Technical Committee (TC) Rail Telecommunications (RT) Activity Report 2019

Chair: Robert Sarfati, Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer

Responsible for the development and maintenance of standards related to GSM-R (GSMTMfor railways), and requirements for Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) and Next Generation Radio for Rail (NG2R).

The international railway community has long used the GSM-R (GSM™ for railways) standard, an enhancement of GSM technology. Now there is a need to address the harmonized telecommunication requirements for tomorrow’s railway systems.

The responsibilities of our Rail Telecommunications committee (TC RT) include:

  • Development and maintenance of ETSI standards related to GSM-R as required by applicable European Legislation
  • Collecting requirements from relevant stakeholders from the Rail Transportation domain, including urban, suburban, regional, long distance for Professional Mobile Radio Access systems
  • Provisions of standards for voice, data services and other applications over broadband and narrowband air interfaces for the Rail Transportation domain
  • Identifying spectrum needs for the Next Generation Radio for Rail System and propose appropriate solutions

The committee continues to maintain the GSM-R (GSM™ for railways) standard, enhancing it with new features specific to the railway environment, including data and voice communications at very high speeds. During the year we published a revision to our Technical Specification [TS 103 389] on the use of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for GSM-R voice recording. We also revised our Technical Specification [TS 102 281] on detailed GSM-R requirements, collecting various 3GPP change requests.

Working closely with the rail industry in Europe and worldwide, we continue to liaise with 3GPP (SA1 and SA6) to define use cases and requirements for the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS), the successor to GSM-R.

In 2019 much of our work accordingly focused on the standardization of the Future Rail Mobile Communication System (FRMCS), where ETSI plays a major role in the technical assessment of user requirements and organizing the transition towards the corresponding 3GPP study (3GPP TR 22.889).

Ongoing challenges in this work include positioning aspects, train speed up to 500km/h and the integration of rail frequency spectra for the use of 3GPP radio technologies with a main focus on 5G NR.

In relation to FRMCS, work progressed on a new Technical Report (TR) addressing radio performance simulations of 5G New Radio (NR) in 900 MHz FDD and 1900 MHz TDD spectrum.

We published our study on system architecture for FRMCS as a Technical Report [TR 103 459]. Meanwhile we revised our Technical Report  “Next Generation Communication System; Radio performance simulations and evaluations in rail environment; Part 1: Long Term Evolution (LTE)”  [TR 103 554-1] to include 3 MHz and 5 MHz channel bandwidths in the 900 MHz band.

Work progressed in cooperation with TC ITS on Road ITS and Urban Rail applications in the 5.9 GHz frequency band. A Technical Report [TR 103 580] for the extension of the 5.9 GHz band for safety-related Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) was published in August. The report identifies two solutions:

  • Read-only database combined with alert beacons
  • Updateable database combined with optional permissive beacons

A new Work Item was adopted on the use of IP for interconnection of GSM-R networks that will form the basis of a new Technical Specification.

2019 saw the establishment of a partnership with Shift2Rail. The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking is a body of the European Union, providing a platform for key stakeholders in the European rail system to drive innovation by implementing a comprehensive and coordinated research.

Look out for in 2020 - TC RT Work in progress

  • Technical Specification (TS) on use of IP for interconnection of GSM-R networks
  • Technical Report (TR) on Next Generation Communication System; Part 2: New Radio (NR) radio performance simulations and evaluations in rail environment
  • TR on Urban Rail ITS and Road ITS applications in 5,9 GHz; measurement campaign to confirm simulation parameters to define Urban Rail ITS protected zones in 5 915 – 5 925 MHz
  • Revision to TR on Next Generation Communication System; Radio performance simulations and evaluations in rail environment; Part 1: Long Term Evolution (LTE)
  • Revision to TR on FRMCS architecture, including mapping of applications and use cases to required system functions; gap analysis and mapping of FRMCS building blocks to 3GPP building blocks and possible network functions/elements
  • Revision to TR on Urban Rail ITS & Road ITS applications in 5,9 GHz band - further study of main detection methods