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Deutsche Bahn ICE train running on Nortel GSM-R

Solution Brief – Nortel GSM-R

Move safely, quickly and without boundaries
The GSM-Railway (GSM-R) system has been developed under the European Union sponsorship to assist Railway Operators in achieving their goals of railway network interoperability, reduced operational costs, improved safety at higher speeds, and delivery of new services for the benefit of passengers and employees. GSM-R has already succeeded in demonstrating these values during the first implementations in Europe, and has now been chosen by operators in numerous countries around the world. Nortel has leveraged ten years of GSM-R R&D development and five years of GSM-R operations with the railway leaders in Europe to deliver the most advanced GSM-R solution. Our solution has been chosen in many countries, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Nortel GSM-R system is the only deployed system to be: > Proven with more than 3000 operational Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) across Europe > Fully compliant with the EIRENE (European Integrated Railway radio Enhanced Network) GSM-R standards > Certified by the European safety body > In commercial operation on a 300km/h high-speed line since August 2002 Nortel has been awarded the largest GSM-R networks in Europe, and has currently more than 60 percent market share1.

The benefits of a rapid move to GSM-R
Achieve significant maintenance cost savings (OPEX) from open-standards technology Using new standards-based GSM-R equipment, operators can realize a significant reduction in the number of BTSs required on the track side. Some existing GSM-R operators have reduced the number of base stations by a factor of four while doubling traffic resources as they move from analog to GSM-R. Standardized interfaces allow GSM-R networks to interoperate across borders, and enable operators to harmonize business and operational processes. GSM-R operators realize significant maintenance cost savings through benefits such as fewer BTSs required, improved operational effectiveness and dedicated functionalities such as shunting and train-to-ground communication.

1Market share calculated by Nortel, based on kilometers of railway tracks awarded to date.


Figure 1. GSM-R global adoption between 2000 and 2005

GSM-R projects in 2000 Expected GSM-R projects in 2005

E urope urope R ussia US China


A us tr alia

> Standardized interfaces allow
GSM-R networks to interoperate across borders


Minimize your up-front cost (CAPEX) through the re-use of mass market technology Since GSM-R is based on public GSM cellular technology, GSM-R mobile terminals are up to 50 percent less expensive than the competing Private Mobile Radio (PMR) technology. The price advantage applies as well to the GSM-R infrastructure where a significant portion of cost savings comes from the use of a mass-market product, fully adapted and suitable to the railway needs. This was obviously a decisive argument for choosing GSM as the best technology for building upon the new railway wireless communication standard. Implement a future-proof system, designed by railways for rail operation Continuing with the GSM approach, ETSI and EIRENE (European Integrated Railway radio Enhanced Network) have standardized all the specific GSM-R interfaces, creating an open and fully interoperable system at the international level (Figure 3). This has created a more competitive environment compared to previous analog technologies, driving significant cost savings for railway operators (Figure 4). GSM-R is designed by railways for railways with an open interface architecture integrated with system components from various manufacturers across the GSM-R market (Table 1). The GSM-R architecture is defined to allow easy integration of standard telecommunication equipment. New technology available on the public telecommunication market can easily be integrated without the need to develop proprietary solutions. This ensures capital security investment and a future-proof system that will grow with the telecommunication market.
Table 1. GSM-R: An open interface architecture supported by many GSM-R component manufacturers
GSM-R components Number of vendors for each component

Figure 2. Examples of GSM-R terminals: Handset and Cab-radio

Infrastructure Handhelds Cab radios Dispatcher terminals Network Management System Antennas

2 3 4 4 7 3

Improve safety for speeds up to 500km/h GSM-R provides railway operators and infrastructure owners with improved voice and data services specifically tailored for railway operation, allowing high-speed train operation of up to 500km/h with significantly improved safety. Introduction of GSM-R improves operational communication and helps to advance staff performance and enhance employee safety in day-to-day operation. GSM-R allows operators to operate more trains simultaneously, increase train speeds, reduce delays and enhance passenger services.


Figure 3. GSM-R Application Layers

Figure 4. Cost comparison between digital and analog technologies made on one high-speed line

1400000 1200000 1000000


800000 600000 400000 200000 0 ERTMS GSM-R/ETCS L2 TVM Analog system LZB Analog system
Source: European Commission

> GSM-R is designed by railways
for railways

Why select Nortel to support your GSM-R deployment?
The most advanced technology from the market leader
Figure 5. Nortel GSM-R footprint as of December 2003

Building on continued leadership in GSM-R technology, Nortel has been selected by the European railway leaders in Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Nortel has worked in close cooperation with Deutsche Bahn to improve GSM-R performance and products since the deployment began in 2000. The DB GSM-R network constitutes today’s largest and most advanced operational GSM-R network in the world with more than 2,200 BTSs on air. The size, the scope and the fast deployment of the German railway system has enabled Nortel to develop and maintain technical leadership in the European GSM-R market. Nortel GSM-R solution spans over 60 percent of the GSM-R market (Figure 5), based on kilometers of railway tracks awarded to date. As the number one supplier in the three largest railway markets in Europe (Germany, France, United Kingdom), Nortel plays a key role in setting GSM-R standards and driving the evolution of the GSM-R technology.

WCML / UK IVRS / UK • Infrastructure: Nortel DB / Germany • Infrastructure: Nortel • National Network, including high-speed lines
RFF / France • Infrastructure: Nortel • National Network, including high-speed lines

CHZ / Slovakia • Infrastructure: Nortel • International Corridor IV TAV / Italian High-Speed line • Infrastructure: Nortel • High-speed line Rome-Naples

Nortel Networks has 60% of the GSM-R market awarded to date

Anticipating the needs of railway operators
Nortel GSM-R global momentum
1996 Delivery of first GSM-R handset and BTS 1998 Member of GSM-R standardization group MORANE 1999 Deutsche Bahn GSM-R contract award in Germany 2000 Delivery of a fully-compliant GSM-R system 2000 WCML contract award in the UK 2000 Roma-Napoli GSM-R contract award in Italy 2002 First commercial GSM-R high-speed line 2002 Dispatcher network contract award with DB 2003 GSM-R contract award in Slovakia 2003 2000th operational BTS in Germany 2003 RFF GSM-R contract award in France 2003 First live European Train Control System Level 2 demo between Leipzig and Berlin carried by Nortel Networks GSM-R solution 2003 First to demonstrate shunting radio

Nortel has proven its ability to address the various needs of railways via the development of a complete portfolio of GSM-R platforms, a fully compliant system, and a full set of dedicated railway features directly based on the customer operational needs. Leveraging our extensive experience in railway telecommunications, Nortel has a number of key unique values which are demonstrated by our comprehensive GSM-R solution. Ability to address the unique customer needs based on a fully compliant system Specific demands that have not been envisioned in the frame of the GSM-R standards are seen every day on real networks. Nortel has built its Intelligent Network (IN) solution to enable railway operators to quickly and cost-effectively integrate their unique railway requirements while maintaining full compliance to the standards. Our IN solution has been extensively used by GSM-R customers to help implement specific operational constraints and procedures. Nortel delivered timely turnaround for specific features from design to implementation, while maintaining a time-to-market advantage for our customers. The table below provides features that are part of the Nortel Intelligent Network platform.
Table 2. Intelligent Network service enablers • Number-based call screening • Enhanced location services • External database integration • Location Barring (VPN)


One reason for building a railway telecommunication standard is to provide the largest choice of suppliers and solutions to the GSM-R users. This creates a multitude of existing configurations in railway networks and requires a lot of attention from the suppliers in order to deliver the service expected by the customer. The Nortel lab in Friedrichshafen, Germany is the only one of its kind to provide access to our customers and partners to unique GSM-R end-to-end integration capabilities and R&D expertise throughout the year. This enables the GSM-R operators to either test the compatibility of GSM-R with an existing system (dispatchers for instance), or to fully validate innovative GSM-R solutions before they go to the field. Best-in-class Quality of Service delivered by an advanced feature set for railways Trains running at speeds well above 300km/h demand the highest performance and flexibility from the radio system. For high-speed train operations, Nortel’s specially adapted radio algorithm allows high Quality of Service (QoS) voice and data communications. A set of features has been specially developed and successfully tested on the first GSM-R equipped high-speed line at speeds up to 350km/h.
Feature Application

Corner and Cutting Handover Management Automatic Handover Adaptation

Minimize time spent on network tuning in strong overlapping conditions combined with Tunnels or Cuttings Minimize transition time and improve Quality of Service by optimizing the handover decision algorithm based on the speed of the train Maintain quick call set-up time while handing over at high speed Optimized spectrum efficiency for voice calls to free up resources for data and ETCS

Fast Handover at Call Set-up Advanced Radio Allocator

Delivering industry-leading reliability in the marketplace Railway operation requires top reliability network components in conjunction with the shortest maintenance time. The GSM Mobile Switching Center (MSC), which is a key component of our GSM-R core, is based on the industry-leading DMS-MTX platform. This platform is noted as the most reliable switch in service for six consecutive years (1996-2001) according to the U.S. Automated Reporting Management Information System (ARMIS) Report from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Safety is top priority in the railway environment and Nortel continues to leverage our commitment and leadership in delivering carrier-grade solutions throughout our GSM-R portfolio.
Unique GSM-R integration expertise in the Nortel Friedrichshafen lab in Germany
• Dedicated GSM-R R&D experts • Independent GSM-R test beds • Unique GSM-R R&D integration lab— only one of its kind in the world • Open to Nortel customers and partners


Choose a proven solution that is helping to set the standards
Nortel, working in strong cooperation with the German Railways for several years, received the first EBC (Eisenbahn CERT, notified body interoperability) certificate in 2002 approving Nortel GSM-R solution end-to-end. Nortel received final EBC Certificates for all terminals in November 2003. Nortel infrastructure solution is endto-end EBC certified and is the only vendor to date fully compliant with the latest revision of EIRENE standards. In addition, Nortel wireless access business is also fully approved through ISO 9001:2000 and TL9000 certification. Europe’s first commercial high-speed GSM-R line is equipped with Nortel GSM-R solution. Best-in-class reliability characteristics of Nortel equipment have kept the GSM-R system on this line in full operation since August 2002, meeting all the reliability and stability expectations of the operator. For more information on our GSM-R solution, please contact your Nortel account representative or visit:

Nortel is the first vendor to receive end-to-end certification from the Eisenbahn CERT (EBC).


> Nortel, working in strong
cooperation with the German Railways for several years, received the first EBC certificate in 2002 approving Nortel’s GSM-R solution end-to-end.

In the United States: Nortel 35 Davis Drive Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 USA In Canada: Nortel 8200 Dixie Road, Suite 100 Brampton, Ontario L6T 5P6 Canada In Caribbean and Latin America: Nortel 1500 Concorde Terrace Sunrise, FL 33323 USA

In Europe: Nortel Maidenhead Office Park, Westacott Way Maidenhead Berkshire SL6 3QH UK In Asia Pacific: Nortel Level 5, 495 Victoria Avenue Chatswood, NSW 2067, Australia Phone: (61) 2 8870 5200 In Greater China: Nortel Sun Dong An Plaza, 138 Wang Fu Jing Street Beijing 100006, China Phone: (86) 10 6528 8877

Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that enhance the human experience, ignite and power global commerce, and secure and protect the world’s most critical information. Serving both service provider and enterprise customers, Nortel delivers innovative technology solutions encompassing end-to-end broadband, Voice over IP, multimedia services and applications, and wireless broadband designed to help people solve the world’s greatest challenges. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at For more information, contact your Nortel representative, or call 1-800-4 NORTEL or 1-800-466-7835 from anywhere in North America. This is the Way. This is Nortel, Nortel, the Nortel logo, and the Globemark are trademarks of Nortel Networks. All other trademarks are the property of their owners. Copyright © 2004 Nortel Networks. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Nortel assumes no responsibility for any errors that may appear in this document.

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