Samsung Electronics has launched South Korea's first LTE-Railway network on the 41km-long Busan Metro line 1, covering 40 stations in the region.

The Busan Transportation Corporation (BTS) teamed up with SK Telecom and Samsung to replace the existing analogue wireless technology used for mission critical railway operations with the new LTE-R solution. The parties have been testing the newly-adopted communication systems since February for final safety check-up. The test drive also included an interoperability test between onboard equipment on the metro and the LTE-R mobile device installed on the railway/train.

This is South Korea's first case of the LTE-R technology being used during operation of a train or metro.

Samsung_LTE-R (cr) Figure 1: Samsung rolls out first LTE-Railway network in Busan, South Korea. (Source: Samsung)

LTE-R was developed for the next-generation of mission-critical communication, which is essential for railway operation and maintenance. What sets 4G-based LTE-R apart from the incumbent analogue or 2G GSM-based technologies is that it can provide stable multimedia services. Compared to the one-to-one voice call service between the control centre, station employee and the train engineer that has been available so far, LTE-R technology enables multimedia-based group call/SMS services on top of the voice call service.

Samsung said the technology better equips rail operators in case of an accident because it transmits real-time video of the station to the central control centre. Additionally, real-time group/individual communication is made possible between the train engineer and control centre. The technology can also be used for mission critical communication that depends on high speed, security and stability because it is based on LTE technology, which carries features such as latency as low as 10ms and QoS management support, according to the company.

In January 2016, Samsung was selected as an end-to-end solution provider for the Korean government’s PS-LTE project, which includes virtualised core solutions, radio access systems and rugged-smartphones. Samsung also actively participates in interoperability tests to ensure seamless operation between analogue technologies such as TRS-ASTRO, TRS-TETRA, VHF and LTE-R, as well as PS-LTE.