technology

Products offered by Clear CinCom in cooperation with Comtest Wireless

Together with our partner Comtest Wireless, Clear CinCom offers a range of products for advanced GSM-R and ETCS testing, verifying, monitoring and optimizing:

Report, analyse, investigate and pinpoint telecom and signalling issues

Comtest solutions test and measure GSM-R and ERTMS signalling performance, so operators can use the combined data to determine trends and identify issues.

The GSM-R environment

Telecoms and signalling issues impacting rail costs and safety, need troubleshooting and regular network quality assessments. GSM-R environments are technically complex with many challenges and requirements, including:

Comtest NetProbe Combined Monitoring

A uniquely powerful and comprehensive processing platform that allows users to collect, compile and analyse real-time telecom and signalling data.  Railway telecom and signalling connectivity and integrity needs to be continuous. The ideal combined testing and monitoring solution requires on-board diagnostics to actively monitor high-speed and conventional lines and trackside (passive) monitoring solutions, especially where ETCS L2 is operational. This means signalling and telecoms failures can be sourced and identified, using a common platform to process, analyse and report on the data. NetProbe Combined Monitoring provides an in-depth view of:

The Comtest GSM-R Combined Monitoring Solution delivers:

Features

NetProbe Combined Monitoring provides state-of-the-art technology and services delivered by experts Features include:

Reporting tools

Powerful reporting tools that can be configured to deliver a variety of reports. The tools provide a customer friendly GUI interface and automatic scheduling.

Benefits of working with Clear CinCom and Comtest

Based on proven deployments in several countries, Clear CinCom and Comtest deliver solutions to provide a uniquely powerful and comprehensive service, by aggregating multiple data sources. NetProbe Combined Monitoring provides an in-depth view of:

A range of solutions are available, to suit the needs of different customer types, including: rail operators, signalling operators and vendors, telecom vendors and railway communication system integrators. These can be customised to meet local and industry requirements and our team is highly experienced at designing and delivering practical solutions.

Monitor and identify GSM-R interference

Comtest provides the hardware and software to monitor GSM-R networks and equipment, to identify and prevent failures in quality of service caused by interference.

GSM-R and 4G/LTE interference

Interference can cause issues and failures in GSM-R voice and data communication. Drivers, dispatchers, shunting team members, train engineers and station controllers use GSM-R for many types of communication. These include: group calls (VGCS), voice broadcast (VBS), location-based connections, and call pre-emption, in the case of an emergency. Interference in GSM-R networks are also used to transmit data between trains and railway regulation centres with ETCS level 2 and 3. When the train passes over a Eurobalise, it communicates its new position and speed, and receives back an agreement (or disagreement) to enter the next track and its new maximum speed. Interference in the GSM-R network causes ETCS disturbances and failures such as, random emergency braking because of the lost communications.

The introduction of 4G/LTE mobile communication can cause interference because the new frequency bands are close to the GSM-R bands. As well as the close proximity issues, any alterations to signal strength by the mobile operators can cause also interference.

Comtest NetProbe Interference Monitoring

A full hardware and software solution to test and measure quality of service, and identify interference issues on GSM-R networks. Comtest solutions measure the RF coverage along the GSM-R network using high quality receivers and scanners, which support technologies from multiple suppliers. GSM-R operators then use the state of the art NetProbe software to measure and analyse the data collected from the hardware devices. Comtest NetProbe Interference Monitoring delivers software and hardware to enable customers to collect data and monitor for interference in GSM-R network communications on the track and trackside as well as on trains and at stations.

Features

NetProbe Interference Monitoring provides state-of-the-art technology and services. Features include:

Reporting tools

Powerful reporting tools that can be configured to deliver a variety of reports. Based on proven deployments in several countries, Clear CinCom and Comtest deliver solutions to provide a uniquely powerful and comprehensive service, by aggregating multiple data sources. The NetProbe Interference Monitoring offers:

Interference solutions can be configured or customised to meet local and industry requirements. The team is highly experienced at designing and delivering practical solutions.

Collect and analyse GSM-R data

Comtest solutions enable rail operators and GSM-R equipment vendors to actively test and measure network performance, using drive-test and unattended systems.

The GSM-R environment

Telecoms and signalling issues that impact rail costs and safety, need troubleshooting and regular network quality assessments. GSM-R environments are technically complex with many challenges and requirements, including:

Comtest NetProbe Active Monitoring

A range of services and technology to enable customers to collect, compile, analyse data variables. Using test trains, trains in normal service and unattended systems, data on time, train geo-location and radio message events can be initiated, collected and collated, as single events or as part of a regular schedule. Comtest NetProbe Active Monitoring delivers:

Features

NetProbe Active Monitoring provide state-of-the-art technology and services.

Features include:

Reporting tools

Powerful reporting tools that can be configured to deliver a variety of reports.

Benefits of working with Clear CinCom and Comtest

Based on proven deployments in several countries, Clear CinCom and Comtest deliver solutions to provide a uniquely powerful and comprehensive service, by aggregating multiple data sources. The NetProbe Active Monitoring offers:

A range of solutions are available, to suit the needs of different customer types, including: rail operators, signalling operators and vendors, telecom vendors and railway communication system integrators. These can be customised to meet local and industry requirements and our team is highly experienced at designing and delivering practical solutions.

Process and analyse true end-to-end ERTMS transactions

Comtest solutions enable operators and equipment vendors to test and measure ERTMS, GSM-R and interlocking networks for true end-to-end signalling performance.

The ERTMS environment

Signalling networks need to be monitored, managed and maintained. ERTMS networks are complex environments that present many monitoring challenges and issues, including:

Comtest NetProbe Passive Monitoring

A range of services and technology to enable customers to collect, compile, analyse and investigate telecom and signalling statuses and issues. Using scanners, responder units and other monitoring hardware, NetProbe passive monitoring enables signalling data streams from the trackside and on-board units to be collected in real-time from a wide variety of network and train equipment. Comtest NetProbe Passive Monitoring delivers:

Features

NetProbe Passive Monitoring Solutions provide state-of-the-art technology and services. Hardware and software features include:

Reporting tools

Comtest’s powerful reporting tools can be configured to deliver a variety of reports. They can be customised on request.

Benefits of Working with Clear CinCom and Comtest

Based on proven deployments in several countries, Clear CinCom and Comtest deliver solutions to provide a uniquely powerful and comprehensive service, by aggregating multiple data sources.
NetProbe Passive Monitoring offers:

The Next Step

Clear CinCom is there to support you throughout the project lifecycle.
We can advise and create the initial requirement designs, starting from the formal specification, through to project management, and the delivery and support of the solution – including providing the training and maintaining the equipment.

 

Project description

Since 1998, Dutch railway infrastructure manager ProRail has been working on the establishment of a high-speed railway connection that allows passengers to travel from the heart of Amsterdam to the centre of Paris in a little over three hours, passing through Rotterdam and Brussels. The Netherlands, on the whole, has an efficient railway system but this is the first connection of this country to the European network of high-speed trains. At its peak, the HSL-Zuid (as the train is called in Dutch) will move with speeds over 330 kilometers per hour. In order to ensure safety, the railways in most European countries use a harmonised system called ETCS. This is an application that runs on top of a GSM-Rail (GSM-R) wireless network infrastructure. For safety as well as for service, a flawlessly functioning GSM-R system is a necessity.

European rail large The journeys starts in Amsterdam's central station

Partners involved

As with any project of this magnitude, a number of firms are involved. The superstructure of the railway is built by a consortium named Infraspeed, consisting of constructor firm BAM (Netherlands) and the technology firms Siemens AG (Germany) and Fluor Daniel (United States). While ProRail is the owner of the GSM-R frequency license and thus the official operator of the GSM-R network in The Netherlands, another consortium was brought to life for the actual roll-out of the wireless infrastructure. This consortium is called Mobirail and it combines the expertise of KPN Telecom with that of Siemens.

European rail2 large A two dimensional representation of a nominal radio network plan in the network planning software

Requirements

The Dutch government imposes strict requirements on virtually every element of the high-speed train connection. This is in order to ensure safety and railway efficiency. To make the communication infrastructure fully compliant, the Mobirail consortium hired a specialised firm to plan (design and rollout), verify and optimise the GSM-R network. This specialised company is Clear CinCom.

European rail3 large For GSM-R, a stable Quality of Service on station platforms is important, especially when the passenger information system is connected to the GSM-R network

Step 1: Planning

The first step in the process of rolling out the GSM-R network is for the radio planners at Clear CinCom to translate the government imposed requirements to design criteria. One requirement was that travellers may only be minimally distracted by infrastructural objects outside of the train. Thus, the number of pylons used should be minimal. This implies that the distance between transmitter and receiver should be maximal. At the same time, safety requirements call for the network to have a high level of redundancy. Other requirements were put down to ensuring efficiency and a high level of customer satisfaction, guaranteed by high quality on-board information systems. Moreover, optimal voice communication should be available to both maintenance and railway personnel. Clear CinCom combined these (often contradictory) requirements into an initial cell plan or nominal network design.

European rail4 large An official testing train as used by Clear CinCom

Step 2: Verification

Secondly, the drive test team of Clear CinCom went out to establish continuous wave measurements. A special car equipped with a mobile test transmitter and receiver was used to determine the optimal placement of the pylons. After this verification, the nominal cell plan was translated into the final cell plan. This plan consisted of recommendations concerning the placement and the height of the pylons, the azimuth of the antennas, the type of antennas to be used and their vertical inclination (tilt), the initial output of the transmitters and the number of carrier units they should contain. This latter specification determines how many simultaneous connections can be made. In this case, the requirement called for 120 guaranteed ETCS-connections for security and 80 voice connections for communications at any one time, distributed equally along the line. Considering the small frequency range that GSM-Rail is to work with (in this case the 921 to 925MHz frequency band), this is a relatively high quantity. Should we add the fact that this new network had to be integrated into the existing GSM-R network covering the normal speed lines, then and it becomes clear how this posed an interesting challenge to the Clear CinCom-team. Modern verification equipment combined with the expertise of Clear CinCom allowed for the final network plan to be fully compliant with all the requirements while using only three carrier units at each location.

Step 3: Optimisation

Once the network had been set up, Clear CinCom was asked to optimise the system. To this end, a special test train equipped with measuring tools was used in order to calculate optimal settings at low and high speeds. From this test train, the Quality of Service parameters were compared with the requirements put forth by the government. The Clear CinCom optimisation report contained suggested changes to the BSS-parameters of the Base Station Controllers (BSCs). Since the planning had been done carefully, almost no additional hardware adjustments were necessary.

Result

By the end of 2007, the GSM-R network proved compliancy with the specified requirements enabling ETCS trains to safely run at high speeds. The dimensioned speed of the train is 250km/h however the Clear CinCom design was successfully tested to a speed of 330km/h.

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+31 24 8080106

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