Measuring Rail Telecoms Network Air Interface Performance

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Options for Measuring Rail Telecoms Network Air Interface Performance

Today’s railways are highly complex technical environments that depend on multiple systems, provided by multiple vendors and suppliers. All these systems need to work together to provide continuous, safe, effective and efficient operations.

This complexity and interdependency, coupled with the ongoing digitisation, of the rail infrastructure, means that there is a greater requirement to more frequently test, measure and monitor rail subsystems, than ever before. For example, the proactive monitoring and testing of the telecommunications and signalling system performances can offer significant operational benefits and efficiencies.

In this paper, we will examine how the highly practical challenges of time and budget can affect rail telecoms performance management. We will also discuss how these challenges can be overcome, to enable those working in rail infrastructure management and rail telecoms operations to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness – using remote and cost-effective solutions.

The main focus of this paper explores the above using the viewpoint of measuring the Telecom’s network air interface performance. It should be noted that similar testing methodologies and approaches using probes connected to the Telecom and Signalling networks (should they be available), can also yield complementary, overlapping and valuable network performance information – but are not discussed in this paper.

A Question of Balancing Priorities

How well a test, measurement or monitoring service can meet requirements depends on the resources available. These are likely to include: number of people, level of knowledge within the team, and type and amount of equipment, as well as amount of time and money allocated.

Each variable can be an ‘enabler’ or a ‘disabler’ for the service, as if they fall short of the requirements, they will restrict the service.

For many services, the internal deadlines (time) and budget control (money) are likely to be the most constraining factors in the strive for quality and performance management.

However, within these constraints, the external factors such as the right people still need to be in place, with the necessary knowledge, and access to the right type and amount of equipment.

In the next two sections, we will examine some key points to take into consideration, to evaluate rail telecoms network air interface performance when looking to provide a new or enhanced service or project, and where you simply want to get the most value from the assets that already exist.

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