Global GSM-R standard was envisioned with the goal

Global System for Mobile Communications –
Railway (GSM-R) is
a wireless communications standard used globally for railway communication and
applications. It uses a specific frequency band around 800/900 MHz (primarily
based on 2G technology). It has replaced analog systems which were widely being
used previously. It is based on European Integrated Railway Radio Enhanced
Network (EIRENE) – Mobile Radio for Railways Networks in Europe (MORANE) specifications

GSM-R offers the highest level of
interoperability in accordance with EIRENE. It also supports seamless
integration of regional applications and services such as the European Train
Control System (ETCS) signalling system standard (Requiring fewer fixed
installations, ETCS is more cost-effective than conventional trackside signalling).
As the chosen data technology for ETCS, it is an integral component of the (European
Rail Traffic Management System) ERTMS. It provides substantial benefits by
providing continuous flow of information to on-board computers for calculating
speeds and braking profiles  

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GSM-R enables higher train speeds (assures
performance at speeds up to 310 mph (500 km/h) without any communication loss) and
traffic density with a high level of safety by carrying the signalling information
directly to the train driver. It enhances voice and data communication with
trains and allows drivers to communicate freely throughout transcontinental
journeys (even through tunnels) enabling significant improvement of reliability,
security and safety of rail services. It is also used for various other kinds
of applications like cargo tracking, passenger information systems, video surveillance

GSM-R status

GSM-R standard was envisioned with the goal of
achieving interoperability using a single communication platform. It is a
result of over a decade of collaboration between various European railway
companies. It is a part of the European Rail Traffic Management
System (ERTMS) standard. The specifications were finalised in the year 2000,
basis the European Union funded MORANE (Mobile Radio for Railways Networks
in Europe) project.

GSM-R Technology

The radio sub system of the GSM-R network is
typically implemented using base transceiver stations and communication towers
with antennas which are placed close to the rail track with intervals of 7-15
km. The same is 3-5 km in China to ensure higher availability and reliability. GSM-R
has to satisfy tight availability and performance requirements of the HSR radio

Through GSM-R, trains have a constant circuit
switched digital modem connection to their respective train control centre. The
trains will automatically stop if the modem connection is lost. The enhanced
Multi-Level Precedence and Pre-emption service (eMLPP) provides different
levels of precedence for call set-up and for continuity in case of handover,
thereby giving trains a greater priority compared to normal users