A Modern Digital Symphony in an Ancient City
The annual Prague Spring International Music Festival is one of the biggest cultural events in Czech and also one of the most important music festivals worldwide. Each year, prestigious musicians, symphony orchestras, and chamber orchestras gather here to share their love of music, and their performances resonate with music lovers of all kinds across the world.
Most of the fans choose public transportation, especially metros, during their stay on this land full of cultural heritages. But here is a little-known fact: While enjoying the beautiful classical music in Prague, the fans are also experiencing a digital symphony composed by Huawei and the Prague Public Transport Company (DPP).
Burdens on Prague’s Metro Network
DPP, founded on September 1, 1897, has been providing high quality services to Prague citizens and tourists since its debut.
Metros serve as the backbone of the entire public transportation system in Prague. To avoid the bustling traffic in the downtown area, more citizens choose to travel by subway. DPP has 61 stations on three lines (A, B and C) with a total length of 65.2 kilometers. Commuters heavily rely on the Internet surfing as the best option to kill the long travel time. It has become a commonplace in the metro that people watch online entertainment videos like live concerts on their phones. However, their time-killer was faced with several challenges: Lack of free Wi-Fi coverage, slow 2G EDGE network access, unstable 4G signal, and restricted data service. The entertainment experience enabled by seamless connectivity was never enjoyed. Even worse was that websites could not be accessed sometimes. A foreign tourist once complained: “I was talking to a friend on a social media App about going to a concert together. However, when I stepped into the metro, the communication got constantly interrupted. That really spoiled our conversation.”
As part of the public infrastructure, metro network coverage should not only meet passengers’ daily needs for network, but should guarantee the metro safety, which is one of the most important considerations for DPP. Using the network to enable emergency communications and video security, the company can provide online traffic information, emergency alarm, and safety guidance to passengers anytime anywhere to ensure a safe and stable operation of the metro. Therefore, the stability of the network becomes exceptionally crucial. Taking into account these complex requirements, DPP chose Huawei to help build a brand-new metro network. Huawei’s one-stop ICT infrastructure and digital platforms outperform many competitors in terms of performance, reliability, and management. For instance, Huawei’s solution enables connectivity without single points of failure at stations covered by signals. It also provides high-density coverage and unified management of wired and wireless infrastructures and firewalls. Moreover, Huawei has a good track record in metro network deployments worldwide. All these advantages make Huawei an ideal partner for DPP to reinvent its metro network system.
Securing a Stable and Smooth Network
Network reliability is fundamental to high quality ICT service experiences. The high reliability of the network core layer is especially important. In the core layer of DPP’s metro network, Huawei uses its Agile Switch S12704, which offers the CSS2 technology, a switch fabric hardware clustering system that allows 1+N backup of Main Processing Units (MPUs). With this technology, as long as one MPU in any chassis of the system functions normally, the multi-chassis service can operate stably, greatly improving the reliability of the cluster system. Huawei also provides the lowest 4 μs cross-chassis delay in the industry, allowing smoother traffic forwarding across chassis and ensuring a stable, high-speed and uninterrupted network.
Providing High-density Network Coverage
To provide better network access in densely populated areas in the metro, Huawei recommends using AP6050DN/AP7050DN/AP7052DE. These APs are in compliance with the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard, support 4 x 4 MU-MIMO, and provide a rate of up to 2.53 Gbit/s. Of particular note is the smart antenna array technology adopted by the AP7052DE. This technology brings more accurate user perception, automatically suppresses interference, and greatly enhances users’ experience in using wireless networks. In terms of network deployment, Huawei uses the self-developed WLAN-based 3D network planning tool to cope with the 3D deployment space. Factors affecting network quality in a 3D space are considered to replicate the real world scenario, eliminating the errors made when using the traditional planning method under complex environments. Radio frequency (RF) interference between APs is avoided, ensuring a dead-zone-free coverage in the metro stations. Four high-density access technologies (low-speed terminal control, multi-user conflict control, multi-user access scheduling, and Airtime scheduling) are adopted to ensure high-speed network services in a high-density crowd scenario.
Simplifying Network O&M
An eSight platform efficiently manages the wired and wireless networks. Through the vertical virtualization technology of agile switches, Huawei virtualizes multiple devices (core, aggregation, access, and APs) into one logical device for simplified management. Access Switches (ASs) are visualized as cards of modular switches, and APs as ports, thereby unifying and simplifying the management of services, equipment and users. In this way, the administrator’s workload is reduced and O&M efficiency is greatly improved.
Huawei Wi-Fi has provided a high quality and convenient Internet access in public places, which has improved network security and user experience and delivered a new subway travel experience. According to an independent test, Metro Wi-Fi is crowned as the top transportation network in Prague (download speed is 117 Mbit/s, and upload speed is 68.1 Mbit/s, according to idnes.cz). With a stable and reliable network featured by efficient O&M, DPP will provide passengers with more and better services.
Martin Gillar, CEO of DPP, said: “Once connected to the Wi-Fi network, passengers will be informed about Prague online traffic information using their smart devices. This will allow DPP to immediately propagate the information on metro line transfer or safety instructions to passengers in case of any emergency.”
Digitalization is the first step in the long journey towards the ultimate goal of intelligentization. Huawei is looking forward to playing with DPP an even more beautiful symphony about intelligent transportation.