HomeConnectivityHuawei heads new IIC testbed on critical and non-critical LTE for metro trains

Huawei heads new IIC testbed on critical and non-critical LTE for metro trains

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has announced a new testbed to show the feasibility of adapting LTE for the urban rail sector. The new project is being led by Huawei, alongside the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

The testbed will evaluate usage of LTE to support communications in metro systems, carrying multiple types of communications services, including for train control and management between train and ground-based devices over a single network. 

Services include Communication Based Train Control (CBTC), Passenger Information System (PIS), CCTV monitoring, trunking communication and Train Control and Monitoring Systems (TCMS). The work will consider both critical and non-critical communications.

Metro trains typically make use of twin Wi-Fi networks to carry critical services and non-critical services, respectively. These tend to be proprietary vendor-specific extensions. “They are not standardized or interoperable,” said the IIC.

The rail sector should consider next-generation LTE, it says, in order to simplify the deployment and architecture of their communications infrastructure, and has designed the testbed as a proof to replace non-standard Wi-Fi networks with a single standardized LTE infrastructure.

So-called ‘LTE for Metro’ technology has been worked on by the CAICT, with input from Huawei, and tailored to metro railway requirements. The trial will put the various bandwidth, mobility, and quality-of-service capabilities of LTE through their paces in lab conditions and also live metro environments. 

The lab facility will be at Huawei’s Urban Rail Ecosystem Lab, housed in its Suzhou OpenLab. 

The Beijing Jiaotong University is also involved in the testbed. Various China-based rail companies and tech providers have thrown their weight behind it. These include the Ningbo Metro and Beijing Traffic Control Technology Company, Mission Information Technologies, and Nanjing Panda Electronics. The project is open to other vendors and rail operators.

Wang Guoyu, general manager of Huawei’s transportation solution department, said: “The requirements for urban rail operational management are more stringent and diverse so train-to-ground wireless communication networks must be more reliable, secure and provide more sufficient bandwidth resources. This testbed provides a benchmark for future urban rail construction.”

Richard Soley, executive director at the IIC, commented: “The LTE for Metro Testbed will serve as a benchmark and technical resource for future urban rail communications. The testbed is part of the IIC Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) initiative, in which IIC members are working on best practices and technologies to help guide the transportation industry.”

The IIC is running testbeds for a range of Industry 4.0 disciplines, including factory automation, asset efficiency, condition monitoring, workforce safety, distributed energy, connected vehicles, deep learning, digital thread, precision agriculture, time-sensitive networking, and track-and-trace solutions. The full list of projects can be found here.

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