New LTE mission critical standards, established by 3GPP, are providing a major opportunity for the rail industry to benefit from the latest secure broadband voice and data services, says Nicolas Hauswald, Sales & Marketing Director for ETELM.
Speaking on the first day of Innotrans, the largest event in the world dedicated to the rail transport industry, Hauswald explained how LTE provides an exciting opportunity for railway operators to provide a single unified network for operational and maintenance services.
This single solution would include passenger information applications, CCTV, traffic management, ticketing and other services. Hauswald described how this will help railway operators to optimize services, reduce infrastructure costs and provide new revenue streams.
Hauswald said: “It is crucial that communications within the transport sector involve advanced mission critical voice and data services along with the integration of other applications including signalling, dispatching and passenger information. This is where mission critical LTE becomes so important in meeting these communication requirements, as it provides the perfect solution for transport communications as LTE offers higher speed mobile data services and mission critical voice services.
“Whilst traditional narrowband services offer a secure network solution for voice and data, the capacity of the data is limited and the integration to high bandwidth services is a challenge for traditional narrowband LMR systems,” he continued.
The solution, explained Hauswald, is both broadband and narrowband connecting on a single LTE EPC core.
“New LTE standards for mission critical voice, data and video have now been internationally approved, so the timing for mission critical LTE is perfect. LTE is great as it offers a single network solution, allowing integration with advanced broadband data services.”
Hauwald described how a single, secure communications backbone, for both trackside and station communications, is a suitable approach for railway systems. LTE allows all systems to be integrated into a single eco-system capable of supporting communications now and in the future, rather than having numerous systems that require individual maintenance and support methodologies.
He added: “A new model for railway operators needs to be implemented, this could be a model to provide a private solution with additional consumer services or to outsource the mission critical operational services to a mobile network operator that will benefit from the additional consumer services onboard and in stations.”
ETELM developed their 4GLinked, the most advanced hybrid solution based on LTE and TETRA communications services, to meet the communications needs of the transport sector. The solution is based on international standards for transmission networks based on the LTE core.
4GLinked provides seamless communications between both technologies, allowing them to operate over a single, fully distributed network. ETELM is also following the definition of Future Railway Mission Critical Standards (FRMCS). FRMCS is based on LTE and will be an improved, next generation standard after GSM-R.