Ericsson to boost 5G mission-critical connectivity in European rail industry

Building on its commitment to the railway sector, Ericsson has joined the Association of the European Rail Supply Industry (UNIFE) to show how 5G and mission-critical networks can enable the rail industry to meet the challenge of rail digitalization.

UNIFE, a major industry association, represents European train builders and rail equipment suppliers. By joining UNIFE, Ericsson strengthens its commitment to developing critical network capabilities for the rail industry. Its membership will make an important contribution to accelerating the modernization of railway communications with 5G for FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication Systems).

As a UNIFE member, Ericsson will support the railway sector in tapping the potential of digitalization to improve the quality and efficiency of operation, passenger experience and network and data security.

Manuel Ruiz, Head of Mission Critical Networks at Ericsson, says that fundamental changes in technology that come with 5G and mission-critical networks will enable the rail industry to meet the challenge of digitalization and business transformation.

“With the standardization of the Future Railway Mobile Communications Systems expected to be based on 5G, Ericsson is honored to join UNIFE,” Ruiz says. “Many communications service providers in Europe have already chosen Ericsson’s 5G technology. We look forward to helping the railway sector achieve their operational goals using this technology.”

Already in 2018, Ericsson and Swisscom demonstrated end-to-end network slicing to meet the needs of the railway sector. Ericsson is currently testing connectivity together with national rail companies.

As a UNIFE member, Ericsson will also be able to participate in EU-funded innovation and research projects. Built on its leading 3GPP 4G and 5G technology, Ericsson’s mission-critical networks and applications deliver next-generation, secure, resilient, and high performance mission-critical mobile broadband communication services.

EU funds research in rail cybersecurity

The Safety4Rails research programme to improve the resilience of railways and metros to cyber and physical attacks is one of five projects that will share €38m in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research budget.

The package announced by Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education & Youth Mariya Gabriel on June 15 also includes the 7Shield project to improve prevention, detection, response and mitigation of cyber and physical threats to space infrastructure and the Ensures project covering e-commerce and delivery services.

The Impetus and S4AllCities projects are respectively aimed at enhancing the resilience of cities’ infrastructure and services and at protecting citizens in the event of security incidents in public spaces. All five are due to start by October 2020 and run for two years.

Horizon 2020 is contributing €7·7m towards the €9·6m Safety4Rails project, which will be co-ordinated by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute.

Recognising that railways and metros could be an attractive target for cyber and/or physical attacks, Safety4Rails is intended to ‘deliver methods and systems to increase the safety and recovery of track-based inter-city railway and intra-city metro transport’. This could range from cyber attacks such as the WannaCry virus or physical attacks like the Madrid commuter train bombings in 2014 to combined cyber-physical attacks, which the promoters suggest are ‘an important emerging scenario given increasing IoT infrastructure integration’.

The research will focus on rush-hour scenarios where many passengers are using metros and railways to commute or attend mass events, including multi-venue sporting tournaments. In the event of an incident, operators have to consider many aspects of passenger safety and security, ranging from threat analysis and situation awareness to the establishment of crisis communication and communicating any responses to passengers and other organisations.

The project aims to take a holistic approach to incident handling, analysing the cyber-physical resilience of metro and railway systems and providing mitigation strategies for an efficient response, as well as facilitating continuous adaptation to address ‘ever-changing novel emerging risks’. Various proposals will be validated by two rail transport operators and fed back into the design of the final recommendations.

Model Of Critical Infrastructures Reveals Vulnerabilities

An interdisciplinary team of Kansas State University researchers developed a computer simulation that revealed beef supply chain vulnerabilities that need safeguarding — a realistic concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caterina Scoglio, professor, and Qihui Yang, doctoral student, both in electrical and computer engineering, recently published “Developing an agent-based model to simulate the beef cattle production and transportation in southwest Kansas” in Physica A, an Elsevier journal publication.

The paper describes a model of the beef production system and the transportation industry, which are interdependent critical infrastructures — similar to the electrical grid and computer technology. According to the model, disruptions in the cattle industry — especially in the beef packing plants — will affect the transportation industry and together cause great economic harm. The disruptions modeled in the simulation share similarities with how the packing plants have been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When we first started working on this project, there was a lot of emphasis on studying critical infrastructures; especially ones that are interdependent, meaning that they need to work together with other critical infrastructures,” Scoglio said. “The idea is if there is a failure in one of the systems, it can propagate to the other system, increasing the catastrophic effects.”

Full story at Eurasia Review -