Sophia Antipolis, 3 July 2023

ETSI is starting today its 3rd FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System) Plugtestsā„¢ event. GSM-R is one of the main standards for railway telecommunication services. It is developed and maintained by the ETSI Technical Committee Railway Telecommunications. With the increased need for more throughput, higher capacity and flexible deployment options, FRMCS is being developed based on 3GPP Mission Critical Services.

Organized with the support of the European Commission (EC), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the Critical Communications Association (TCCA) and the Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC), the event is hosted by UIC in Paris, until 7 July 2023.

Interoperability and Mission Critical Services harmonization are critical challenges for the successful deployment and operation of Mobile Broadband based communication systems for various sectors, including Railways. The ETSI FRMCS Plugtests event is therefore essential to test independently and jointly all components of the Mobile Communication System for Railways. Railway-related test cases are available in the specification ETSI TS 103 564 and additional tests have been developed for this Plugtestsā„¢.

The testing sessions will validate the interoperability of a variety of implementations using different test scenarios based on the 3GPP Mission Critical Services framework with focus on the rail specific features. Before the main event, vendors integrated their Application server with 5G test network available at UIC HQ in Paris and performed remote pre-testing of their implementations via ETSI VPN hub.

Based on 3GPP, ETSI and IETF standards, tests are designed for the following equipment:

  • FRMCS capable MCX Application Servers (MCPTT, MCDATA, MCVIDEO)
  • FRMCS capable MCX Clients (MCPTT, MCDATA, MCVIDEO)
  • UEs and Cab Radios
  • eMBMS Components
  • IMS / SIP Cores
  • Consoles and Control Rooms
  • Test Equipment
  • RAN Equipment (5G)
  • Packet cores (5G)

On 5 and 6 July, an observer programme held onsite will bring together government bodies, mobile network operators, railway operators, users, agencies and regulators from Asia, the European continent, and the US to examine and discuss the progress of deployment and the challenges of FRMCS. The programme includes interoperability demonstrations of vendors solutions, coming from the whole value chain of railways to assess the relevance of the proposed use cases.