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Infinity Delivers Norfolk Southern Microwave Solutions

Infinity Puts America’s Largest Freight Railway Corporation’s Microwave Communications on the Right Track

Norfolk Southern Corporation’s vision is to “be the safest, most customer-focused and successful transportation company in the world.” It’s already one of North America’s most premier transportation companies. NSC’s market cap is 30 billion U.S. dollars and boasts an annual revenue of 11.6 billion dollars

The Norfolk, Virginia-based company’s Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The company operates the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern United States and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products. Norfolk Southern supports international trade with service to every major Atlantic seaport, ten river ports, and nine lake ports.

Norfolk Southern’s Communications Challenges

But being one of North America’s most premier transportation companies hasn’t come without challenges. Norfolk Southern’s legacy communications network was deployed and enhanced over more than two decades. The network was built on a TDM backbone and hybrid radios. Simply put: The network wasn’t designed to support new IP-based applications. 

Not only that, but as NS’s rail operations have expanded, the corporation’s list of communications challenges includes needing to:

  • Scale communications for future growth
  • Integrate rail operations data with the enterprise network
  • Increase bandwidth
  • Reduce the costs of legacy solutions and enhancing security
  • Support mission-critical applications such as Positive Train Control (PTC) to enhance safety and efficiency

These challenges stood in the way of Norfolk Souther being the safest, most customer-focused and successful transportation company in the world. To claim this status, its communications transport group would need to get to the point where it could focus on providing secure, reliable, cost-effective services for all of its operations. These services, which include PTC, emergency communications, VHF radio and video protection, and business applications, would need to be integrated with the enterprise network while addressing rising legacy network costs.

Nokia’s Communications Solutions

So what did Norfolk Southern do? It teamed up with Infinity Technology Solutions, a Nokia Master-Distributor, to take the next step to a state-of-the-art, all-IP, service-rich communications solution. 

Infinity and Nokia sought to migrate Norfolk Southern’s existing networks and applications to a single IP network without removing and replacing legacy infrastructure. Nokia also wanted to address Norfolk Southern’s procurement, logistics and inventory challenges with predictive equipment forecasting that could reduce lengthy lead times while increasing ease and efficiency.

Infinity’s portfolio of Nokia solutions was exactly what NS was looking for:

  • Nokia 9500 Microwave Packet Radio, an efficient backhaul networking solution, reduced the total cost of ownership and maximized spectrum utilization.
  • Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Switch and next-generation dense wavelength division multiplexing supports synchronous optical networking. The solution also served as a partial replacement of the legacy equipment NS had already deployed.
  • Nokia 7750 Service Router and 7705 Service Aggregation Router facilitates legacy-to-packet transformation and provide adaptation, aggregation and routing for Ethernet and IP/Multi-Protocol Label Switching networks.
  • Nokia 5620 Service Aware Manager enables end-to-end network and service management across all domains of Norfolk Southern’s converged, all-IP network. 
  • Predictive equipment forecasting software solution shortens lead times and allows on-site inventory management. 

“We’ve found this unified IP/MPLS network manageable, maintainable and effective at minimizing service disruptions,” Norfolk Southern’s IT manager, Richard Carter, said. “We sought carrier-grade technology, and we selected a solution from Nokia combined with Bell Labs innovation that simplified management, reduced outages and lowered outage-related costs.”

On the Right Track 

All in all, Infinity Technology Solutions along with Nokia helped Norfolk Southern upgrade its microwave communications network to enhance safety, improve operational efficiency and support future business expansion. Now Norfolk Southern is on the right track to becoming the safest, most customer-focused and successful transportation company in the world.

Read the case study to learn more about how Infinity Technology Solutions and Nokia IP Networks helped Norfolk Southern Rail boost its safety and efficiency with an IP network. 

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