NetProbe Drive Test

Comtest Wireless NetProbe Drive Test tests and measures GSM-R quality of service NetProbe data collection backback NetProbe data collection portable trolley

The most powerful way to truly test, measure & monitor rail telecoms operational efficiency

What is a Drive Test?

Drive Tests are essential for measuring and assessing a mobile radio network’s coverage, capacity and Quality of Service (QoS).
They involve the use of highly specialised electronic equipment that measures the mobile network air interface. This can be either installed in a vehicle or used as a portable device.

A typical Drive Test is operated manually, remotely or automatically, along a pre-defined route. It collects and records information relating to the network’s service in a given geographical area. The results are then used to measure QoS against a set of pre-determined KPIs and for diagnostic & troubleshooting purposes.

When are Drive Tests needed for Rail Telecoms?

Modern railways depend on the rail telecoms networks, such as a GSM-R or LTE network, for rail communications. When the rail telecoms network fails and the train receives no signal, it is forced to stop; causing delays, penalties and passenger dissatisfaction.
Drive Tests are critical at all stages of the rail telecoms lifecycle, including:

  • Initial rollout and optimisation – by telecoms suppliers & the rail operator’s rail telecoms & signalling teams
  • Operational performance benchmarking & QoS – by the rail operator’s rail telecoms, signalling & diagnostic teams, as well as by telecoms suppliers & ETCS transport solutions providers
  • Regular monitoring, interference testing & troubleshooting – by the rail operator’s rail telecoms, signalling & diagnostic teams, as well as by ETCS transport solutions providers & telecoms suppliers
  • Operational performance analytics & reporting – by the rail operator’s rail telecoms, signalling & diagnostic teams, as well as by ETCS transport solutions providers & telecoms suppliers

NetProbe Drive Test is the complete Drive Test solution to actively test and measure rail telecoms quality of service.

Choose portable, remote, automated and manually operated systems to collect and analyse rail telecoms performance data (GSM-R, 4G, TETRA, LTE & more) with NetProbe Drive Test

Launched  in 2000, NetProbe Drive Test is the tried and tested, must-have technology for GSM-R troubleshooting and network quality assessment. Drive Test includes all the hardware and software necessary to collect, analyse and report on the data.

Using test trains and trains in normal service, data on time, train geo-location and radio message events can be initiated, collected and collated, as single events or as part of a regular schedule.

This provides the capability to simplify and automate effort intensive tasks (such as UIC test sets or interference and inter-modulation analysis) so that these can be done quickly and efficiently.

Active on-board GSM-R data collection

Engineers and GSM-R operatives can script and collect data from:

  • Cab radios
  • Scanners
  • Odomoters
  • RTPS
  • GPS
  • 2w & 8w mobiles

The range of data collection equipment includes:

  • Racks installed on test trains
  • Trolleys on test or operational trains
  • Portable backpacks on test or operational trains

NetProbe Drive Test Features

  • Dedicated GSM-R/ERTMS asset management platform
  • Radio frequency data collection and analysis
  • 2G, 3G and 4G ready
  • 2W mobiles and 8W cab radio support
  • Wide range of cab radios: Sierra Wireless, Funkwerk, Selex, Triorail and SED
  • Tracing & signalling data storage for many years
  • Full support for UIC O-2475 and O-3023
  • Advanced geo-location and odometry support
  • Wide range of configuration support, from light portables to heavy-duty rack-mounted clusters
  • Software compatible with GSM, GSM-R, GPRS, WCDMA and LTE, as well as 2G, 3G and 4G networks
  • Available standalone or as part of a combined solution
  • Test trains also supplied if required


Once collected, the data is then analysed using NetProbe Analytics, the powerful, proprietary Comtest Wireless software platform.

Comtest Wireless NetProbe active GSM-R monitoring

View real-time data as:

  • Maps
  • Tables
  • Events
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Layers

TETRA module

TETRA is specifically designed for government agencies, emergency services, (police forces, fire departments, ambulance) to communicate using radios as both mobile phones and walkie-talkies.

However, TETRA networks can also provide additional radio coverage for railway organisations in the same way. The lower frequency used by TETRA gives a longer range, which is particularly useful for locations where there is potentially no GSM-R or other telecoms coverage, such as inside tunnels.

The  TETRA module enables rail telecoms operators to test:

  • RF levels
  • quality of service
  • call coverage along the track.

As a result, rail telecoms engineers and managers have access to KPI data including, a wide range of TETRA network parameters and trace information, which can be displayed in a variety of different formats – such as maps, charts and tables. These visual data displays make it easy to monitor quality of service, troubleshoot or identify areas of poor coverage.

The charts can also be added to the NetProbe Enterprise online KPI dashboard, to provide access to the rail telecoms network performance data, 24/7.

Additional services

Comtest Wireless can also supply test trains if required, as well as provide the necessary training, support and maintenance contracts.

Request a demo

Request the NetProbe Active Monitoring datasheet.