By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
Railways came into their own several hundred years ago thanks to England. But today, modern railways are being pioneered by China, which has plunged headlong into railway development as part of its rapid growth and evolution as an emerging superpower. And, as part of the deployment of its extensive next generation railroad network, Chinese railway operators are relying on dynamic next generation communications networks, to assure operational excellence and provide passengers a high-quality user experience.
When China began work on its new metro network in the city of Xi’an, home to the famous terracotta army, it wanted to ensure that it had both a cutting edge rail communications network for its operations and complete wireless coverage in stations for its passengers.
One significant challenge for the project was delivering multiservice capabilities that would work with all three major wireless providers:
- China Telecom which uses code division multiple access (CDMA)
- China Unicom, which employs Wideband CDMA (WCDMA) and Digital Cellular System at 1800 MHz (DCS-1800)
- China Mobile, which uses DCS-1800, time division-synchronous CDMA (TD-SCDMA) and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).
As highlighted in a recent case study, to make it work, the city of Xi’an partnered with Alcatel-Lucent. The wireless coverage the company deployed took advantage of a wideband solution that supports frequencies in the 600 MHz to 2.4 GHz range.
The solution is composed of point of interface (POI), tunnel and station coverage, with a centralized equipment room in each of the 17 metro stations to house the equipment of the mobile operators. The transmission network is based on two optical multiservice nodes. All of this serves as literally the engine for a stable and flexible network that services the entire metro area footprint of the railway and as detailed has enabled it to increase operational excellence and manage critical data more efficiently and effectively.
One element important in the deployment was upgrading the alarm monitoring and management systems. The equipment rooms needed to have a centralized alarm monitoring and management system to provide security.
The Alcatel-Lucent solution included alarms for all subsystems for the operation team, and included a database for alarm records as well. The alarms include power, temperature and humidity levels as well as communication alarms.
The end result exceeded the expectations of Chinese officials overseeing the project.
“We were impressed with Alcatel-Lucent’s ability to deliver an end-to-end solution, from conceptual design to turnkey delivery,” noted Jian Chang, chief engineer and project manager for communication systems on the Xi’an Metro Line 2. “Their ability and willingness to take the lead with local mobile operators, to make sure their concerns were addressed, was a bonus we did not expect.”