KT, Samsung go live with LTE-R for train line in South Korea

Samsung train (Samsung)
The LTE-R network will include features such as mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) based on the 3GPP standards Release 13. (Samsung)

It’s all aboard for the South Korean expressway—as in the Wonju-Gangneung line that’s now equipped with LTE-Railway thanks to Samsung and KT.

LTE-R is a next-generation communications technology for smart train and metro services, enabling high-speed wireless voice and data communications inside trains, from train-to-ground and from train-to-train.

The new Wonju-Gangneung line, operated by the Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA) with trains traveling up to 155 mph, is 75 miles long. It will provide faster, easier access to the largest winter sports facilities region in Korea, including Pyeongchang, site of the winter games. The LTE-R network is applied across the line’s seven stations.

In particular, LTE-R enables mission-critical communications—including mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT), group calls and VoLTE—between train personnel and control centers. Samsung has provided its radio access network operating in 700 MHz, a global band for LTE-based Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR), a dedicated core network including EPC, IMS and PTT servers deployed in two control centers, as well as rugged smartphones for professionals, according to a press release.

The solution is interoperable with legacy Trunked Radio System, Very High Frequency (VHF) systems and Korea’s national Public-Safety LTE network.

In 2015, Samsung was selected as a supplier for all five LTE-R projects in Korea, and it's Korea's leading LTE-R supplier. Its LTE-R solution is already in service on the 26 mile-long Busan Metro line 1 covering 40 stations in Korea’s second largest city. Launched by Samsung in April 2017, it represented the nation's first case of LTE-R technology being used during operation of a train/metro. Samsung is also deploying LTE-R on the line between Incheon International Airport and Seoul Station in the center of the capital.

RELATED: KDDI, Samsung demo 5G on moving train in Japan

Samsung is no stranger to getting its technology on trains. It's also been working with Japan’s KDDI on 5G trials involving service on moving trains. Earlier this year, Samsung used its 5G pre-commercial end-to-end solution to demonstrate 5G on a moving train traveling over 60 mph; they were able to achieve a successful downlink and uplink handover as well as a peak speed of 1.7 Gbps.

Use cases as a result of the technology could pave the way for vastly improved backhaul for onboard Wi-Fi, superior passenger infotainment and increased security and analytics, the companies said.

Last year, Ericsson announced it had successfully completed trials of LTE networks for railway solutions at simulated speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour, or close to 125 mph, with Canadian transportation company Bombardier. The LTE networks were tested against Bombardier's requirements for latency, packet loss and the ability to prioritize safety-critical applications.