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Key Challenges Extracted from the Shift2Rail Multi-annual Action Plan

Globally, current railway systems do not sufficiently take advantage of new technologies, such as high capacity wireless communication systems, but also satellite positioning and innovative real-time data collection and processing. The vision for the future of the railway, in the context of the Shift2Rail initiative [42], is to develop smart and fail-safe communication systems.

Adaptable Communications

The first objective is to specify an IP-based communication system, able to combine heterogeneous wireless technologies, such as LTE, Wi-Fi or satellite. Such systems have to be able to enhance throughput and safety-security features. They also have to be resilient to interferences and radio technology evolution. As presented in this chapter, key future technologies are the Cognitive Radio and the 5G wireless technologies.

The overall concept is then to develop technology-independent adaptable train-to- ground communication systems. Threats such as interference and cyber-attacks have to be taken into account in the design of the communication systems. Several key technologies have to be set up, such as 5G, SDN, NFV, KPI evaluation systems, SDR platforms, IP-based communication gateway able to perform bandwidth aggregation, dynamic spectrum allocation and mobility support (key components of the CR).

Given the current and fast evolutions of mobile wireless communication standards, such as the works regarding GSM-R evolution and the current standardization process of 5G technologies, it is necessary to develop a system able to successfully integrate a number of heterogeneous technologies and communication protocols into a single network in order to take advantage of the various deployments provided by external network operators and dedicated infrastructure. The objective is to shift from the “Network as a service” to “Network as an asset” model vision. CAPEX and OPEX can then be minimized. The migration can be performed by relying on middleware platforms for transparent switching radio components.

 
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