projects spotlight

Clear Cincom telecom Projects with ProRail

CRP Overviews for cloud based RF reporting

Clear CinCom has delivered an updated version of CRP Overviews to its client ProRail, the Dutch GSM-R operator. CRP Overviews is a cloud-based software solution for reporting on RF analysis, allowing clients of Clear CinCom to interactively analyze reports and recommendations produced by Clear CinCom, using a combination of interactive maps, data tables and reports. Clear CinCom decided to produce CRP Overviews as an addition to its proprietary Weak Spot Analysis software, because it found its clients preferred interactive data sets over static printed reports and PDF documents, as they are available much quicker and can be explored in different ways. The cloud-based software was produced in-house by Clear CinCom with its development partners based on a number of client requests; it offers new and innovative ways to unlock data sets, insights and recommendations. Positive client feedback made Clear CinCom to continue developing and strengthening the application with the ambition to further increase its lead as an innovator in the space of interactive RF reporting tools.

Weak Spot Analysis of radio access network

Clear CinCom has been a partner of the Dutch railway operator ProRail for many years. In this project, our assignment was to identify weak spots in the radio access network in Northern region of The Netherlands. ProRail wanted an independent verification of their network performance against new set of specifications and wanted to map areas where a need for network improvement was required.

Subset093 EoG Packet Switched performance measurements

Clear CinCom has supported Dutch GSM-R railway operator ProRail collecting EoG (ETCS over [E]GPRS) packet switched performance data with the objective to verify the KPI targets as specified in the draft Subset093 document. The measurements were conducted in accordance with the draft O-2475 packet switched test specification in a GSM-R network supporting both GPRS and EDGE. For this assignment Clear CinCom has developed a bespoke RF QoS measurement application, consisting of a mobile client for the train born side and a fixed server as a land-side unit. The two entities measured the following packet switched KPIs as detailed in the draft Subset093 and O-2475 specifications: PS mode service setup (PS-SS), Network Registration Delay (NRD), Attach Delay (GPRS-AD), PDP Context Activation Delay (PDP-CAD), Transaction Transfer Delay (TTD) and ETCS DNS Look-up Delay (ETCS-DLD).

Audit Nominal Cell Plan GSM-R in Northern Netherlands

Clear CinCom has performed an audit of the GSM-R Nominal Cell Plan (NCP) for the northern part of the Netherlands stretching a network section of about 600km. The audit was performed for the Dutch railway infrastructure operator ProRail whereby Clear CinCom was asked to assess the design as independent and neutral engineering entity. The NCP was produced by a subcontractor of ProRail. Clear CinCom used a prediction model for forecasting the path loss between the GSM-R transmitter and receiver based on a variety of metrics and conditions with the objective the validate the design of each GSM-R site as part of the NCP. Path loss could be predicted with a very high level of accuracy, thanks to the integration of the CrossWave prediction model (which was developed by Orange Labs and recently acquired by Clear CinCom) with the Atoll planning tool by Forsk. To further improve the quality of the audit, open-source Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and Morphology data, with an original resolution up to 50cm, as provided by the Dutch government was used. The company Object Vision, under the direction of Clear CinCom, prepared a number of scripts and algorithms that converted the open source geo-data into DTM, Morphology and 3D vector data for use with the CrossWave prediction model as part of the Atoll RF planning tool. Based on previously acquired continuous wave measurement data, the CrossWave prediction model was optimized to match with the local land use conditions. The radio network planners at Clear CinCom have specific attention for using the correct antenna pattern and settings to minimize the far-field pollution. Based on the performance of the live network (since 2003), changes were advised to improve the design such that it would be more robust for future expansion and operation.

Verification of indoor cell performance Amsterdam central station

The passenger information panels in Amsterdam’s central station communicate with the GSM-R network using an inbuild IP modem. Dutch railway operator ProRail suspected that their performance with the network was compromised, leading to interruptions in the information stream. Clear CinCom conducted a series of test and verified the network performance with the objective to provide the necessary insight.

Verification of GSM-R and Tetra performance new central station Tilburg

As the city of Tilburg (Netherlands) build a new, modern railway station, Clear CinCom was asked to perform a radio network verification to give insight in the radio network performance on the location of the new station. Our report was used by a third party vendor to create a network design that fully guarantees adequate GSM-R and TETRA network performance.

Delivery and installation of Comtest Wireless NetAnalyzer post-processing platform

Clear CinCom works in close association with Comtest Wireless as their Benelux vendor of – among other products – the software tool NetAnalyzer3. NetAnalyzer3, as part of the NetProbe ERTMS monitoring platform, is used for post processing of the data acquired in radio access network. Clear CinCom took care of the installation of configuration of the NetAnalyzer platform which allowed ProRail eventually to use a predefined set of analyses to visualize measurement data on maps, graphs and tables. This enables ProRail and their subcontractors to gain insight in the performance of their network. While Clear CinCom has ample experience with the NetAnalyzer software, this was the first time we installed a setup for a third party. The setup allows ProRail and their vendors – including Clear CinCom – to continuously feed the NetAnalyzer setup with new data on a regular basis, allowing ProRail to do make trend analyses and historical comparisons.

Nation-wide radio access performance measurement campaign

The object of this project was to establish a performance baseline prior to the upgrade of the GSM-R radio access system. This allowed Dutch railway operator ProRail to compare the “before and after” performance after a third-party vendor installed a new generation of BTS equipment that upgraded the network to full IP-based, in line with new and stricter regulations as stipulated in the latest Subset093 and O-2475 specifications. Clear CinCom conducted a series of one time measurements at various locations along the track, mainly Subset093 performance measurements, with both circuit switched and packet switched setups.

EoG radio access traffic dimensioning Utrecht

Railway operators throughout Europe and beyond are preparing for the rollout of ERTMS and the new IP-based standard for railway communications, the successor to the circuit switch based ETCS network. Clear CinCom contributed to the roadmap of ERTMS by conducting a desktop study into GSM-R coverage and carrier to interference ratio in the greater Utrecht area of The Netherlands. The propose was to investigate the required traffic dimensioning of the radio access interface – effectively calculating the capacity required per transmitter per traffic component source (data, voice, etc) to ensure optimal distribution of bandwidth. For this study, Clear CinCom relied heavily on the radio planning tool Atoll.

PLMN indoor availability verification Traffic Control Utrecht

The central dispatcher location of The Netherlands is located in Utrecht. When the dispatcher centre moved into a new building, Clear CinCom was asked by railway operator ProRail to verify the indoor availability of commercial telecom providers (PLMN) at the new location. ProRail uses commercial networks as a fall back in case of issues with the dedicated GSM-R network, and it was expected that the new building – which is a massive steel construction – might require a dedicate solution to improve indoor coverage.

Static PLMN interference measurements

One problem faced by railway operators is interference by commercial telecom operators, also called PLMN interference. At the request of Dutch railway operator ProRail, Clear CinCom conducted a number of static interference measurements on stations and along railway lines. This effectively meant installing a small mast and recording performance for a specific location, whereby we identify, characterize and report on possible sources of interference. Our reports are used by ProRail to negotiate with the public operators in order to mitigate the interference and ensure a correct functioning of the GSM-R network throughout the country. This is an ongoing project, where Clear CinCom steps in on an as-needed basis.

Verification of GSM-R and Tetra performance new central station Breda

As the city of Breda (Netherlands) renovated their wonderful railway station, Clear CinCom was asked to perform a radio network verification to sketch out the pre-renovation performance on the location. Third party vendor then used this data to create a network design that today guarantees the GSM-R and TETRA network performance at Breda station.

Dynamic PLMN interference measurements

To conduct dynamic radio network measurements (tests of GSM-R network performance in a train moving along the track at high speeds), Clear CinCom uses a dedicated testing train called MP Jules made available by Eurailscout. Our testing results give Dutch railway operator ProRail insight in the severity of possible interference, mostly the result of the emergence of the new 3G (UTMS) network in the 900MHz band and 4G (LTE) in the 800MHz band, as commercial telecom providers rolled out and expanded their networks. We found that the potential performance degradation was significantly more troublesome than initially anticipated. Because of our early measurements, ProRail could take measures ahead of time, including the renewal of radio modules in the rolling stock of NS, guaranteeing the proper functioning of the country’s GSM-R network.

Verification of GSM-R network performance Amsterdam Lelylaan station

The train station Amsterdam Lelylaan (Netherlands) was experiencing performance issues with their passenger information panels. Clear CinCom conducted a number of measurements that confirmed the issues, after which the service and maintenance company Mobirail took the appropriate steps to mitigate the problems identified by Clear CinCom.

Hanzelijn validated at 140km/hour

Clear CinCom is often engaged in the validation of existing networks to ensure compliance with the requirements set by governments and railway operators. In GSM-R, it is essential that communication is flawless along the entire route, even when moving at high speeds.

Clear CinCom has benchmarked the GSM-R network of the Dutch railway connection Hanzelijn, connecting the cites of Leystad, Dronten, Kampen and Zwolle. It found that all KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) were met. For this project, Clear CinCom used a Belgian testing train equipped with hardware and its own proprietary GSM-R benchmarking software.

InfoPlus measurements

Measurements at the larger train stations in The Netherlands, to ensure GSM-R coverage for the rollout of the new InfoPlus passenger information system.

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