Making a Well-Founded Choice of the Wireless Technology for Train-to-Wayside Data Services

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Executive Summary

The provisioning of wireless data services in the railway environment will become increasingly important for train operators and train constructors in the upcoming years. A well-founded choice of the technology to be used for the outdoor network connection is investigated in this paper. Several wireless technologies - including HSPA, E-UTRA and WiMAX - are compared by calculating their wireless ranges for reception outside and inside trains, based on the location of the transceiver. These wireless ranges determine the number of base stations needed to cover a pre-defined area along a railway track. Results show that generally 3G (UMTS-HSPA) and 4G (E-UTRA/LTE) technologies offer the best coverage over a range of data rates, from 2 Mbps to 8 Mbps.

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