For most organisations, digitalisation and incorporating new technologies is inevitable. But we can’t forget about legacy kit as it’s the backbone of telecom networks worldwide. For Network Rail, some of their networking equipment is over 30 years old, and with our support, its lifespan just keeps on extending.

Requirement

Legacy telecom network equipment can be a potential hazard if not maintained correctly. Even small niggles like heat and moisture can lead to network downtime or even fire hazards. This is why modifications are often required to continue the safe operation of the equipment when installed within the network.

Network Rail has equipment in their communications network that in some cases is over 30 years old. This equipment is no longer supported by the manufacturer but is still an integral part of the network that needs to be maintained. Neglecting this equipment could result in having to spend an eye-watering amount to replace it. Plus, it wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly to not extend the lifespan of the product for as long as possible.

Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in the UK, (to be exact, that’s 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations!). They required a specialist telecom repair partner to be on hand (within strict turnaround times) for when a fault arises in their huge network.

Solution

All equipment monitoring and first line maintenance is completed by Network Rail. Any units that are identified as faulty are then processed through our repair loop. Our standard SLA is 20 days turnaround time, but we can make this as little as 5 days when the need arises.

Our repair solution supports all types of network products, including: optical, IP and radio based technologies at circuit board level. This covers a range of manufacturers and platforms including Marconi, Nokia, Nortel, Eltek, Powernetics and GPT.

A lot of the products we repair for Network Rail are part of trackside communications that support critical systems like the track signals. We maintain the equipment’s operational lifespan and also enhance and upgrade the products. For example, we upgraded the Marconi MD90 and ML38 products which are around 30 years old! Thanks to our global network of partners, sourcing hard-to-find, end-of-life (EOL) and even end-of-support (EOS) equipment is another example where we add value for the customer. However in some cases, this is just not possible if no more kit is available. We don’t let this hold us back! Instead we develop compatible components that can be used to service and repair the units.

We are delighted to be Network Rail’s test and repair partner for over 15 years. To deliver a great service that keeps them returning to us year-on-year makes us very proud.

Result

It’s a major result for our customers when we are able to support the repair and maintenance of products which have long been deemed end-of-life by the original equipment manufacturers. For Network Rail, our services provide significant savings as it extends the life of their existing equipment, keeping their systems in excellent working condition. In the last year we successfully repaired over a hundred parts that were sent to us with only 7% being deemed beyond economic repair (BER), all while consistently meeting the agreed SLAs.

This reduces the need for Network Rail to invest in new equipment and saves time by avoiding the need to train their engineers on new products and platforms. We cannot forget the environmental benefits of this approach too. Keeping electronics in use and out of landfill is the ultimate route to acting sustainably and supporting a circular economy. We have seen countless big corporations see huge potential in this approach, gaining significant environmental and financial benefits in return.

Furthermore, sticking with familiar systems bypasses any potential issues that can arise when equipment is new. If new kit isn’t properly tested or pre-staged before deployment, it’s possible to turn up dead on arrival (DOA), becoming a huge time-waster and a risk for network downtime. Sticking with existing kit removes the potential problems when integrating new systems into their network.

As with all customers, we supply detailed reporting from our repair centre for full visibility. We provide a summary of every part number and the works that needed to be done. This includes parts repaired, no fault found, return to stock and beyond economic repair statistics. We make sure to keep you in the loop every step of the way.

More information

To find out more about this project or to get further details on our comprehensive third-party repair service, please reach out to our team.