LTE for railways
Replace legacy and multiple radio networks with a single unified LTE solution.
The railway industry, including mainline, freight, metro and industrial rail, has been served well for many years by a range of digital radio access technologies that include TETRA, Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), GSM-R, WiMAX and Wi-Fi. DMR, TETRA and GSM-R are narrowband technologies that provide reliable support for voice services, but which have limited capabilities to support broadband data traffic.
While GSM-R is widely used in many parts of the world for mainline operators, urban rail mainly relies on Wi-Fi, a very widely used enterprise Wireless LAN technology. Although Wi-Fi is easy to deploy, uses unlicensed spectrum and is a relatively low-cost way to support some operational applications, it is not ideally suited for carrier-grade reliability, mobility or safety-critical data such as automatic train control (ETCS/CBTC).
Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless communications has been picked by the leading professional mobile radio standardization bodies as the technology of choice to support mission-critical voice and broadband services in the future. The ability of LTE to support advanced broadband applications is set to help public safety and railway organizations to operate more efficiently.
As a well-established technology that is supported by a solid and growing ecosystem, LTE has a long future ahead of it. Even when the much-vaunted 5G technologies start to be deployed, LTE will provide a long-term foundation for 5G networks.
The benefits of introducing LTE for railways communications networks will be many, including enhanced safety, improved operational efficiency and innovative passenger services.