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Huawei Delivers GSM-R Solution for Russia’s Railway in Sochi

May 16, 2014

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Moscow, Russia, May 15, 2014 –In late 2013, the Russian government launched the Sochi railway for an international winter sports event. Huawei, as a leader in the ICT industry and expert in Global Systems for Mobile Communications - Railway (GSM-R) networks for all network elements (NEs), provided a comprehensive and reliable GSM-R network for the Railway to support safe and efficient operations.

Building the Sochi Railway for an International Winter Sports Event in Sochi

To host a successful international sports event, the Russian government invested in constructing various facilities in Sochi. As the main mode of transport connecting the Krasnaya Polyana mountain cluster and the event’s dedicated facilities, building a railway was a top priority for the government.

Russian Railways, a state-owned joint-stock company was responsible for constructing the railway. The company is an experienced member of the transportation industry and oversees a network of approximately 85,200 kilometers of railroads. It provides services for more than 0.95 billion passengers and moves 1.2 billion tons of freight across eleven time zones each year.

Challenges of the Sochi Railway

One of the challenges of building the railway, which shuttles between Sochi and the snow-capped mountains of Krasnaya Polyana, was the construction of its railway communications system while its trains are travelling through hilly terrain in extremely low temperatures.

Before developing the system, there were a number of considerations. The Sochi railway adopted an advanced train control system that transmits train-ground information via a GSM-R-based network. Its trains also operated at high speeds, at an average speed of 180 kilometer per hour and a maximum speed of 400 km per hour, which led to complex requirements for network security and reliability. In addition, the construction period for the railway communications system was short as it needed to be operational before the start of the international event in 2014.

Huawei’s Solution: A Multi-site Co-cell Solution to Ensure High Levels of Network Security and Reliability

In response to the requirements of this project, Huawei leveraged its experience in GSM-R technology and built quantitative models to reflect the actual network environment, network architecture and device capabilities. As a result, Huawei developed a solution using the Huawei multi-site co-cell technology, which enables distributed base stations to share the same cell. The technology provides support for network reliability and service continuity throughout the railway line and meets network security requirements while traveling through tunnels, valleys and harsh weather conditions.

The solution enables hot backup for all NEs, including core network devices, through using a number of technologies including mobile switching center (MSC) server dual homing, geographically redundant base station controllers (BSC) and transceiver redundancy. The solution’s dedicated features and algorithms for high-speed scenarios were able to enhance service continuity during active and standby switchovers.

In addition, Huawei’s GSM-R network used a unified platform that enables a smooth transition to Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. The feature offers more reliable and diverse applications for the railway system.

After completing internal assessment tests, results indicated that the network solution was 99.999 percent reliable and after a month of rigorous interoperability testing, Huawei’s GSM-R wireless communications solution was selected by Russian Railways for the Sochi railway.

Huawei’s expertise in offering comprehensive end-to-end GSM-R solutions for the railway industry has been accumulated from its success in various challenging projects. The company has also made significant investments in the development of wireless network devices and technologies over the last two decades. Apart from the Sochi railway, Huawei’s GSM-R solutions has been adopted by a number of passenger and freight railroads including the Eskisehir, Kutahya and Balıkesir line in Turkey, UGL Rail in Australia and the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link in China.

The Sochi Railway Helps to Boost Local Economy

Launched at the end of 2013, the Sochi railway operated more than 80 trains during the international winter sports event, and more than 14,000 passengers travelled across the event venues every day.

Since the launch of the railway, Sochi has enhanced its position as a tourist destination with its convenient transportation. The railway is expected to substantially boost tourism in Sochi will be a significant contributor to the development of the local economy.