Operated by the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (or STIB), Brussels’ metro is a rapid transit system serving a large part of the Brussels- Capital region of Belgium. STIB runs over 850,000 metro, tram, and bus journeys every day for commuters, visitors and the 1.14 million residents of the Belgian capital.
The Brussels’ metro system faces some unique challenges as it pertains to their current and future business goals. The organization is nearly a 24x7x365 operation, meaning the environment and its connected systems cannot afford a disruption or drop in service. The number of passengers using public transportation in Brussels is growing exponentially with year-over-year demographic growth. As a result, during peak periods the system has hit the ceiling in terms of what manually controlled operations can achieve. The Brussels’ metro systems required a solution that would leverage automation to maximise the efficiency of its current and future capacity.
After evaluating their short-term and long-term goals, STIB concluded that an update to their IT network solution would meet the critical needs today, and by utilizing network-powered automation effectively, Brussels’ metro would see an estimated increase in capacity of 33%. As such, STIB issued a formal RFP to collect and review potential options. The proposed network solution, labelled by STIB as the “Mission Critical Network,” had to allow for real-time automated control of metro traffic.
For safety and security reasons – for STIB staff and its travellers – automating transit services also required a large video surveillance environment. However, to power this connected system, network performance, reliability, and scalability were must-have competencies.
Lastly, integrating manual and automated management of the transit system was key to the new strategy for increased capacity. STIB needed to maintain human oversight but also wished to alleviate (or eliminate all together) the potential for human error. Optimizing system availability, incorporating system and service resiliency, and enhancing network visibility were central requirements as part of the overarching solution.
After an extensive evaluation process, STIB chose to partner with Extreme Networks to design and deliver the ‘Mission Critical Network’ for the Metro Brussels transit system. STIB selected Prodata Systems not only for consulting and implementation services but also to manage the entire network on behalf of STIB. Throughout the entire process of installation, implementation and testing, Extreme Networks and Prodata Systems worked in close partnership to ensure that the solution put in place would meet the high requirements of STIB.
With Extreme Networks chosen for STIB’s ‘Mission Critical Network,’ the combined teams designed and implemented the approved solution for Metro Brussels, which included Extreme Fabric, Extreme Management Center, and ExtremeAnalytics.
Making use of Extreme’s Fabric Connect network virtualization technology, STIB now have the flexibility and agility to provision services, physically and logically, where they are needed for optimal efficiency. The Fabric Connect technology allowed STIB to run a robust and scalable video surveillance network with up to 15,000 IP cameras and enable seamless extension of Layer 2 services within and between data centers, supporting real-time virtual machine mobility. Elimination of complex protocols enabled scalable IP multicast deployments for critical systems like Brussels’ metro video surveillance system. It also provided the right foundation for secure guest access services, in addition to secure BYOD, with simplified provisioning. Elimination of the overlay wired, and wireless network model delivered a truly unified converged solution. This meant STIB’s ability to evolve to a next-generation virtualized network – without wholesale disruption to ongoing operations – so STIB can implement changes at their own pace.
Today, STIB enabled real-time automated control of metro traffic, improving system uptime for our customers and freeing up IT resources to focus on creating new services. Future expansion of the network could include additional fabric nodes to multiple depots and buildings for video surveillance, and new services such as IP voice and public addresses. For STIB, ultimately the goal is an autonomous enterprise where architecture, automation, and human intelligence operate in harmony. The network was a critical first step in making this happen.
“The metro system in Brussels is the lifeblood
of the city. Without it, public life would grind
to a standstill. Over the years, the metro lines have gradually reached the limits of what they can achieve in terms of capacity, efficiency and operability. This has brought us dangerously close to not being able to keep up with demand anymore. We needed a new mission critical network solution that would help us identify new efficiencies and automate manual processes.
In Extreme Networks, we found a trusted and reliable partner that has helped us turn tomorrow's vision of a smart, automated and efficient metro network into a reality today.”
Pierre-André Rulmont, VP, Information Systems, Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company / STIB
Brussels Metro (MIVB - STIB)
Transportation & Logistics
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