PARTNER CONTENT: The joint project “5G-empowered Smart Metro in Guangzhou” by Guangzhou Metro Group, China Mobile Guangzhou Branch and ZTE won “Best Mobile Innovation for Connected Economy” at the 2023 GLOMO Awards during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. As the first experimental application of 5G in the subway industry, this project builds a new application scenario of 5G technology in the subway field, creates a safe, accurate, collaborative and green subway service system with ubiquitous interconnection and holographic perception, and plays an exemplary role on 5G application research for subway passenger service and intelligent operation and maintenance.

The subway is crucial to the transportation system of the city , especially to Guangzhou, which has a population of 20 million. In order to realize the strategic plan for the 5G-enabling industry, Guangzhou Metro launched the private network construction of Line 18 in 2020, which is a demonstration project of the Ministry of Science and Technology. As an important partner of Guangzhou Metro and one of the main members of this project, ZTE is committed to helping Guangzhou Metro realize the comprehensive digital transformation of the subway system. ZTE cooperates with Guangzhou Metro and China Mobile Guangzhou Branch to explore and promote the deep integration of key technologies of next-generation communication network with the subway industry, committed to achieving a comprehensive digital transformation of the subway system.

In the absence of reference cases, ZTE relied on its strong R&D foundation in the communication industry and professional network delivery ability to smoothly sort out the structure of the entire demonstration project, orderly carry out various work and achieve phased results.

Innovative Design

Based on actual business scenario requirements, the project focuses on tackling key technical issues of 5G technology in complex scenarios of high-speed mobile subway. Together with customers, ZTE completes multiple new functions such as 4G/5G integrated access, line level service diversion, station level intelligent and simplified diversion, 5G network slicing for subway service, and service authentication access. By adopting 5G new private network performance optimization schemes such as 5G network slicing for resource guarantee, 750Mb/s uplink rate enhancement, 160km/h high-speed mobile performance guarantee, ZTE deploys a multi-layer cloud side collaborative system architecture to deeply interact and share online data among people, vehicles, operating environment, equipment, and command and scheduling, achieving multiple scenario-based applications such as 5G smart stations, 5G vehicle-ground communication, and 5G digital tunnels.

The project has many first applications in the rail transport industry. The engineers of the project connected the resources of all parties and learned from continuous trial and error. In view of the delivery bottleneck, the team adopted the mode of the parallel temporary scheme and final scheme according to the circumstances, and creatively used multiple project management methods, such as the organization mode matching responsibility and rights, the innovation scheme adapted to local conditions, and customized system tools, to achieve innovative and efficient delivery and meet customers’ needs for rapid network construction.

Ingenious Deployment

One of the key verification directions of the project is the access problem after the transformation of various equipment in the existing metro network to 5G. After sorting out, the project team determined that more than 400 pieces of equipment, such as security access control, station hall escalator, station hall and tunnel camera, gate, would be reconstructed first and then connected to the 5G private network. This project realizes the transformation of all existing network equipment from wired access to wireless access.

At the same time, the project team tried to establish a VXLAN tunnel for access, and carried out multiple joint tests and commissioning with third-party equipment manufacturers. In the end, it not only successfully met the customers’ requirements to ensure that the IP address of the original equipment remains unchanged, but also shortened the customers’ workload of later coordination and maintenance of the network, which was highly recognized by the customers.

End-to-end Value Delivery

The project involves all stations of Guangzhou Metro Line 18 from Xiancun to Panyu Square, with a large number and complex types of equipment, covering almost all fields involved in the communication industry. And the installation and commissioning of all wireless equipment should be carried out without affecting the normal operation of the subway.

In order to ensure that the project is delivered on schedule and to fulfill its commitment to customers, ZTE’s project team is customer-centric and wins customers’ trust with a sincere attitude, diligent spirit, and professional ability. During the delivery of the whole project, the three parties have established a good communication mechanism to jointly cope with various challenges and promote the efficient solution of all problems throughout the project.

Over the past two years, ZTE has been committed to helping Guangzhou Metro achieve automated operation and maintenance, efficient scheduling and management, and higher passenger satisfaction through continuous technological innovation and ingenious network services. Guangzhou citizens and tourists can enjoy a more comfortable, safer, and more enjoyable subway travel experience brought by 5G.

As the first application of the 5G private network in the rail transport industry, this project has important reference significance and value to the comprehensive deployment of 5G technology in other production fields, improving production efficiency in various industries, and accelerating the transformation of social digital intelligence. In the future, ZTE will work more closely with its industrial partners to promote 5G technology applied in more industries, building a win-win ecosystem, and helping the high-quality development of the national digital economy.