News

And if You’re Going to San Francisco… You Can Now Use WiFi on the Metro

(07 Apr 2021, BWCS Staff)
The San Francisco Metro, due to re-open next month after a Covid-enforced shut-down, will offer WiFi on board its trains and in its stations. Management and maintenance staff at the municipal transport system seized the opportunity to upgrade several services and, with no trains to get in the way, added cellular antennas throughout the tunnels. A spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency confirmed on Twitter that, for the moment, the trains would only offer WiFi and not mobile cellular connections for passengers. In addition to the WiFi installation, the San......

Covid Slows WiFi Expansion on German Trains

(06 Apr 2021, BWCS Staff)
Deutsche Bahn’s impressive investment plans for WiFi on trains have hit a bump in the road. While over 60% of German long-distance trains have now been upgraded for WiFi, the remainder may not be kitted out until 2022 due to Covid restrictions at Deutsche Bahn’s workshops. The impressive number of Inter-City trains currently offering WiFi was recently revealed in Parliament by the federal government's Rail Commissioner, Enak Ferlemann. National train operator, Deutsche Bahn, has been lauded for its investment in on-train WiFi, which is generally viewed as one of the key drivers......

Terrabridge Tested on Trains in Toronto

(15 Mar 2021, BWCS Staff)
RADWIN and BAI Communications have revealed that they have been testing RADWIN’s new Terrabridge Inter-Carriage Link solution on board a Toronto Subway train. According to the Israeli-based broadband wireless solution supplier, the link can offer connectivity speeds of up to 1.5Gbps between cars. The TerraBridge wireless connectivity system operates at 60GHz mm Wave and, RADWIN says, is uniquely designed for rail applications. The company points out that it is so small and light that it can be deployed behind train destination signs, to avoid any visual impact. In addition, the......

WiFi Spreads Across More German Trains

(11 Mar 2021, BWCS Staff)
Privately-owned, German regional train operating company Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn GmbH (ODEG) has announced it will add WiFi to its fleet of Desiro ML trains from December of this year. The company revealed its plans in a note stating that it had won the contract to run services on the Ostseeküste II (Baltic Coast II) network. A spokesperson for ODEG described the WiFi on board service as a “new departure” for the train company. She told BWCS that a contract has just been signed with Austrian company Unwired to upgrade the trains and to supply the WiFi connectivity. Unwired......

5G Trams in West Midlands to Trial GoMedia’s Transport Accessibility Service

(08 Mar 2021, BWCS Staff)
UK-based on-train infotainment provider GoMedia has announced the debut of its Transport Accessibility solution on 5G-equipped trams in the West Midlands. The new 5G services are being tested as part of a trial jointly hosted by West Midlands Metro and West Midlands 5G along with GoMedia and its parent company Icomera. According to GoMedia, Tram Number 35 and a string of tram stops have been equipped with its Transport Accessibility system, which offers assistance to the partially sighted on public transport. The 5G connections are also being used to test access to live on-board CCTV......

RailTel Reveals Plans to Monetise its Vast Indian Rail WiFi Network

(05 Mar 2021, BWCS Staff)
The newly-privatised telecoms wing of Indian Railways, RailTel, has launched a new, paid-for, high-speed WiFi service at over 4,000 railway stations. The scheme is expected to generate extra revenues of Rs15 crore (US$2.05 million) a year and follows a trial of the system in Uttar Pradesh. Last month, the company effectively threw its hat into the ring as a major new telecoms provider in India when it revealed plans to offer high-speed broadband and WiFi services in remote villages. RailTel said it will use its vast fibre-optic network to facilitate fast connections in India’s rural......

New Masts to Boost Mobile and WiFi Services for UK Train Operator

(24 Feb 2021, BWCS Staff)
UK train operator Greater Anglia says it is working with mobile company EE, to improve 4G coverage on the rail network in East Anglia. The train company reports that it has commissioned the installation of new mobile masts covering sections of track where the signal had previously been weak. The plan is aimed at improving the functionality of the on-train WiFi and on-board systems that require a 4G signal. So far, a total of 24 masts have been installed, with a further eleven to follow. The areas of poor coverage which are being addressed are mainly in Suffolk, where eleven new masts are......

Whoosh Launches New Real-Time Journey-Info Dashboard

(12 Feb 2021, BWCS Staff)
UK software creator Whoosh says it has launched its Real-Time Journey Dashboard app, aimed at offering live passenger-to-train operator communications during their journey. According to Whoosh, travellers will be able to scan a unique at-seat QR code which will enable them to access the dashboard and start using it at any time during their trip. Apparently, the dashboard can operate without on-train WiFi and will send the passenger relevant service, station and onward journey information. Riders using the system will be able to request specific station assistance or report any problem......

Japan Leads the Way in More 5G On-Train Trials

(10 Feb 2021, BWCS Staff)
Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo reports that it has been successfully trialing 5G connections on board JR East's high-speed Shinkansen trains. The tests, which were carried out on the ALFA-X1 Shinkansen test train running at 360kmph, apparently confirmed that it is possible to ensure stable mobile communications on Japan’s prized Shinkansen fleet. JR East, which runs trains in Greater Tokyo and the Tohoku region, carried out  the tests on the whole of the line between Tokyo’s Sendai station and Aomori, 575km away at the northern tip of Honshu. During the trial, testers......

Nomad Launches New On-Train Portal

(09 Feb 2021, BWCS Staff)
Newcastle-based on-train WiFi supplier, Nomad Digital, has launched a new on-demand media portal. The Engage Portal, which Nomad says is already in use, delivers on-demand, managed-content directly to the passenger’s device. The launch allows Nomad to offer train operator customers a platform for new services that can be distributed to hundreds of trains, in real-time, maximising existing investments. According to Xavier Champaud, Nomad Digital’s Managing Director, “With our new product, Engage Portal, Nomad has combined an extensive offering that will benefit all......

Austrian Competitor Chooses Nokia for New Train WiFi

(01 Feb 2021, BWCS Staff)
Austrian train operator WESTbahn has chosen Nokia to supply a new “high-performance and high-bandwidth train-to-ground communications solution” across its newly expanded fleet of intercity trains. The move comes as WESTbahn prepares to launch 15 new Stadler trains on its premier Vienna/Salzburg route. According to Nokia, it will supply, deploy and maintain WiFi access points, intelligent multi-path switching and control systems at WESTbahn’s Operations Control Centre. WESTbahn has been operating WiFi on board its trains since 2011, when it first started competing against......

Washington Reaches 100% Wireless Coverage of Metro System

(28 Jan 2021, BWCS Staff)
Just in case you thought nothing much has happened Washington DC recently, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has announced that it has achieved 100% wireless coverage of its underground rail network. Of course, the operator has not done this alone, indeed the main part of the work has been carried out by mobile network partners AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Those passengers not celebrating the announcement, may have been reflecting that it has taken the five organisations involved some ten years to reach this much-promised nirvana.   The final......

ADIF Makes Light of Testing Passenger Data Services

(22 Jan 2021, BWCS Staff)
Spanish rail administrator ADIF has launched a trial of LiFi technology at Málaga María Zambrano station. The move is part of the infrastructure manager’s “Digital Stations” investment programme. Last year, ADIF separately also awarded contracts to telecoms companies to provide WiFi at Córdoba and Sevilla Santa Justa. LiFi is a bi-directional, wireless communications system which transmits large amounts of data using LEDs or infra-red light. Proponents of LiFi argue that it only requires a light equipped with a chip and that data transmission is typically both fast and......

Indian Railways to Launch as a Telecoms Provider in Rural Areas

(18 Jan 2021, BWCS Staff)
RailTel, the soon to be sold-off subsidiary of Indian Railways, has revealed plans to offer high-speed broadband and WiFi services in remote villages. The company hopes to use its vast fibre-optic network to facilitate fast connections in India’s rural hinterland. According to the company, such a move would help to greatly speed up the Prime Minister’s WiFi expansion project – aimed at boosting broadband connectivity nationwide. Demand for WiFi has ballooned since March, with millions of people logging in from their homes for work and education services amid the......

Commuter Trains in Mumbai to Get WiFi

(06 Jan 2021, BWCS Staff)
India’s Central Railway Division has started work on equipping its huge fleet of commuter trains with on-board WiFi services. The operator, one of 18 railway divisions across the sub-continent, said it is “well on the way” to adding passenger WiFi to the 165 trains which run in and around the Mumbai area. Within two months all coaches should be fitted out with the necessary routers to supply on-train Internet connectivity. It is understood that all connections will be made for free and that the contract signed by Central Railways will last for five years. One of the......

SNCF Goes with Icomera for its 203 Train Intercités Fleet

(18 Nov 2020, BWCS Staff)
French train operator SNCF is to deploy passenger WiFi in its 203 Intercity trains and night trains over the next three years. The project, which has been on the drawing board for many months, was finally given the green light this week. Icomera is scheduled to provide the equipment and installation. The French fleet of TGVs are, of course, already equipped with WiFi, however, the Intercités carriages have, until now, been largely bereft of on-train Internet services. SNCF said that the rest of its fleet will now join the trains on routes such as Paris-Clermont-Ferrand,......
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