Project partners Ericsson, Deutsche Bahn, O2 Telefónica and Vantage Towers built the infrastructure to test 5G corridors along the tracks in record time. Less than eight months from the funding decision of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) to project completion
In the future, thanks to 5G, train passengers will be able to enjoy high-speed Internet and an uninterrupted telephone connection, increasing the attractiveness of green travel and enabling more efficient use of time.
To accelerate this future vision, a test track approximately ten kilometers long was put into operation.
Germania: “Gigabit Innovation Track” (GINT)
To realize this promise Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Deutsche Bahn (DB), O2 Telephone and Vantage Towers are working together on the research project “Gigabit Innovation Track” (GINT), which eight months ago obtained funding of 6.4 million euros from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV).
As part of the project, they are being tested solutions for mobile communication at Gigabit data transmission speeds in the southern territory of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as innovative infrastructure for the further digitalisation of railway operations within the framework of the new “Future Rail Mobile Communication System” (FRMCS) standard.
How the 5G project works for the German railways
In detail, they are being tested new telecommunications antennas built near the tracksas well as different combinations of radio units and antennas for mobile and railway radio communications. In fact, experts estimate that by the beginning of 2030, a data transmission speed of up to 5 Gigabits per second per train will be the standard required to provide passengers with high-speed, uninterrupted internet and telephone connections.
Daniel Leimbach, Managing Director of Ericsson GmbH underlined that “the installation of the particularly powerful 3.5 GHz radio technology on the test track was completed in record time”. For the GINT project, Ericsson has pre-configured a mobile radio network special, small-scale but comprehensive, inclusive of core e radio access network carried out in the Eurolab research center that Ericsson has in Aachen. This allowed it to be supplied extremely quickly and the technology made operational.
The high-speed connectivity was made possible by the pioneering design of thirteen 15-metre-high pylons, which were erected by Vantage Towers in just over a month. The elements were pre-assembled on the ground and positioned on top of each other with a two-way excavator and bolted together. The trusses are anchored to the ground with steel struts, so that it is no longer necessary to lay concrete foundations, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions compared to traditional construction methods. This new construction method should allow for an efficient, economical and environmentally friendly installation of the infrastructure needed to build the future railway communication system FRMCS.
In addition to the technical innovations, the good cooperation between the project partners and the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), local authorities and the infrastructure operator Regio Infra Nordost (RIN), was decisive for building so quickly the approximately ten kilometer test line between Karow (Mecklenburg) and Malchow. Preparation, development, planning and construction were completed in less than eight months, demonstrating that future implementation can occur much more quickly than today.
The BMDV gave the green light to the research project with its funding in May 2023. From spring 2024, the “Advanced TrainLab”, a former DB – ICE train currently used as a laboratory train, will run on the test track to test the systems and optimize the configuration. Test results are expected to be available by the end of 2024.
The doctor Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, DB Board Member for Digitalisation and Technology commented: “We want our passengers to feel at home on the train and this requires having an excellent online and telephone experience. The GINT project demonstrates that we can bring high-speed mobile communications to the train and platforms in record time. We are not only turning the train into a mobile office or a moving home cinema, but we are also creating the basis for the future digitalisation of rail transport with the FRMCS standard.”
Christian Hillabrant, CEO of Vantage Towers said: “With the GINT project, we are proving that gigabit on rail is no longer a vision of the future, but can become a reality within a few months. By using the same infrastructure for rail and mobile networks, we are realizing valuable synergies in network expansion and preserving valuable resources. We are one of the leading companies in the sector in Europe and therefore we are pleased to contribute our experience to this pioneering project.”
Valentina Daiber, Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs di O2 Telefónica he has declared: “With the Gigabit Innovation Track, we are experiencing a paradigm shift and rethinking connectivity in railways. Mobile communications infrastructure is getting on track to provide travelers with reliable, high-speed mobile Internet. The GINT study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of fast 5G in high-speed trains. At the same time, it intends to make an important contribution
Licensed cover image Depositphotos