New technology and digital rail systems
As is the case with most modern industries, more and more new digitalised systems are being introduced to the railway infrastructure. However, some of newest systems now rely on the telecommunications wireless data network rather than GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway). The days of GSM-R (which uses 2G) appear to be numbered. Notably, the UIC’s FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System) is set to be the replacement for GSM-R, allowing for more advanced technology to be deployed using 5G mobile data. In this post we will be discussing the role that telecom Quality of Service (QoS) will play in this rail revolution.
Why is drive testing essential for new rail technologies?
Drive testing is essential if you need to prove that a new telco-reliant rail system is going to work as intended. The testing should be carried out in a manner that reflects the real-world scenario. For instance, there are several factors that impact the performance of a device using the telecom network, these include: weather, topography (e.g. buildings or cuttings), passenger load (network competition), and of course the chosen SIM (or eSIM) provider. You can see why we recommend that our surveys are carried out at peak and off-peak times across the entirety of the proposed lines.
How do Roscom carry out rail mobile network drive testing?
Roscom QoS network testing involves going from Point to Point passively and actively testing both the Mobile Network and the GNSS (e.g. GPS) for a variety of KPIs. Our QoS survey reports come loaded with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that we have created based on over 20 years of QoS radio network testing. These include independent validation of Signal Strength, Telecom Bearer Availability ie 2G, 3G 4G 5G, Network Registration, Data Service Availability, GNSS (GPS), & Data Download Measurements just to mention a few.
When is the best time to drive test, before or after deployment?
We advise that the best time to carry out QoS testing is before, during and after the introduction of new systems. This is often referred to as pre-RFS and post-RFS. With telecom, once assured does not mean always assured on this subject. This is because geographies change, telecom network infrastructure changes and so do the rail systems being implemented or used.
What drive testing do Roscom offer?
We offer short term audits and tailored testing across the rail network using our proven, reliable and trusted technology. Once agreed, our engineers work with the rail engineers to setup our low-intrusive equipment (no need to start drilling holes) and carry out the surveys.
We have been providing quality of service and network performance testing for government projects and major events for decades. If you have any questions at all then please Talk To Us.