Riding a bus or a train can be a great way to get where you're going, except for some obvious problems, particularly on long trips. It's no fun to be completely cut off from the outside world, except for what little of it you can see from your window. That's a point France's Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) and Nokia (News - Alert) are working together to change, having recently completed successful testing for LTE access technology using part of Paris Metro line 14 as the test bed.
With the completed trial, the duo showed that all train communications can actually be conducted via one LTE (News - Alert) network, a development that should simplify train access greatly as the current communications protocol calls for a combination of 4G, 3G, Wi-Fi, and digital radio signals. With the LTE testing, the system could not only accommodate train control functions, but also video on trains, voice communications coming to and from the train itself, various maintenance operations, and a multimedia information package for passengers.
Early testing was carried out by the Systeme Telecom pour les Transports Urbains du Future (SYSTUF) project, a project out to prove that one communications technology is sufficient to provide bandwidth to not only critical functions, but also non-critical functions, a projection which seems quite accurate given the tests.
Concluding the testing gives officials a solid base to work from in expanding 4G LTE expansions to the entire train line and beyond. This is necessary to establish the needed standards before making a wide-scale expansion effort.
It's unclear just how much stress testing there was. For example, was a load of passengers streaming YouTube (News - Alert) simulated? However, with one round of successful testing in hand, it may be safe to assume further testing should go at least passably well. The reason this is noteworthy is that typically even next generation networks have been purpose-built for verticals such as public safety and transportation. Hence, being able to use a public network for multiple for purposes is why this is considered an industry first and is going to get plenty of attention from other transportation authorities around the world.
Edited by Peter Bernstein