4G technology redefiningrailway communications

Updated 11 May 2013
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4G technology redefiningrailway communications

Huawei Technologies, China’s ICT major, is on a mission to help governments and transportation authorities understand how a highly secure and reliable communication system is not only crucial to the safety of passengers but will also transform the way railway operators run their businesses for the better.
Dong Wu, vice president, ME Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Technologies, made this observation in a special interview with Arab News.
Dong Wu joined Huawei in 2001 and his key responsibility is to drive the enterprise business in the Middle East market.
His career progressed as a datacom expert leading the global datacom technical sales in Huawei. His valuable contribution was instrumental in laying a solid foundation for Huawei’s MENA datacom market.
He earlier served as the director of datacom for Huawei Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
According to Dong Wu, there will be a greater convergence of mobile and transport communications in the coming years, as the MENA region has become the world’s fastest growing market for rail projects with planned investments in the railway sector of more than $ 250 billion.
An increase in metros, trams and monorail projects will also lead to the rail market almost doubling in size over the next decade, he said, citing a recent MEED Railway Report.

What are the hot railway topics on the agenda in the region?
Over the years, the range of communication solutions for railway has advanced to new heights. From Global Systems for Mobile Communications for Railway (GSM-R), datacom, transmission networks to high speed railway communications (HRC), all of these technologies are experienced by commuters in some form or other when they board the train. While some aspects of this technology may not be visible to the eye, railway communications technology ensures that passengers get from A to B in one piece.
Tell us about your research and development program in relation to railway communications?
Huawei has over 20 R&D centers across the world lending support to its operations. It is also one of the pioneers in ICT for the railway sector. GSM-R (Global Systems for Mobile Communications for Railway) is one of Huawei’s pioneering communication solutions. It is a critical component of railway communications that allows information to be processed from computers in the dispatch room to control train networks and traffic. Without reliable communication between railway traffic controllers and the train driver using GSM-R, the consequences could be disastrous and unthinkable. It has been conducting research in developing GSM-R and other pioneering communication solutions since 2002, with huge investments being made every year. Almost 50 percent of its global resources are dedicated to product development. Huawei’s GSM-R technology is a window on many innovations that differentiates Huawei from the rest of the ICT railway market.

How is Huawei helping to unify the Gulf region through technology?
High Speed Railway Communications (HRC) System is another solution that demonstrates Huawei’s innovative spirit. Based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, also known as 4G technology, LTE helps to define modern railway communications today.
The successful test of HRC on the Maglev train in China is a milestone not only for Huawei but also for railway communications. It demonstrates to the world that Huawei’s HRC systems is not only a pioneering approach to communicating but also has the potential to become a commercial application for a railway system where millions of urban commuters live and move every day.
Some of the successful projects in the region demonstrate Huawei’s innovative spirit in the railway sector for communications technology in the Middle East.
The global ICT vendor was awarded a huge project (in partnership with SELEX Elsag) at the end of 2012 to deploy mobile networks, optical and IP solutions for the Etihad Rail project and is set to connect urban and industrial areas of the UAE and open new links with Saudi Arabia and Oman. The wireless network will guarantee highly sophisticated mobile communications along a 266 km portion of the railway line. Not to forget building the region’s first ever 3G network in 2008 with Etisalat in the UAE and the Dubai Metro that now links up to its 18 stations, allowing passengers and retail owners the experience of Internet access while on-the-move from their smart mobile devices.

How many patents have been awarded to Huawei Technologies?
Huawei Technologies is the main contributor of industry standards with nearly over 18,000 technology patents awarded worldwide, and they continue to reaffirm its strength in delivering future technology-oriented solutions, to serve modern railway communication needs across the globe and the Middle East today. Rolling out over 20 projects around the world covering a total length of 8.000 km of railway tracks in GSM-R, the leading ICT vendor demonstrates its innovative capabilities in a range of communication solutions thanks to its vast experience in wire line, wireless and IP technologies in the telecom market for the past 12 years.
Serving communications network for 45 out of 50 of the world’s top telecom operators in addition to its strong presence in the Middle East with employees of almost 4,000 across 12 countries places Huawei in a unique position to address the railway communication needs of today.
Huawei will continue to demonstrate that its unique position in telecoms will help to develop innovative solutions for communications technology across industries, including modern high speed railways today.


Palestinians in financial crisis after Israel, US moves

Updated 22 March 2019
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Palestinians in financial crisis after Israel, US moves

  • A Ramallah-based economics professor said the Palestinian economy more generally, remain totally controlled by and reliant on Israel
  • Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: The Palestinian Authority faces a suffocating financial crisis after deep US aid cuts and an Israeli move to withhold tax transfers, sparking fears for the stability of the West Bank.
The authority, headed by President Mahmud Abbas, announced a package of emergency measures on March 10, including halving the salaries of many civil servants.
The United States has cut more than $500 million in Palestinian aid in the last year, though only a fraction of that went directly to the PA.
The PA has decided to refuse what little US aid remains on offer for fear of civil suits under new legislation passed by Congress.
Israel has also announced it intends to deduct around $10 million a month in taxes it collects for the PA in a dispute over payments to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails.
In response, Abbas has refused to receive any funds at all, labelling the Israeli reductions theft.
That will leave his government with a monthly shortfall of around $190 million for the length of the crisis.
The money makes up more than 50 percent of the PA’s monthly revenues, with other funds coming from local taxes and foreign aid.

While the impact of the cuts is still being assessed, analysts fear it could affect the stability of the occupied West Bank.
“If the economic situation remains so difficult and the PA is unable to pay salaries and provide services, in addition to continuing (Israeli) settlement expansion it will lead to an explosion,” political analyst Jihad Harb said.
Abbas cut off relations with the US administration after President Donald Trump declared the disputed city of Jerusalem Israel’s capital in December 2017.
The right-wing Israeli government, strongly backed by the US, has since sought to squeeze Abbas.
After a deadly anti-Israeli attack last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would withhold $138 million (123 million euros) in Palestinian revenues over the course of a year.
Israel collects around $190 million a month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through its ports, and then transfers the money to the PA.
Israel said the amount it intended to withhold was equal to what is paid by the PA to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis last year.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes of the fight against Israeli occupation.
Israel says the payments encourage further violence.
Abbas recently accused Netanyahu’s government of causing a “crippling economic crisis in the Palestinian Authority.”
The PA also said in January it would refuse all further US government aid for fear of lawsuits under new US legislation targeting alleged support for “terrorism.”

Finance Minister Shukri Bishara announced earlier this month he had been forced to “adopt an emergency budget that includes restricted austerity measures.”
Government employees paid over 2,000 shekels ($555) will receive only half their salaries until further notice.
Prisoner payments would continue in full, Bishara added.
Nasser Abdel Karim, a Ramallah-based economics professor, told AFP the PA, and the Palestinian economy more generally, remain totally controlled by and reliant on Israel.
The PA undertook similar financial measures in 2012 when Israel withheld taxes over Palestinian efforts to gain international recognition at the United Nations.
Abdel Karim said such crises are “repeated and disappear according to the development of the relationship between the Palestinian Authority and Israel or the countries that support (the PA).”
Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including now annexed east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and Abbas’s government has only limited autonomy in West Bank towns and cities.
“The problem is the lack of cash,” economic journalist Jafar Sadaqa told AFP.
He said that while the PA had faced financial crises before, “this time is different because it comes as a cumulative result of political decisions taken by the United States.”
Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on March 10 to head a new government to oversee the crisis.
Abdel Karim believes the crisis could worsen after an Israeli general election next month “if a more right-wing Israeli government wins.”
Netanyahu’s outgoing government is already regarded as the most right-wing in Israel’s history but on April 9 parties even further to the right have a realistic chance of winning seats in parliament for the first time.
Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since 2014, when a drive for a deal by the administration of President Barack Obama collapsed in the face of persistent Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.