Nokia and Airbus deploy mission critical comms in Gotthard Base Tunnel

Nokia installed a SCADA-based tunnel control system, IT solutions, emergency telephone, PA system and cellular coverage; Tetrapol PMR technology for emergency services provided by Airbus Defence & Space

Nokia and Airbus deploy mission critical comms in Gotthard Base Tunnel

Nokia has completed the installation of a range of telecommunication systems in the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland - the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel - one year sooner than originally planned.

As part of the Transtec Gotthard consortium, Nokia played a pivotal role in the project, deploying the entire communications network that is supporting a range of mission-critical operational and passenger services.

The Transtec Gotthard consortium had overall responsibility for the deployment of the railway infrastructure for the constructor of the tunnel, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of SBB, the Swiss Federal Railways agency.

Nokia was responsible for overall project management, engineering, installation and integration of the complete telecommunications infrastructure in the 57km-long tunnel.

The network encompasses the SCADA-based (supervisory control and data acquisition) tunnel control system and IT solutions, multi-service Ethernet over IP/MPLS (Internet Protocol/Multi-protocol Label Switching) technology, emergency telephone and public address (PA) system.

The solution incorporates wireless networking technologies including GSM-R, 3G/4G and Professional Mobile Radio (PMR) – in this instance, a Tetrapol two-way radio system for use by emergency services.

Tetrapol network for emergency services
The Gotthard Base Tunnel uses the Polycom radio communication system, which is based on Tetrapol technology from Airbus Defence and Space. Due to the tunnel’s length, a secure and stable radio communication system is vital to coordinate the work of emergency services in the event of a technical failure or fire incident.

The police, first responders and ambulance services use the system in the Gotthard tunnel, along with firefighters and Swiss Federal Railways rescue trains. Polycom is a secure nationwide radio communication system for public rescue and safety organisations as well as for operators of critical infrastructures. Polycom covers Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Before the inauguration in the first week of June 2016, the two single-track tunnels had been equipped with the Polycom system. Each tunnel tube has a Polycom radio communication system consisting of two overlapping cells for both tubes. Each cell works independently and is based on nine radio transceiver stations.

Coverage in the tunnel is ensured by a radiating feeder cable that receives the radio signal from two directions. Communication would thus be possible on both sides even if parts of the system were damaged by fire.

The new telecommunications networks are designed to support voice, video and data for mission-critical services with extremely high availability in the challenging conditions of the tunnel. The deployment was accomplished in a short timeframe and under very difficult logistical conditions including a very restricted space.

Patrick Langelaan, head of Global Enterprise & Public Sector, Central Europe at Nokia, said: "We are pleased to have played a central role in what is surely the most complex and sophisticated railway tunnel project in the world. The speed with which the project was completed - a full year ahead of schedule - is testament to the unique expertise that Nokia and our partners in the Transtec Gotthard consortium bring to the table."


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