Positive Train Control Compliance Datasheet by Digi

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THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 1
THE FAST TRACK
TO POSITIVE TRAIN
CONTROL COMPLIANCE
THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 2
THE GROWING ROLE OF CELLULAR IN
MEETING THE PTC MANDATE
Whether it’s for passenger or freight, automated train
control has become a requirement for U.S. railroad
infrastructure, both in vehicles and waysides along
the thousands of miles of track that crisscross the
country. It’s the United States Congressional Positive
Train Control mandate, and it’s calling for operators to
deploy a range of onboard computers and navigation
equipment as well as systems to connect and control rail
traffic.
While there are exceptions, PTC is required for Class I
railroad main lines (lines that handle more than 5 million
gross tons annually) over which any toxic or hazardous
materials are transported, or railroad lines that carry
intercity commuters. Experts believe this will involve
60,000 miles of track and 20,000 locomotives.
PTC uses communication-based, processor-based train
control technology to automatically control train speeds
and movement if the operator does not or cannot take
appropriate action given the circumstances. PTC can
reliably and functionally prevent train-to-train collisions,
derailments caused by excessive speed, incursions into
a work zone, and switching errors. For example, PTC
can enforce a train to a stop before it passes a signal
displaying a stop indication, or before diverging on a
switch improperly lined, thereby averting a potential
collision.
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THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 3
GPS Cellular
220 MHz
Terrestrial/Fiber Network Backbone
RAIL-CERTIFIED
PERFORMANCE
Digi WR44 RR routers are the
industry choice for on-the-move
PTC deployments.
SIMPLE AND
SECURE CONTROL
Configure and monitor moving or
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Digi Remote Manager®
RIGHT-SIZE
CONNECTIVITY
Digi WR31 routers deliver reliable,
purpose-built wayside connectivity.
Digi routers are rugged and rail-ready for
a full range of positive train control, wayside
and in-transit connectivity solutions.
THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 4
RAIL COMMUNICATIONS AND CELLULAR
TECHNOLOGY
For decades, safe and efficient rail operations have
relied on cellular technology for voice and data
communications. It started with the GSM-R standard,
adopted in 1997, that replaced dozens of incompatible
analog systems across Europe. But in the U.S.,
interoperable communications only recently started
with the 220 MHz band. However, this has fallen short
due to incompatible radio protocols.1 What’s more,
Canada and Mexico do not use the 220 MHz band for rail
communications.
PTC communication networks must be secure,
fault tolerant and have no single point of failure.
For this reason, cellular technology is widely used
throughout North America as a backup to terrestrial/
fiber networks at fixed sites. Its other principle use is
for remote management of onboard systems. It also
provides a secondary path for train control messages
routed to/from the train control center, which are
transmitted primarily over the 220 MHz radios. The
broadband cellular link enables standards-based IP
communications, providing high speed and secure
connections for an expanding list of applications.
A worldwide effort is underway to standardize rail
communications based on emerging 5G cellular
specifications. There is a convergence of IT and radio, a
result of demand for mission-critical communications
that can deliver economies of scale similar to the
explosive growth seen in smartphones. The sections
below introduce rail communication systems, describe
cellular use in the U.S. today and how a new 5G system
might be deployed.
RAIL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM
REQUIREMENTS
Voice and data communications are critical to the
operation of a passenger-rail or freight network. For
train control, the key wireless performance requirements
are fundamentally low latency and dependable data. In
certain situations, control messages must be delivered
intact and in time, else the locomotive automatically
applies its brakes. Other more functional requirements
are derived from the structure of rail systems and
operations, and include:
Cybersecurity
Emergency group communications
Video transmission
Prioritized safety-critical applications
In the rail industry, dedicated frequency bands are
traditionally considered mandatory for low latency
and reliable data. Dedicated frequency is central to the
dominant Global System for Mobile Communications
- Railway (GSM-R) Standard deployed throughout
Europe, Asia, Australia and North Africa, which operates
without contention predominately in the 900 MHz band.
Similarly, in the U.S., 220 MHz has been the common
channel to enable PTC interoperability for passenger rail
and freight on shared tracks.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN RAIL
COMMUNICATIONS STANDARDS
The evolution of wireless communications technology
is enabling mission-critical services on shared spectrum.
The driving force behind these advances in global mobile
cellular standards including LTE and the next generation
5G is the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
This is a consortium of standards organizations from Asia,
Europe and North America, with participation from industry
associations around the world that create a consensus of
market-specific requirements.
1. Requirements for Positive Train Control 220 MHz Locomotive Radio Filter, Transportation Technology Center, Revision 4, Nov. 17, 2015.
THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 5
One such association, the International Union of Railways
(IUC), developed a specification for its Future Railway
Mobile Communications System (FRMCS)2 that will replace
GSM-R. The 3GPP Technical Study Group (TSG) SA1 is
working to identify gaps between the FRMCS requirements
and existing 3GPP functionality and expected 5G mission
critical services.3 Ideally, the FRMCS user requirements
will be covered within LTE standards. Where gaps exist,
functional architecture enhancements, new procedures
and information flows are to be suggested as candidates for
normative specifications. The FRMCS plan is to begin trials
of the new system by 2020 and deploy by 2022.4
RAIL APPLICATIONS OVER CELLULAR
A migration by forward-thinking rail operations to
broadband cellular networks is already underway.5
Early applications included wireless backup to terrestrial
networks at wayside facilities, a service traditionally
provided by point-to-point radio links. More recently,
cellular is enabling central office access to onboard
train control systems and as backup to primary 220 MHz
communications.
Other applications support passenger convenience,
safety and information. Onboard mobile access routers
equipped with Wi-Fi hotspot technology enable laptop
and tablet access to the internet. Security personnel
can also remotely access video surveillance systems
when ongoing incident assessment is warranted. And
passenger information systems provide entertainment,
news and commuter information such as availability of
scheduled transfers.
TRAIN CONTROL OVER CELLULAR
TOMORROW
FRMCS would leverage the 3GPP transport and
mission-critical services expected of 5G for rail
communications, enabling higher data rates, lower data
latencies, multimedia communication and improved
communication reliability.6 When complete, the system
would deliver the following capabilities:
Prioritized emergency group communication, train
control data and video service
Seamless cellular connectivity in high-speed railway
moving environments
Low latency and high reliable data and video service
Real-time train monitoring and management for safe
train operation
Reliable location tracking including tunnel conditions
Legacy railway communication interworking to
GSM-R system
The higher data rates of 5G are largely a result of
the increase in utilized spectrum. Unfortunately,
current GSM-R and PTC 220 MHz band allocations are
inadequate. In any case, those bands support mission-
critical systems and it is impractical to consider any
reauthorization. Therefore, either new dedicated
spectrum must be allocated or railroads must identify
suitable spectrum to share with other users. The latter
is now possible due to advances in mobile cellular
standards and related service offerings:
2. Future Railway Mobile Communication System User Requirements Specification, International Union of Railways, Version 3.0, Jan. 24, 2018. 3. GPP TR 23.790 - Study on application
architecture for the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS).
4. 3GPP news/events, “3GPP drives GSM-R to a new track” August 5, 2016.
5. http://www.progressiverailroading.com/csx_transportation/article/Railroad-communications-technology-from-
cellular-to-radio-to-satellite-to-Wi-Fi--30947
6. 3GPP TR 22.889 - Study on Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS).
DIGI.
THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 6
Network Slicing – An emerging 5G capability allows
multiple logical networks to be created on top of a
common shared physical infrastructure.7
Priority and Pre-emption – First introduced in 3GPP
Release 8 in 2008, it has become a top priority for
nationwide deployment on the major U.S. networks.
Public Safety Broadband Network – Commuter
rail operators could be authorized to use the FirstNet
service and obtain access to the 20 MHz PSBN band.
FIVE THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR PTC
COMMUNICATIONS
Network Performance and Resilience - In modern
PTC deployments broadband cellular can provide and
backup primary two-way connectivity among trains,
wayside stations and rail operations. This supports far
more sophisticated controls and information feeds
than narrowband 220 MHz. As cell networks continue
to advance, rail operators will benefit from priority and
pre-emption to ensure their urgent messages are not
delayed.
Rugged Devices – Trains and rail yards present
challenging environments for deploying
communications devices. It is essential for the cell
modem to have ruggedized housing and withstand
shock, vibration, temperature and humidity extremes.
Long Life – Rail operators don’t have the time or
money to spend on repairs, replacements or upgrades.
The connectivity solution must offer power-efficient,
low-cost operation. What’s more, the solution should
offer a long product lifecycle to minimize disruptions
and changes to operations and infrastructure.
Security – The device must have built-in-protocols
and methods to support:
Encryption – Prevent unauthorized snooping
Message Integrity – Ensure packets aren’t
tampered with in transit
Authentication – Verify the message is from the
proper, valid source
7. https://www.gsma.com/futurenetworks/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/GSMA-An-Introduction-to-Network-Slicing.pdf
DIGI,
THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 7
THE DIGI TRANSPORT CELLULAR
ROUTER FOR RAIL SYSTEMS
When you’re looking for the connectivity infrastructure
for Positive Train Control, the Digi TransPort® WR44 RR
is an ideal choice. This rugged enterprise-class cellular
router offers rail industry certification, versatility, security
features and performance.
Digi TransPort WR44 RR provides a reliable high-speed
cellular network connection. It features a flexible
communications design with 3G/4G multi-carrier cellular,
plus integrated Wi-Fi ac/b/g/n; a/c access point or client;
serial and four-port Ethernet switch. It also features full
on-board train certifications, including AAR S-9401 and
EN50155. Communications interfaces include hardened
connectors, specifically M12 for Ethernet and serial, as
well as TNC connectors for antennas.
Digi management solutions provide easy setup,
configuration and maintenance of large installations of
remote Digi TransPort devices. Digi Remote Manager®
offers web-based device management for remote Digi
cellular routers, gateways and third-party devices. With the
Digi TransPort WR44 RR cellular router, you benefit from:
Security to ensure data integrity and protect against
misuse and attack
Management of the router that’s reliable, flexible,
intuitive and scalable to support even the largest fleets
Performance to maintain the fastest connections with
the highest availability
Versatility to accommodate the complexities of
today’s many types of IP systems and devices
Agility to support multiple carrier networks and future
wireless standards
DIGIE
THE FAST TRACK TO POSITIVE TRAIN CONTROL COMPLIANCE 8
CONTACT A DIGI EXPERT AND GET STARTED TODAY
PH: 877-912-3444
www.digi.com
Digi International
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Suite 700
Hopkins, MN 55343
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+49-89-540-428-0
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CONCLUSION
As the PTC mandate takes hold, cellular communications
can play a central role in enabling an effective
connectivity infrastructure. For more information, visit
www.digi.com/PTC.

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