Huawei and China Mobile recently launched 5G at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Railway Station, which will allow passengers to download a 2GB high-definition film in less than 20 seconds. However, the move has raised concerns about how this new network may play into the growing trend of rail and metro cyber-attacks.
Fifth generation mobile telecoms technology, known as 5G, is expected to be a step-change in mobile networking for both consumers and industry, offering users faster download speeds, lower latency and data sharing in real time.
One of the first groups to access the benefits of 5G are commuters at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Railway Station in China. In February, local telecoms provider China Mobile and electronics manufacturer Huawei launched an indoor 5G digital system at the station that will be fully active by the end of 2019.
Hongqiao station is one Asia’s biggest traffic hubs with over 60 million passengers passing through it every year – that’s around 330,000 users a day. Once fully operational, the new system will see travellers benefit from faster speeds and reduced mobile network congestion; 5G can support around one million devices per square kilometre compared to only around 4,000 for 4G and is also ten times faster.
The launch of 5G at Hongqiao is just the start. It’s widely expected fifth generation mobile networking will in the near future be a catalyst for full digitisation of the rail network, with many countries, including the UK, exploring potential use cases. However, after the 2017 WannaCry attack, which saw hackers incapacitate Germany’s rail network, what cyber security considerations does the updated network pose?