Why Wait around for 5G? The Challenges of Railway Connectivity – Solved – These days (Section 2)

Stephen Speirs – December 4, 2017 – Opinions

Not too long ago I blogged about how Cisco are doing work with ScotRail (the practice operator) and Network Rail Telecom (the track operator) in Scotland to provide a trial of the world’s speediest in-practice WiFi, an evolution of operate completed previously on “Project SWIFT”.  I also described a faculty of believed that suggests the trouble of railway passenger connectivity is ideal solved with 5G – some thing that was prompt in fact in the British isles Industrial System produced previously this 7 days.  While there is no query that 5G technologies can enable, why wait until eventually (arguably) 2025 to resolve this trouble when Cisco has made a massive step ahead currently?  Let me, then, give some background on the difficulties we’ve get over to provide this connectivity step-adjust currently. I will also supply a issue-of-perspective on how strategic this project could be for not only Scotland, but the British isles as a full, together with in the race to 5G.


Building It Transpire

You may be thinking – “Why hasn’t any one completed this in advance of?”, as I was asked at a current evaluate assembly.  There are a amount of causes – individuals and knowledge, method, and technological innovation.

People today, Interactions & Skills

My transient description in previous week’s blog site does a complete injustice to the expenditure that Cisco – both equally financially and in people’s time (together with important knowledge from my colleagues in Cisco Solutions) –has made in bringing this to lifestyle.

We’ve developed superb associations across ScotRail and Network Rail – it has to be claimed that the team in both equally organizations, coupled with the collaborative surroundings we have uncovered in Scotland, are the essential causes why we’ve made these fast progress in the direction of the are living trial.


The difficulties of managing community data website traffic about the security critical infrastructure of Network Rail ended up important.  Notably, Cisco is the 1st corporation to move the railway security conditions (as needed by techniques) and convince Network Rail Scotland and their close partners ScotRail (the practice functioning corporation) that our community design could maintain risk-free railway procedure at the same time as managing a community data services about trackside infrastructure.  As the British isles finances announcements filtered through previous 7 days, it was not shocking to see MNOs remark on the difficulties that they have struggled to get over in regard to rail connectivity.  Cisco has made the investments in understanding and complying to shopper method, and has applied the ideal knowledge, together with Cisco Solutions networking specialists to get over these – and consequently it’s Cisco that is able to provide the world’s speediest railway WiFi in my personal yard.

Technological know-how

Watchful community design and mast placement make sure that there are no gaps in protection, with seamless 200ms transfer between masts (just about every related to trackside fibre, now used only for rail signalling), offering a seamless WiFi experience at 150mph.  Ultimately, Cisco has applied the latest WiFi technological innovation in this design.  This tends to make it attainable to provide an typical of 300 Mbps to the practice – which is a considerable step perform raise about latest technological innovation, thus reworking shopper experience.


The (Rail) Observe to 5G

You could be forgiven for thinking that I’m against 5G.  Not at all. Cisco’s railway initiatives in the British isles could, in simple fact, participate in a big purpose in the accelerated adoption of 5G in the British isles (and I’m absolutely sure, elsewhere).  Deloitte, the consulting agency, has highlighted that inadequate fibre exists in the US to exploit 5G – and classes it as a “national imperative” to spend is further fibre deployment.   Further, in accordance to the Cisco Visible Networking Index Forecast, cellular offload exceeded mobile website traffic for the 1st time in 2015. Fifty-just one p.c of overall cellular data website traffic was offloaded onto the mounted community in 2015.  We will, hence, see growing demand from customers for far more fibre potential as 5G transforms the amount of gadgets related to the world wide web.

Cisco’s success in collaborating with Network Rail and ScotRail to leverage their trackside fibre opens up a massive vary of options for these organizations – in terms of their personal productivity and security – as perfectly as passenger experience and productivity.  Trackside CCTV for illustration would provide both equally security, security and operational expense cost savings.

Even more, and far more strategically, there are massive probable benefits for the state as a full.  At this time dedicated to railway signalling and other railway-specific duties, Network Rail Telecom’s community has huge potential.  As perfectly as a business enterprise situation that can be justified by operational advancements (e.g. trackside CCTV for security and inspection, for illustration), their trackside community has better probable – and could provide important benefit for Scotland and the British isles as a full in the race to 5G.

I’ve blogged in advance of on the broadband and cellular protection difficulties we have in Scotland (for illustration, at big vacationer sights in rural locations, and also on big trunk roadways).  The rural and mountainous character of Scotland indicates that offering broadband has confronted true technical difficulties – it’s been a important civil engineering project. The railway community in Scotland is considerable – and extends into rural locations as perfectly as the far more closely populated city location.  Imagine the gain to the state as a full, and some of the world wide web-challenged rural locations, if we could leverage the fibre to provide world wide web connectivity via the railway fibre community.

Therefore Cisco’s groundbreaking operate with Network Rail Telecom and ScotRail to day, coupled with upcoming community approaches these as community slicing, our operate has taken off true barriers and could have a transformational affect on world wide web delivery across the state – as perfectly as offering a new earnings stream for the railways.  And with the fibre potential difficulties outlined previously mentioned threatening the quick roll-out of 5G, the railway community across Scotland and the broader British isles could be a true asset in the race to 5G.


The Upcoming Ways

Returning to the upcoming ScotRail WiFi trial, it’s significant to recall that what we are managing will be a are living trial.  It is true and will serve countless numbers of travellers on the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail line day-to-day for the length of the trial. It is most unquestionably not a test in a managed surroundings (we’ve currently finished that stage of screening) – we’re screening are living on the busiest rail route in Scotland.  Cisco is confident of proving the technological innovation and answer.  The challenge then transfers to the transportation authorities and authorities – are they completely ready to “grasp the thistle” and provide a massive step adjust in connectivity across Scotland’s geographically various rail corridors?   Or will the final decision be taken to “wait for 5G”? – that is, wait for 5G to be delivered across a geographically challenged state where, as the British isles government’s “Connected Future” report highlights, even 2G is not still pervasive on our roadways and railways.

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