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GSM-R Keeps High-Speed Railway Rolling

21/6/2556 15:39:00


The Turkish State Railroad Company (TSR) is Turkey’s national railway. Headquartered in Istanbul, TSR controls more than 7,400 mi. (12,000 km) of track, 8 passenger lines, 7 freight ports and has more than 32,000 employees. Each year, TSR carries more than 25 million tons of freight and 90 million passengers. TSR has 72% of Turkey’s railway market.


The EKB (Eskisehir, Kutahya and Balıkesir) line will decrease travel time between the major cities of Eskisehir, Kutahya, Afyon, and Balıkesir from the current 6 or 7 hours to 3 hours and 10 minutes. Huawei provided Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) systems on the project. The route posed some serious challenges with regard to the GSM-R portion of the project.

Radio coverage

Turkey has a complex topography with many plateaus and mountains. The EKB line winds 289 mi. (466 km) through 42 tunnels. Choosing suitable base station sites and dealing with a large number of tunnels posed a problem for radio coverage.


Because other vendors supplied the existing core network, TSR required Huawei to offer interoperable devices and peripherals (except for the signaling system) devices.

Network security

Some of TSR’s railway lines connect to Turkey’s neighbors, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. To ensure efficiency and security in these sometimes unstable areas, TSR required high network security.


Huawei offered an ETCS L2-compliant GSM-R solution with several key features.

Distributed Base Stations (DBS)

Huawei introduced an industry-unique Distributed Base Station (DBS) solution. It uses Remote Radio Unit (RRU) multi-site cell technology for improved Quality of Service (QoS) and to simplify site deployments and maximize radio coverage.


Huawei’s GSM-R solution efficiently interoperated with third-party peripherals and signaling systems from well-established vendors. For example, Frequentis’ railway dispatch and telephone systems, worked well with Funkwerk vehicle-mounted stations and Sierra Wireless handheld devices.

BTS ring network

In Huawei’s solution, a maximum of 5 Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) form a ring. An active and standby link are set up between BTSs and a Base Station Controller (BCS), preventing transmission links from the Single Point of Failure (SPoF) to increase security.


  • Devices from different vendors are fully interoperable with Huawei devices to lower initial investment
  • Improved DBS coverage and uninterrupted coverage through tunnels greatly improves service quality
  • Ability to operate with trains traveling at up to 267 mph (430 km/h) through tunnels and mountains
  • Better security using BTS ring technology
  • Fully industry-standard compliant equipment
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