The Whitespace concept involves deploying a 5G NR carrier over the GSM-R spectrum on GSM-R sites, which can coexist with the GSM-R system by minimising inter-system interference.This is achieved through advanced scheduling techniques in the base station to protect GSM-R carriers while remaining compatible with standard 5G NR FRMCS handsets and cab radios.

Essentially, unused spectrum available on either side of the carriers which is used locally by the GSM-R frequency plan is made available to FRMCS users, while nominal GSM-R operation remains largely undisturbed.

This will enable a smooth introduction of FRMCS while also allowing the gradual transfer of additional radio resources to FRMCS as GSM-R usage dwindles over time.

Kontron says the concept can lead to major cost savings for infrastructure managers as the incurred investments in GSM-R trackside assets, including transmissions, shelters and masts, can largely be leveraged for FRMCS, leading to minimal operational and financial incremental costs during FRMCS introduction.

The system will allow infrastructure managers to decide if, where and when to invest further in densification of the FRMCS network.