LTE und der Weg zu 5G
At the heart of the Nokia LTE family is the Flexi Multiradio 10 base station. This is the world’s smallest high-capacity, software-defined, multi-technology base station and the small cells it can provide result in easily scalable, cost-effective capacity. The base stations can be deployed stand-alone or to create a zone covered by a cluster of low-powered access points connected to a local controller.
In 2016, Nokia launched its next generation AirScale Radio Access solution. This is an entirely new way to build radio access networks using any architecture topology to deliver services with unlimited capacity scaling and market-leading latency and connectivity. The solution supports all radio access technologies – 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and with Wi-Fi integrated – all of which can be run simultaneously in the base station.
So, what about the role of 5G in railway communication?
There are many in the industry talking about the huge benefits that 5G technology offers for rail, especially in the area of efficient connected rail, the Internet of Things and service management. Other promises of 5G cover the huge capacity gain and the extremely low latency – which can be expected to be initially deployed in 2020 after finalisation of the definition and standardisation phase.
Nokia’s view, however, is that LTE can already deliver today the requirements for efficient train operation and enhanced travel experience, and therefore LTE is the right choice and a futureproof investment for railway operators.
LTE can fully cover the typical narrowband services, like IoT, that are primarily applicable to rail operators, while the definition of 5G is targeted for wider-spectrum use. In the future, 5G, Wi-Fi, satellite or other technologies may play a complementary role for boosting capacity for specific situations on top of LTE with extremely high bandwidth requirements, but these are likely to be far more than railways require.
Another important factor for the technology selection is the available dedicated frequency spectrum for rail operators, which will certainly be defined rather in the narrow band area of below 10MHz than in higher bands of 5G. Even if the higher bands of 5G were used for rail, there would have to be far more radio sites than are used for GSM-R.
However, as Nokia is simultaneously at the forefront of the LTE market and leading the definition of 5G technology, it is well placed to support the rail industry, whichever evolution path it travels down to replace GSM-R. With more than 30 years of experience in the sector, and the most complete portfolio of products and services, Nokia is the market leader in GSM-R, with over 80 mission-critical railway networks deployed around the world.
Rail Engineer looks forward to reporting more on the exciting technology Nokia has available for rail in the next few months. This includes how the railways extensive copper cable network could be used to deliver high bandwidth IP links trackside, using equipment that already connects 10 million homes worldwide to the internet.