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Ethiopia: Huawei to deploy Africa’s first eLTE Urban Railway Comm. System

Huawei, a leading global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions provider, today announced that it has been selected as the sole provider of Ethiopia’s light rail communication system in Addis Ababa, the main administrative capital of the African Union. The integrated telecommunications system will be Africa’s first comprehensive commercial eLTE communications infrastructure for urban railways built with innovative eLTE technology, high-performance storage and high-definition video surveillance.

Addis Ababa, as the capital city of Ethiopia and hub for the economy and transportation, has high population density and congested traffic. Commuters using public transportation often rely on minibuses that offer infrequent service, long queues and sparsely located stations. To address this, the Ethiopian government invested US$475 million on the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit project, which is expected to be completed by January 2015 by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Company Limited (CREEC).Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit project design

The first phase of this project consists of the roll out of a 31 kilometer South-North and East-West railway lines with a control center and 39 stations. Once completed, the entire railway is expected to run at 80 kilometers per hour and will be able to carry 60,000 passengers per hour. Communication plays an important role to ensure effective services and monitoring of operations throughout the entire railway system.

Ethiopian Railways Corporation (ERC) and CREEC has stringent requirements for the implementation of the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit’s communications system. This system is required to achieve high end-to-end performance and high levels of reliability and stability. After assessing the project requirements, Huawei designed a high quality full range Mass Transit eLTE Multi-Service Unified Bearer (eLTE-MT) communications solution to facilitate reliable communications with advanced technologies.

The urban mass transit communication solution includes multiple technologies such as fixed network, eLTE wireless network, high definition (HD) video surveillance, IP Telephony and IT. The subsystems facilitate dispatching, multi-service bearing, surveillance, data storage and unified communications to provide Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit with an effective three dimensional communications network infrastructure.

Huawei’s wireless network subsystem adopts ultra broadband technology to support wireless dispatching, unified transmission of ticketing traffic and other traffic from services that require high bandwidth. The subsystem also supports a nine-level hierarchical QoS that provides broadband and a real-time, secure and reliable train-to-ground wireless communications platform. The solution’s fixed network subsystem supports the unified bearing of multiple services including SCADA (“Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition”) and fare collection which significantly simplifies network deployment, reduces the number of networks and lowers investment required for equipments. IP Telephony subsystem adopts unified architecture to facilitate a combination of the private telephone system and public telephone system such as PSTN on one device, which highly reduces deployment workload and lowers investment. In addition, its HD video surveillance subsystem adopts separate but centralized storage architecture for the South-North line and East-West line. With only the IP cameras and access devices installed along the track, the amount of investment and operational costs are also reduced.

Following Huawei’s successful projects with Zhengzhou Metro and Shuohuang Railway, the Addis Ababa Light Rail Transit project is part of the company’s plans to promote the deployment of eLTE technology for the railway industry and the development of urban rail transit in Africa.

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Source: Huawei, July 02, 2014, titled “Huawei to Deploy Africa’s First Smart eLTE Urban Railway Communications System in Ethiopia

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