Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced optical networking technology to enhance Eurotunnel communications through the Channel Tunnel

Paris, France, September 23, 2015

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is to provide its agile optical networking technology to Eurotunnel in order to converge all operational communications services and applications onto a single data network.

The deployment of Alcatel-Lucent’s optical transport technology – including the 1830 Photonic Service Switch platform – will enable the operator of the Channel Tunnel linking France and the United Kingdom ensure safe and punctual crossings for users of the Eurostar and Le Shuttle services used to transport passengers, cars and freight.

With passenger and freight traffic growing every year through the Channel Tunnel the operator, Eurotunnel, required a single communications network to support existing and new enhanced ‘mission critical’ services, including closed-circuit TV, traffic management, signalling, voice communications and messaging.

Alcatel-Lucent’s environmentally hardened optical network technology will be used along the track in both the North and South tunnels, ensuring continuous high-performance in the harsh operating environment. Alcatel-Lucent will also provide training, network maintenance and support for the system in a more than five year contract.

The deployment with Eurotunnel provides a prime example of how the transportation industry is transitioning toward WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) optical and IP technologies to support a wide variety of operational requirements. Furthermore, the agreement with Eurotunnel highlights further how Alcatel-Lucent is diversifying its customer base beyond traditional telecommunications service providers.

Key Facts

  • Alcatel-Lucent will deploy a new optical network in the 50km North and South tunnels of the Channel Tunnel using its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (1830 PSS) platform with network management provided by the 5620 Service Aware Manger.
  • The new network will connect the existing synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) optical network across both sides of the Channel Tunnel as well as new ‘mission-critical’ operational services. Communications traffic will include CCTV, Voice over IP (VoIP), back-office applications, billing, reporting, scheduling, traffic management and signalling functions.
  • Alcatel-Lucent has previously worked with Eurotunnel, including the deployment of mobile technology allowing passengers to connect to the Internet over their mobile devices while travelling through the tunnel beneath the English Channel.
  • The Channel Tunnel has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world, which is used by Eurostar passenger train services and the Le Shuttle car and freight trains which transport nearly 2.6 million cars and 1.5 million trucks between the UK and France each year. In 2014 more than 21 million passengers, on all services, traveled through the Channel Tunnel.


Michel Boudoussier, Chief Operating Officer – Concession of Eurotunnel said : “In 2014, Eurotunnel reached its first major achievement with Alcatel-Lucent by offering its 21 million passengers a year a 3G/4G service 100m below sea level. The next phase is underway and will be just as spectacular given the complexity of deploying GSM-R in the tunnel. The complex challenges are three-fold: providing radio coverage to the 150 km of galeries and 250 control rooms in extremely challenging technical and environmental conditions; ensuring interoperability across the various countries and rail-operator networks involved in Eurotunnel operations; and managing the sheer volume of data exchanged over one of the busiest rail links in the world. The fact that the teams are capable of deploying the solution without disrupting traffic is a major achievement in itself and I would like to congratulate them on this.”

Matthieu Bourguignon, Country Sales Officer – Alcatel-Lucent in France said : “By extending our relationship with Eurotunnel on this project we are increasing the momentum of our support for transportation operators evolving their data communications towards agile optical networks that meet all their mission-critical needs. This agreement with Eurotunnel recognizes our expertise in IP networking as well as our growing momentum in the transportation market, in Europe and across the globe.”

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