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Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing
Volume 2017, Article ID 6802027, 10 pages
Review Article

Wireless Communications in Smart Rail Transportation Systems

1ETSIS Telecomunicacion, Technical University of Madrid, 28031 Madrid, Spain
2State Key Laboratory of Rail Traffic Control and Safety, Beijing Jiaotong University and Beijing Engineering Research Center of High-Speed Railway Broadband Mobile Communications, Beijing 100044, China
3Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Technische Universität Braunschweig, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
4Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Ke Guan; nc.ude.utjb@naugk

Received 25 June 2017; Revised 2 October 2017; Accepted 12 October 2017; Published 5 December 2017

Academic Editor: Ville Syrjälä

Copyright © 2017 César Briso-Rodríguez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Railway, subway, airplane, and other transportation systems have drawn an increasing interest on the use of wireless communications for critical and noncritical services to improve performance, reliability, and passengers experience. Smart transportation systems require the use of critical communications for operation and control, and wideband services can be provided using noncritical communications. High speed train (HST) is one of the best test cases for the analysis of communication links and specification of the general requirements for train control and supervision, passenger communications, and onboard and infrastructure wireless sensors. In this paper, we analyze in detail critical and noncritical networks mainly using the HST as a test case. First, the different types of links for smart rail transportation are described, specifying the main requirements of the transportation systems, communications, and their applications for different services. Then, we propose a network architecture and requirements of the communication technologies for critical and noncritical data. Finally, an analysis is made for the future technologies, including the fifth-generation (5G) communications, millimeter wave (mmWave), terahertz (THz), and satellites for critical and high-capacity communications in transportation.