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GSM-R: Quality of Service

valley with surrounding hills (e.g. SBB
CTS Olten – Sempach). It can enclose no
or a lot of tunnels (e.g. ARCOR CTS

Tests at Customer Trial Sites

Stuttgart – Mannheim) – covered usually
by “repeaters”.
The test trains can run with a speed of 60
km/h to 330 km/h (for example the TGV
engine of SNCF at the MORANE CTS
Rudolf Schrenk GSM-based communication system for Paris-Monchi). A train’s journey on a cu-
voice and data transmission. This GSM-R stomer trial site railroad, which is called a
This article describes quality-of- network with its own frequency spectrum test “run”, can be with or without stops
of 4 MHz (20 carriers) will be the unique between the departure and the arrival sta-
service (QoS) tests at railway cu- digital radio platform for the great variety tion.
stomer trial sites. The QoS tests of current and future railway applications The number of base station transceivers
consider the GSM-R network (RAPs), like ETCS, ERTMS, FFB, Dia- (BTS) along the track, their antenna‘s
gnos- height and gain, the transmitter power
which has been agreed to by the tics, Logistics, Emercency Mgmt, Passen- and the receiver sensitivity determine the
UIC to be the track-to-train com- ger Information System, Ticketing, etc.. coverage which can be expected. Normal-
munication platform for the cur- Since this decision, most of the European ly the BTS are situated a few meters away
railway companies have built up trial sites from the track and have a typical density
rent and future railway applica- with GSM-R prototypes to test and vali- of 0.1... 0.3 BTS / km.
tions. The performance of the va- date the railway specific functions and re- The railway operators use special 8W mo-
rious applications themselves will quirements, as defined,for example, in the bile terminals for train drivers / track-
“UIC EIRENE (European Integrated side elements (CabRadio) and 2 W gene -
not be the focus hereafter. Railway Radio Enhanced Network) FRS ral purpose mobiles (Handheld). Usually
Based on the experience gained & SRS”or the “FFFIS for EURORADIO they have disabled the GSM function
during several test campaigns on (ETCS/ERTMS)”. The ETSI-Standard is, “MS/BS Power Control”.
of course, the binding baseline for the The interference situation,that directly ef-
railway operator’s trial tracks in GSM-R system. fects the radio connection quality or bit-
Germany, France, Switzerland The GSM-R functionality is mainly tested error-rate (BER), is essentially deter-
at reference test beds (RTB) of the GSM- mined by the radio network planning ta-
and Sweden, some recommenda- R network suppliers. Quality-of-service, king into account the topography around
tions are given concerning the however, can be approved and validated the railtrack. Figure 1 shows an example
test and evaluation strategy of better under the real operational and ra- of a trial site railtrack.During a test run a
dio environment conditions along the rail- predetermined number of subscribers, ter-
QoS criteria. Used test tools and track of a customer trial site (CTS). minals and SIM-cards are in operation.
typical QoS values, measured at
Figure 1: Example of
customer trial sites which are a trial site railtrack
equipped with Siemens GSM-R
infrastructure, are presented. The
tests‘ results demonstrate that in
a well-planned radio environ-
ment all known railway QoS re-
quirements will be fullfilled by
the installed GSM-R equipment.

1 Introduction

In 1993 the European railways organized

under the UIC (Union International des
Chemins de fer) agreed to introduce a

The Author
Dipl.Ing.(FH) Rudolf Schrenk
2 Customer Trial Sites The traffic profile depends on the applica-
Born in 1949. Graduated in Electrical En- tion intention of the railway operator. It
gineering from the Munich University of From a QoS testing point of view, a custo- can comprise voice and/or data calls,
Applied Sciences. From1975 till 1985 wor- mer trial site consists of the railtrack envi- transmission rates of 2.4/ 4.8/ 9.6 kbps
ked on military radar tracking systems for ronment,the GSM-R network and a set of transparent or non-transparent, point-to-
Siemens, Munich. Since 1985 has been wor- specific measurement equipment. point (PTP) or voice group (ASCI) call
king for Siemens mobile communication in services, permanent or short connections,
base station development. Since 1999 res- single or multiple (parallel) calls.
ponsible for GSM-R issues within the sy- 2.1 Rail Environment
stems engineering division.
A customer trial site railtrack has a typical 2.2 Network Configuration
Address: length of anywhere from 30 km up to 120
Hofmannstraße 51, D-81379 München km. It can be in a flat terrain topography Figure 2 shows a typical GSM-R network (e.g. BANVERKET CTS Stockholm- configuration as used for quality-of-ser-
Nynäshamn) or it can be embedded in a vice tests at different customer trial site.

SIGNAL + DRAHT (92) 9/2000 © by Tetzlaff Verlag, Hamburg 61


The sheets contain time, equipment, pho-

ne numbers to be dialled and trace file na -
mes for each action.
During the runs, the testers have to proto-
col relevant events and subjective percep-
tions of the speech quality on these sheets.
For a reliable statistical QoS evaluation at
least 600 calls of different types and 200
handovers should be generated during the
whole test campaign.
Before the runs the correctness of the
SW-versions / data base (DB) settings has
to be checked and the measurement
equipment has to be installed and calibra-
ted, if needed. All system and test tool
clocks have to be synchronized, as well as
the testers‘ watches. Specific DB para-
meters have to be set (e.g. MEAS_
REPORT=ON) and relevant performan-
ce measurement scanners have to be crea-
ted at the OMC.

3.2 Test Procedures

Figure 2: A typical GSM-R network configuration as used for quality-of-service tests at
different customer trial site Radio Environment
It is suggested that the first 2 to 4 runs be
The GSM-R infrastructure consists of a rate time base for the messages that are used to check the coverage and interfe-
number of “on-air” cells (BTS) along the transported through the GSM-R system it rence situation, the functioning of the
railtrack,their controller (BSC),an opera- is important that all the involved interfa- tools and the availability of the system
tion & maintenance center (OMC), a ces are plugged to the same tracer. There components in particular. It does not ma-
transcoding & rate adaption unit (TRAU) are protocol tracers of different suppliers ke sense to measure QoS. if the prerequi-
and a mobile switching center (MSC), on the market, but the K1205 from TEK- sites concerning the radio conditions and
which realizes the circuit switch to the TRONIX has proved efficient in many system stability are not fullfilled.
operator’s fixed network (e.g. ISDN), and QoS tests. - there/back run: single permanent voice
the rail specific radio block center (RBC). The OMC is used to set certain test para- call using a 8W-Kapsch,
The RBC contains the fixed terminals meters (data base) and to collect state sta- - there/back run: single permanent voice
(phones/ modems/ PCs) needed for the tus infos and performance measurement call using a 2W-Sagem,
QoS test. Often the entities OMC, BSC, counters during the runs. At the RBC the - supervise availability & stability (state
TRAU and MSC are co-located within received contents of data calls (short com- status) of the system resources during
the RBC. mands or long files) are saved on the mass the runs.
At the trackside there is an engine that storage units of the TPC. QoS tests can be Data Calls
usually pulls a test coach. organized efficiently if the OMC, the Depending on the RAP the data service
K1205 and the fixed test terminals are co- can, in principle, be: at a rate of 2.4,4.8 or
2.3 Measurement Equipment located within the RBC. Otherwise, addi- 9.6 kbps. transparent (T) or non-transpa-
tional staff and coordination effort are rent (NT), in uplink (UL) or downlink
The test coach carries at least one 8 W needed to obtain comprehensive test re- (DL) direction
CabRadio (Kapsch) with a GPS receiver sults. It is advisable to have a GSM-R -in- - single permanent data call using 8 W-
and a trace-PC (TPC), one 2 W Handheld dependent communication channel (pu- MS (repeated short commands T),
(Sagem) and a couple of antennas on the blic GSM,analogue radio) during the test - single permanent data call using 8 W-
roof with a coax-panel in the test cabin. runs for test coordination purposes. MS (long file transfer NT),
Both mobile types (MS) are able to hand- - single permanent data call using 2 W-
le the GSM bearer services BS24/25/26 as MS (long file transfer NT),
well as the new voice broadcast /group 3 Testing - multiple short data calls (MOC/MTC)
call services VBS/ VGCS (ASCI functio- with Kapsch (UL & DL transmission),
nality). For multiple parallel calls additio- A QoS test campaign lasts 3 to 5 days with - multiple short data calls (MOC/MTC)
nal mobiles (8 W-MS and/or 2 W-MS), as 4 to 8 runs per day, depending on the test with Sagem (UL & DL transmission),
well as MS from other suppliers can be, of focus and the customer trial site - MMC data calls from train (8 W or
course, taken along. characteristics. For an optimal test executi- 2 W) to trackside (8 W or 2 W),
The air interface between the MS and the on,7 skilled testers are needed in a typical - MMC data calls from trackside (8W or
BTS (Um) can only be observed by built- customer trial site configuration: two at 2 W) to train (8 W or 2 W),
in tracers of the MS suppliers. For exam- the mobile terminals, two at the fixed ter- - mass (parallel) data calls using Kapsch
ple, the Kapsch-TPC traces the messages minals, one at the K1205,one at the OMC & Sagem,
and user data received from and transmit- and one test coordinator (TC). The TC sits - mixed (permanent & short) data calls,
ted to the Um-interface and inserts locati- in the RBC or goes with the train, depen- - mixed voice & data calls in parallel.
on data from a GPS-receiver into the tra- ding on the test activities. Voice (point-to-point) Calls
ce on a unique time base. - multiple short voice calls (MOC/MTC)
The signalling on the standard GSM inter- 3.1 Test Strategy using 8 W-Kapsch,
faces between BTS and BSC (Abis), bet- - multiple short voice calls (MOC/MTC)
ween BSC and MSC (A) and between The TC negotiates the QoS test campaign using 2 W-Sagem,
MSC and the ISDN network (I) can be with the operator, plans the test proce- - multiple short voice calls (MMC)
observed by so-called “GSM protocol tra- dures and distributes individual “test Kapsch <-> Sagem (both within the
cers”.In order to have a unique and accu- schedules” to each tester before the runs. train),

62 © by Tetzlaff Verlag, Hamburg SIGNAL + DRAHT (92) 9/2000


- multiple short voice calls (MMC) flecting coverage) and RXQUAL (reflec- mands) and can,therefore, only be investi-
Kapsch <-> Sagem (one at the tracksi- ting bit-error-rate BER) values of the gated together with the specific RAP.
de), “MEASUREMENT_RESULT”messages For voice based applications the BER is a
- mass (parallel) voice calls using Kapsch traced with the K1205 on the Abis-interfa- simple approach for the interference situ-
& Sagem. ces during the first 4 runs. The downlink ation in general. Studies have shown that
Voice (group) Calls and the uplink have to be assessed separa- RXQUAL values of less than or equal to
- multiple voice group calls using tely. 3 (corresponding to a BER<1.6 %) are
Kapsch, For railways, the coverage is regarded as subjectively perceived as “good” speech
- multiple voice group calls using Sagem, sufficient when 95 % of the RXLEV va- quality.
- multiple voice group calls using Kapsch lues are greater than –90 dBm along the
& Sagem mixed, entire track during the whole train run 4.2 Event Analysis
- voice broadcast calls (VBS) in different (location & time probability).
group area (GCA) configurations, The effect of higher BER on the QoS of The aim of the event analysis is to identify
- voice group calls (VGCS) in different RAPs, which are based on bearer services, problems which would degrade the QoS.
group area (GCA) configurations, depends on the frequency, length and sa- Events which are relevant for QoS consi-
- voice broadcast calls in different sub- fety protocol of the data blocks (com- derations are regular voice & data call se-
scriber scenario (dispatcher/talker/ li-
stener), Figure 3: Example of
- voice group calls in different subscriber an event profile of a
scenario (dispatcher/talker/listener), real test run plotted on
- voice group calls with different “call a scaled map
priority” conditions.
At customer trial sites, where equipment
of different suppliers (e.g. Siemens- and
Nortel-BSS at the MORANE French and
German trial sites) is distributed along the
railtrack, a test focusing on the correct in-
terworking at the supplier (BSC area)
borders must be conducted:
- outgoing handover behaviour of voice
& data calls using Kapsch & Sagem,
- incoming handover behaviour of voice
& data calls using Kapsch & Sagem.

4 Evaluation

The evaluation of the results of QoS trial

tests can be divided into the three phases QOS Parameter Type Values MP Remarks
“radio environment assessment”, “event
Radio Environment
analysis” and “performance evaluation”.
Coverage UL 96.8 % Abis RXLEV >
The post-processing is based on the info- DL 97.5 % - 90 dBm
sources: K1205 trace files, TPC trace files, Interference Situation UL 99.8 % Abis RXQUAL <=
OMC state & performance counter logfi- DL 98.8 % 3 (1.6 %)
les and tester protocols. Correlating the System Performance
different sources provides a complete pic- System Availability NE, Links 100 % OMC
ture of what has happened within the
Call Success Rate 99.5 % A
GSM-R system during the runs.
Call Drop Rate 0.1 % A
Handover Success Rate 99.5 % A
4.1 Radio Environment Assessment Probability of Transmission Interruption 0.3 % A
Time Performance
A good system performance can only be
Call Setup Time voice group call EMC 1.0 sec A
achieved in an optimal radio environ- VBS/VGCS 1.9 sec
ment.A range of factors will influence the point-to-point call MOC/MTC 3.1 sec
MMC 6.2 sec
outcome: topography, BTS density, fre-
Call Release Times 0.6 sec A
quency planning, interference situation,
Handover Break Times Signalling 420 msec Abis
terminal equipment,RF adapters, etc.. The User data 300 msec TPC
corres- Handover Recreation Times Max 10 min A Low D&V
ponding QoS criteria are coverage and in- min 30 sec High D&V
terference. Both can be calculated by a
Figure 4: Typically measured QoS values
statistical evaluation of the RXLEV (re-

SIGNAL + DRAHT (92) 9/2000 © by Tetzlaff Verlag, Hamburg 63


tups and releases, unintended call re- der optimal radio conditions at the trial si- The call setup time can be derived from
leases (call drops), expected handovers, te. Significantly higher CDRs, observed at the time stamps between the connection
assignment and handover failures, unex- some QoS runs, could be attributed to request and the connection acknowledge-
pected handovers (e.g. intra-cell / back-/ faulty mobile coax adapters, coverage ment on the A-trace. Point to point and
ping-pong-HOVs) and unavailability of gaps or interworking problems. voice group calls have to be distinguished
resources. The handover success rate (HSR) is the as well as MOC/MTC and MMC. The
A detailed analysis of an event’s occur- percentage (probability) of handover at- strong requirement of establishing a rail-
rence, especially in the case of an irregula- tempts which result in a successful swit- way emergency call within 1 sec needs
rity, should be conducted. This should in- chover to the new (target) cell. In case of special operational measures, like auto-
clude the relevant system conditions (ti- failure the call is switched back to the old answering of the MS, disabling ciphering
me, train position/ velocity/ acceleration/ (serving) cell. A lower HSR hints at unn- & authentication.
direction,cell-ID, mobile-ID, used channel essessary handover attempts. This has to The call release time can be derived from
type, equipment status) and radio conditi- be analyzed and avoided. the time stamps between pushing the dis-
ons (GSM-R frequency, measured recei- Cellular systems like GSM have, in princi- connect button and releasing all resources
ving level of serving & neighboring cells, ple, short call interruptions at the cell bor- for that connection by the GSM-R system.
quality, TX power levels, timing advance). ders (handover). These interruptions are
Figure 3 shows an example of an event less critical than often stressed, because
profile of a real test run plotted on a sca- they are normally inaudible in a speech 5 Conclusion
led map. call and they do not result in data losses in
The “GSM causes”assessment is also part a data call because of the safety protocol The QoS tests performed at trial sites of
of the event analysis and is important as layers (e.g. HDLC) used in data commu- railway customers in various European
well. For example, all handovers which nications. A general railway requirement countries provide the assurance that all
were successful but not caused by “better is that the interruptions not be very often, known railway requirements are fullfilled
cell” are potential trouble areas and have not be too long and that there should be with the installed GSM-R equipment. The
to be investigated and minimized. enough “recreation” time between two strong requirements concerning call drop
Call setup attempts which failed due to handovers for re-transmitting lost railway & transmission interruption probability
“user busy” signals have to be discarded application telegrams. asume a well planned, installed and opti-
from the “call success rate” calculation. The probability of transmission interrup- mized radio environment.
tion (PTI) is the accumulated handover In order to evaluate the “end-to-end”
break times divided by the complete train quality-of-service it is recommended that
4.3 Quality-of-Service Calculation run times and multiplied with the proba- QoS tests be performed at CTS which in-
bility of being in an ongoing call (traffic clude the different railway applications.
The aim is to achieve reliable values for value in Erlang).A typical value at custo-
the QoS parameters. They are only valid mer trial sites is a PTI of about 0.3 %.
for a certain test campaign at a specific The handover break time can be derived
trial site. As far as the customer trial site from the time stamps of the HANDO-
represents the radio and operational envi- VER_COMMAND and the HANDO-
ronment of the whole railway operator’s VER_COMPLETE message on the Abis-
GSM-R network, these values can be ge-
neralized to cover this environment. Figu-
trace. It includes the elapsed processing ti-
me of the involved GSM-R components.
re 4 shows typically measured QoS values The break in the transmitted user data
as obtained during well-coordinated test stream can only be calculated from the GSM-R – Test der Dienstgüte auf
campaigns at well-covered customer trial TPC-trace at the receiver side. There the den Versuchsstrecken
sites equipped with Siemens GSM-R tech- lost data blocks can be searched taking in-
Der Beitrag beschreibt Dienstgüte
nology. The table also shows the source to account the used bearer service (baud
(quality-of-service QoS) Tests auf Ver-
(measurement point MP) from which the rate). The break in the user data is, of
suchsstrecken von Eisenbahngesell-
QoS values can be derived. course, always shorter than the complete
schaften. Die QoS Tests betrachten das
The system availability is the percentage handover processing time. The measured GSM-R System, das von der Organisa-
(probability) of the time in which the con- values meet the requirements of a hando- tion der europäischen Bahnen (UIC)
figured resources (entities, links, radio & ver break if less than 1 sec. als einheitliche Plattform für die ver-
terrestrial channels) of the GSM-R system The handover recreation time is the re- schiedenen derzeitigen und künftigen
could be used over the time of the whole main- Dienste ausgewählt wurde. Die Dienst-
test campaign. It only takes into conside- ing time between two successive hando- güte der Applikationen selbst ist nicht
ration the GSM-R infrastructure compo- vers. This time is needed for RAPs with a Gegenstand des Aufsatzes.
nents. The QoS value is derived from the strong real-time requirement like FFB or Basierend auf Erfahrungen, die in
accumulated state status reports recorded ETCS to repeat lost commands. Depend- einer Reihe von Meßfahrten auf Test-
on the OMC logfiles. ing on the BTS density and the train velo- strecken verschiedener Bahnbetreiber
The call success rate (CSR) is the percen- city, values from 30 sec to 10 min occured in Deutschland, Frankreich, der
tage (probability) of call setup attempts at real trial sites. This meets the require- Schweiz und Schweden gemacht wur-
which result in an established call (con- ment of a recreation time between two den, werden Empfehlungen zur Test-
nection).In a good radio environment and handovers of longer than 6 sec. This QoS strategie und zur Bewertung von Dienst-
a well-prepared and coordinated test cam- value decreases rapidly, if unexpected güte-Kriterien (QoS Parameter)
paign the CSR is nearly 100%.Significant- handovers occur. Therefore, the number gegeben. Verwendete Testgeräte und
ly worse CSR, observed at some QoS of handovers have, in general, to be mini- typische QoS Werte – gemessen an
runs, were associated with test coordinati- mized (equal to number of cells). Versuchsstrecken, die mit Siemens
on deficits (calls to busy users, dialling Since many railway applications do not GSM-R Technik ausgerüstet sind –
wrong numbers....). need permanent connection but connec- werden präsentiert. Die Ergebnisse
The call drop rate (CDR) is the percenta- tion on demand,the fast call setup and re- zeigen, dass bei guter Funknetzplanung
ge (probability) of connected calls which lease within the GSM-R network is of im- alle bekannten Bahnanforderungen
have been released unintensionally portance. Note that the times consumed in bezüglich der Dienstgüte mit dem in-
(drop). The strong railway requirements the RAP (for establishing safety layers stallierten GSM-R System erfüllt wer-
of CDR<0.1% can only be achieved un- e.g.) are not included here. den.

64 © by Tetzlaff Verlag, Hamburg SIGNAL + DRAHT (92) 9/2000