Monday 27 September 2010

New E-Train report: state of the art for broadband communication for moving trains

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This UIC report demonstrates that satifying passenger info-mobility demands is affordable by using a range of technologies capable of providing standard WLAN connectivity inside a train and a broadband telecommunications link between the moving train and a track-side telecommunications service provider (e.g. internet provider).

A second development is data communication between moving trains and ground operation services to improve productivity, availability and maintainability of rolling stock and introduce other services (such as dynamic seat reservation, e-ticketing, on-line crew assistance, security monitoring etc.).

There are several options to satisfy broadband communication needs on moving trains:

  • create separate services for passenger and train needs (unbundled from a technical and operational point of view)
  • set up a common technical arrangement capable of satisfying both types of communication.

The decision keep GSM-R and its subsequent migrations outside outside the ambit of this subject was taken at the outset of its development, since GSM-R is not in fact a broadband communication system, and its functions and capacity have been designed and built more specifically to provide a radio carriage system for safety related railway operations, ERTMS/ETCS messaging and more demanding traffic control needs.

The E-Train report gives an overview of current needs and requirements for broadband communication on trains, available technology and migration trends in related technology.
The document also looks at Minimum Quality of Service in relation to existing achievements and best practices for passenger oriented internet services on trains.

The main conclusions are:

  • Services aimed at travellers should be based on market connectivity standards on trains (e.g. WiFi 802.11g) and exist in stations or other relevant access points as well.
  • Cooperation is needed with the broadband service providers to provide end-to-end connectivity.
  • IP technologies is the basic technology used for converging network capability underlying the current trend in mobile telecommunications.

The report is available online:

For more information, please contact George Barbu:

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