its Telecommunications Network and Cable Infrastructure

By: Daria Batrakova, Director Business Line Telecom Solutions

Swiss rail company Schweizerische Bundesbahnen AG (SBB) is a modern transportation and service company. Every day, SBB carries 880,000 passengers and 185,000 metric tons of freight safely to their destinations. A key success factor is the company’s strong, robust rail infrastructure, including the telecommunications network. This comprises 9,500 kilometers of fiber-optic cabling with a total of around 400,000 kilometers of optical fibers, some 4,500 kilometers of copper cables, and approximately 30,000 distribution points.

Focus on integration capability

In 2018, the lifecycle of the previous cable management tool came to an end. In the meantime, the demands on the operation of the infrastructure had also risen sharply due to new services and more intensive use of the network. For this reason, the railroad group was seeking a new software that not only documents cables, but also manages the services of the telecommunications network.

One of the most important requirements was seamless integration into the Operations Support System (OSS) landscape of SBB Telecom. In addition, surrounding systems were to be connected directly and seamlessly via interfaces. The objective was to break down the existing isolated solution by integrating the cable management software across the board and to ensure end-to-end data consistency for resources and services in the passive and active networks. In addition, the new system should help drive forward the digitization strategy of the Swiss railroad group.

Documentation of all copper and fiber-optic cabling

After a request for proposals, FNT was selected as the vendor with the highest overall score for the entire project: provision, implementation and integration of the cable management software, ongoing migrations of the data, maintenance, service, and support of the system.

Today, the FNT Command Platform documents all copper and fiber-optic cables that run along the railway tracks in concrete ducts. These cables have a total length of 68,000 kilometers. Fun fact: this is more than one and a half times around the earth!

The technical plant rooms with their footprints and the network elements of the transport network are also documented. Despite its complexity, the logical network topology is mapped in its entirety using the standard functionality of FNT Command.

Benefits for SBB at a glance

By using FNT Command, SBB has realized numerous benefits ranging from better planning of maintenance work to faster localization of faults. Just to mention a few of them:

  • Telecom network and the required cable infrastructure are documented in a single tool that ensures high data quality and currency thanks to integration with the network management system (NMS). This ensures maximum transparency, helps to meet the strict compliance requirements, and provides extensive possibilities for monitoring by the other OSS applications that use FNT’s solution as a reliable supplier of data.
  • Better planning of redundant capacities, optimized availability and more safety in rail services through the realistic simulation of the failure of devices, fibers, routes or cables.
  • Maintenance work can be optimally planned, and interruptions reduced to a minimum.
  • More precise workflows and faster processes, e.g., identifying the source of a fault through the transparent representation of infrastructure data.

Read the full case study here and find out exactly how SBB is using the FNT Command Platform and what further process optimizations the Swiss rail company is planning to implement with the help of the software tool.