Back in 2010, striving to extend its expertise in mobile communication networks, MERA
engineers partnered with Fraunhofer FOKUS University. Together they were working on the Next Generation Mobile
Network (NGMN) software platform that would be used as a playground by academic and industrial researchers to gain
practical experience with EPC. As a result of this cooperation, MERA signed a client who wanted to develop a GPRS
core solution based on this platform.
The Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) is an international wireless
communications standard for railway communication and applications. It provides a reliable and secure
communication between critical operational rail personnel, enabling data and voice transmission at high speed.
The customer is one of the key figures on the GSM-R market. It provides a wide range of
end-to-end GSM-R solutions from access network of railway communication to GSM-R-related services.
The appearance of next generation of mobile networks fosters mobile communication
technologies to evolve accordingly. This forces GSM-R operators to timely upgrade their environment in line with
the latest standards. With this in mind, the customer commissioned MERA to develop a GSM-R solution using GPRS
core nodes. One of the key requirements was to implement a reliable and stable commercial solution that would meet
the GSM-R specifications.
Using the prototype the MERA team designed SGSN and GGSN nodes that would provide a reliable
career grade solution, compliant with the strict GSM-R requirements for high availability, redundancy, quality,
data rate, and packet loss. MERA also developed a set of protocols and signaling procedures for network interfaces
that would satisfy the 3GPP specifications and the customer needs.
Over a period of 5 years, MERA engineers implemented the following major functions:
- GPRS Core compliance with 3GPP V11
- High Availability and Local/Geo redundancy
- Applications Self-Healing
- Overload protection
- OAM for GPRS Core nodes management
MERA built a complete and flexible GPRS packet core solution. The customer got an added
advantage of using the solution as a redundant framework with the high-availability support. It means that the
platform can be easily extended with new software components, features and services. Due to the modular
programming technique MERA experts used to develop the protocols and features, the new functionality can be reused
to create other new components in the future evolution.
The extended solution has been successfully deployed and installed in the customer’s
live GSM-R network for several mobile operators. Currently, MERA engineers continue working on the project,
extending the functionality of the existing solutions and carrying out a transition from GSM-R to LTE.