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GSM-R Solution Takes the Gold at Sochi

2015/4/3 0:00:00


The Joint Stock Company Russian Railways (Russian Railways) is the largest rail company in Russia and second largest in the world. It maintains a complete network of 52,969 mi. (85,245 km) of track spread across 11 time zones.

The company built the 96-mile (155 km) long Sochi High-Speed Rail Line for the 2014 Winter Olympics. When it opened at the end of 2013, it carried approximately 140,000 passengers per day. At the height of the games, more than 80 trains ran at 10-minute intervals and carried more than 1 million passengers.

The Sochi line uses the Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) for wireless communication for trains operating at up to 248 mph (400 km/h).


The Sochi line is Russia's first high-speed line running through extremely cold regions. Russian Railways built it to European Train Control System Level 2 (ETCS-2) GSM-R standards for communication between trains and control centers. Several unique factors posed challenges:

  • The extremely cold environment makes it difficult to build and maintain anything but the toughest communication equipment
  • With trains operating at up to 248 mph (400 km/h), reliability becomes an issue
  • An intense, compressed schedule required the project be completed well before the opening of the Winter Olympics


The demanding requirements and operating environment called for a GSM-R solution with several critical aspects.

Customized GSM-R

Based on mature GSM-R technology, Huawei built the digital model and finished network simulation by analyzing the real network environment, architecture, and device capabilities. The solution delivers 99.999% reliability on an in-depth reliability assessment.

Harsh environment

The line presented many environmental challenges, such as tunnels and valleys. Huawei designed it with distributed base stations located at multiple sites. The sites share the same cell (co-cell) technology to ensure network reliability and service continuity.

The solution also enables hot standby for all network equipment, including core network devices, using a variety of approaches, such as:

  • Mobile Switching Center (MSC) server dual homing
  • Base Station Controller (BSC) geographical redundancy
  • Transceiver redundancy
  • Dedicated features and algorithms for high-speed scenarios

End-to-end integration

Huawei’s delivery team did interoperability tests with several mainstream signal system vendors ahead of schedule. The tests ensured timely and reliable interoperation with signal and dispatch systems and dramatically shortened the time needed for project delivery.

Because of its robust delivery resources and 10-years of experience with rail projects, Huawei successfully delivered the project before the end of 2013, in plenty of time for the opening of the Olympics.


Huawei's GSM-R solution provided Russian Railways with a high-quality wireless communication network that lays a solid foundation for highly secure and efficient railway operation. The network uses a unified platform that supports a smooth evolution to an LTE network without new or modified hardware.

The Sochi High-Speed Rail line dramatically improves traffic conditions, enhances Sochi’s image as a tourist destination, and plays a significant role in developing the local economy.

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