Global System for Mobile Communications GSM-R
Global System Mobile for Railway communication GSM-R is a unified digital railway communication technology that has been adopted from GSM standard, due to its significant role in railway applications it carries in both voice and data it becomes more critical and imperative compared to that of commercial communication networks. These include signaling and control data as well as safety information it carries. Before the global standardization in railway communication technology, railway communication was dependent on analog communication which was very limited in access.
In the late 80’s through scientific study, a new digital railway radio communication was initiated, in which the primary candidate technologies were both GSM and TETRA. In 1990 international railway union UIC adopted GSM technology as a unified proven digital network for railway communication and MoU was signed, the same year with 32 railways organisation and in 2000 GSM-R specification (EIRENE) was released and the MORANE project was successfully finalised, this was supported by the European rail traffic management system (ERTMS) project which combines the European train control system (ETCS) the key purpose of digitizing railway network was interoperability, efficiency and safety in the railway network throughout the European rail network.
Further evidence shows that the motivation behind standardization was interoperability which consists of two types such as cross-border interoperability and multi-vendor interoperability. This means that trains must be able to cross any border in Europe without issues and vendors must be able to interworking with equipment without experiencing problems as such the proven technology must be accessibility, availability, maintainability.
The European continent started to deploy GSM-R as a railway communication network, and later was adopted in places such as Saudi Arabia and Israeli and the Middle East. Because of its success it expanded in Far East India and China since then also adopted throughout into Africa. Migration from analog to GSM-R was better and necessary step towards railway innovation since analog systems were aging and it was becoming very difficult to get spare, as migration to the digital network was getting a massive boost, with GSM-R preferred due to its efficiency and reliability.
Mario Ligwa was born in 1982 in Elliotdale, Eastern Cape. Raised in Eastern Cape he obtained the B.Tech Degree (Electrical Engineering) from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in 2009 and Masters in Engineering MEng (Summa cum Laude) in 2019.
Mario has worked as network technician at Telkom SA in 2007 and joined Tellumat avionics Defence as a senior system Technologist in Defence department in 2009 until 2012, while in Tellumat he also did specialized project management course at CPUT, in April 1 2012 he joined Metrorail Telecoms where he is a Senior technician.
During his research in 2018 he wrote and published two papers under mobile railway broadband communication under the following topics:
(i) Mobile Broadband Scaling and Enhancement for Fast Moving Trains
(ii) Utilization of OVSF codes for service Enhancement of LTE-R
In 2018 he also registered at engineering council of south Africa ECSA as a professional engineering technologist and at South African Institute of Electrical Engineers SAIEE as member.