Wednesday 14 October 2009


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The ERIG #43 (ERIG - European Railways Radio Implementers Group) took place on 30 of September/1st of October 2009, in Bergen, Norway.

Representatives from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Great Britain, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, CER, EIM and ERA attended the meeting.

The ERIG meeting was preceded as usual by the statutory meetings of the related groups – GSM-R Functional Group (29 of August – Paris)) and GSM-R Operators Group (15-17 of September – Rome), TC RT (21-24 of July, Sophia Antipolis, France) where important issues on Change Request Process regarding the GSM-R Specifications and standards were dealt.

A GSM-R Frequency Working Group meeting took place in Paris – 11 of September 2009.

ERIG is the he forum where railways, involved in GSM-R implementation share information on progress and discuss associated issue. It is a channel for informing the members about the activities of the other GSM-R working groups as well as about new developments and requirements. ERIG forms the assembly of the European Railways having signed the GSM-R MoU.

Among the sum of subjects discussed in the meeting, the most important items where GPRS for ETCS, Frequency Interferences and possible new generation of the Railways mobile communication systems.

GPRS for ETCS – in September 2006, UIC has released the GPRS fro ETCS white papers. The Change Request (CR), enabling trains using both transmission systems – existing circuit switched and packet switched (GPRS) was submitted into the Change Request process. UNISIG – the ETCS suppliers association asked for the CR to be postponed until test results would prove that GPRS is suitable for the ETCS requirements. EEIG was asked end 2007 to organize a GPRS for ETCS feasibility study. In this study, UIC took the task to organize test campaigns in real mobility conditions, using GSM-R live networks.

Test campaigns where organized in Belgium and Italy – end 2008 beginning 2009, with the support of B-Holding and RFI.

The first series of tests showed generally a good behavior of GPRS. In a capacity test, on a very severe traffic model – mobiles emitting permanently, using only one isolated transmission, channel, 3 mobiles had a round trip delay inside Subset 093 transmission delay.

Work is still to be done; “ETCS like” tests in real mobility conditions, following a traffic model that is to be defined by UNISIG, where especially cell re selection is to be followed, behavior in very busy areas (from GPRS network usage point of view), and other specific tests were agreed in a dedicated Workshop, held by EEIG in 18 of September 2009. The target is to finalize this step end 2009, max on end Q1 2010.

Discussions with Belgium, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden have started to organize such a final test campaign.

GSM-R Interferences. – the attendants of the ERIG meeting took note of the fact that the expansion of the Mobile Public Operators using UMTS 900 becomes reality. In most of the operating networks several interferences points have been identified and they are constantly increasing.
In this context, UIC have applied for an ETSI special task force, where implications of the interferences cause by UMTS 900 will be studied, and measures like the limitation of the UMTS 900 out of band emission, revision of the cab radio blocking conditions and guidelines on Railways – Public Operators in railways neighborhood are candidates to be specified.
In parallel work on studying the filtering possibilities, ate least for the ETCS Data Only Radios (EDORs), as a short term solutions is programmed to start in vary short time.

New Railway Communication Systems – following the last year events in the public telecoms market, a new current, growing very strongly has been noticed. A new technology, that would include in the future all existing technologies, coming with new features, IP and Software Defined Based, called Long term Evolution (LTE) is seen as the most probable candidate for the 4th generation of Mobile Communications – 4G.

UIC have Released in 14 of September 2009 a dedicated Technical Report, currently under revision by the ERIG community and the GSM-R Infrastructure providers. The outcomes of the document were discussed.
The ERIG members decided that UIC will prepare a liaison statement towards 3GPP, stating the interest for the Railways on studying the possibility of having their application standardized in the LTE release.

A feasibility study will be launched. In parallel, a Working Group will start studying the existing and possible future Railways needs applications, to include them on the list that could be presented to 3GPP, in the first part of 2010.

As clear statements, GSM-R – as a GSM2+ Release 99 product - is declared to be supported until 2025. The actual investigations should not delay any network roll-outs waiting for a future long-term mobile radio technology, because neither the standardization nor the needed trials have been finished so far.

Instead it’s strongly recommended to decide for a 3GPP participation as soon as possible in order to bring in the Railway requirements into the standardization process of future mobile radio technology.

However first of all the GSM-R operators have to clarify their position regarding new technologies and new applications.

Next meeting will be on 8-9 of December, in Valenciennes, France, ERA premises.

For more information please contact
Dan Mandoc:

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Participants to the ERIG # 43 in Bergen