Robust network technology 40 metres below the bottom of the sea

Kritische Infrastrukturen


Critical Infrastructures


Groupe Eurotunnel S.E.


Transport companies


Industrial switches for a highly available IP infrastructure

The Challenge

The existing network based on SDH/PDH technology was to be replaced by a highly available Ethernet solution. Among other things, that demanded rugged industrial switches that meet the very highest requirements and are certified for rail transport. So that the solution could be used in the tunnel, the persons responsible demanded VLAN capability for all devices, as well as ease of use by means of a single platform (SNMP).

Description of the Solution

MICROSENS supplied a total of 500 switches to create the new IP network. The switches are connected via fiber-optic cables that link the 150 technical rooms along the tunnel with each other.

„The MICROSENS switches ideally suit our concept. They have already proved their capability at numerous traffic nodes worldwide and they fulfil all our requirements“
Jean-Luc Pochet, Infrastructure Director Eurotunnel


Phone.: +49 2381/9452-0
info [at]

Eurotunnel builds up a new IP network with MICROSENS industrial switches

The American association of civil engineers voted The Channel one of the Seven Wonders of modern times. And for a sound reason: With a depth of 40 metres below the bottom of the sea and a length of 50 kilometres, the longest sub-sea tunnel of the world connects Great Britain with the European continent. Since its opening in 1994, The Channel has become one of the most frequented train routes of the world. A high-performance infrastructure ensures its seamless operation and the reliable surveillance of the three separate tunnel tubes. Eurotunnel, a branch of Groupe Eurotunnel SE, has now replaced the existing SDH/PDH network and will rely on a highly available IP infrastructure based on fiber optic in the future. Robust industry switches of MICROSENS GmbH & Co. KG, a subsidiary of euromicron AG, ensure the secure data transfer within the tunnel.

Fascinating Technology

In two parallel, single-track railway tunnels with a diameter of 7.6 metres, trains travel north, respectively south. Between these two tubes, there is the double-track service tunnel with accesses on both sides. in 2015, an average of 60,000 travellers and 51,500 tons of goods were transported through the tunnel. These figures alone show which significance The Channel has as a critical infrastructure. The train operation, telephony, monitoring, and the automation technology in the tunnel – all applications are based on a reliable network.

Getting to the Destination Safely

Easy to be monitored, interoperable, cost-effective, and very reliably – these are the demands The Channel operator is making on its new IT infrastructure. The existing network, which was based on SDH/PDH technology, had reached its limits and was meant to be replaced. After a careful examination, the decision-takers opted for a highly available Ethernet solution. The planners paid tribute to the high security requirements in several respects:

  • Robust industrial switches which fulfil highest demands and have been certified for railway traffic.
  • Two completely separate networks, one network for critical applications of the railway traffic, and one network for additional services, such as automatic surveillance systems, telephony, etc.
  • Own VLANs for each application
  • Several Ethernet rings in each tunnel

Robust Components

IT systems which are used in railway traffic and in general in industrial environments are subject to very high mechanical and physical strain. Dust, vibrations, and extreme temperature deviations rank among the most critical parameters to be considered when planning the installation outside of offices or data centers. For the application in The Tunnel, the decision-takers additionally demanded VLAN-capability of the devices, as well as simple manageability via a homogeneous platform. After a careful examination of various components, The Tunnel operator decided to use the industrial switches of MICROSENS. In total, the company delivered 500 switches to set up the new IP network. The switches are connected via fiber optic cables which interconnect 150 technical rooms along the tunnels.

Reliable and safe

"Security is the top priority in the operation of The Tunnel. For this reason, we strongly focus on a redundant network concept, on the one hand, and high-performance, top-quality components, on the other hand. The MICROSENS switches ideally suit our concept. They have already proved their capability at numerous traffic nodes worldwide and they fulfil all our requirements," explains Jean-Luc Pochet, Infrastructure Director Eurotunnel, the decision made.

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