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Huawei builds world’s first LTE network for heavy-haul railways

Huawei announced that its eLTE solution has won the bid for the Shenhua Group Corporation’s Shuo Huang Railway (SHR) LTE project, and will deliver this project soon. Shenhua, one of the largest coal supplying and trading companies, has developed and implemented the world’s first LTE network for heavy-haul railways. The project will be a significant development for the application of LTE technology in the industry.

The SHR, with an operating route length of 594 kilometers, is a critical railway section for China’s West-to-East Coal Transfer project. Shenhua hoped to expand the railway’s capacity to transfer 350 million tons of coal and needed to maintain efficient and safe operations of 20,000 ton capacity heavy-haul trains. A wireless broadband system was required to communicate between the master-slave locomotives located at both ends of trains, which could be up to 2.5 kilometers apart. The railway’s 800MHz and 400kHz communications system would not be able to support the expansion with its limited coverage distance and low reliability.

To address these challenges, Huawei worked with six industry partners to research, plan, conduct trial tests, and engineer the construction of SHR’s new railway mobile broadband communications system since 2010. Over four years, multiple lab tests were conducted and four on-site tests were completed at the railway’s 42 kilometer trial section.

Huawei eLTE solution has been tailored to the SHR and uses a 1.8G LTE TDD network to enable communications for 20,000-ton heavy-haul trains over long distances. The LTE network supports the multi-locomotive synchronous control system, controllable train tail system and other heavy-haul train services that require a reliable and secure communications system. With full network-element redundancy and a dual-network coverage and multi-priority Quality of Service (QoS) protection mechanism, Huawei eLTE network ensures 99.999% system availability and guarantees that there will be no service interruptions. The eLTE network also enhances operational and maintenance efficiency with trunking dispatching, remote data acquisition, wireless video surveillance, train control data transmission and other services.

“Reliable communications is crucial for operating long trains and to expand transfer capacity. Huawei eLTE solution has helped to address these challenges by enabling communications over 2.5 kilometers and efficient video scheduling,” said Mr. Cao Yanping, Deputy General Manager of Shuohuang Railway Ltd. “In 2012, we also worked with Huawei to deploy a pilot eLTE network between a 40.7 kilometer section of SHR’s track from Xiaojue to Xibaipo. The project was a success and allowed us to test services such as multi-locomotive synchronous control, train-to-ground wireless data communications, voice trunking dispatching and on-board video surveillance. We are confident that Huawei’s eLTE network is secure and will allow us to continue to expand our transfer capacity beyond 350 million tons.”

Huawei will continue to collaborate with railway industry partners to use eLTE for wireless broadband networks to enable safer and more efficient railway operations. As of the end of March 2014, Huawei has signed 53 eLTE network contracts with customers across multiple vertical industries including public safety, transportation, energy and electricity.

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