As many of the world’s rail passengers know all too well, in the main the train isn’t yet a form of transport that can be relied upon for an uninterrupted internet connection – that’s especially true in the case of tunnels, where mobile data is in most cases non-existent. There are exceptions of course: Hong Kong has led the way in this area with internet connections on its metro network for more than 25 years. But for those passengers whom don't have access to such infrastructure there could be some good news ahead, after Norway announced it had taken subterranean internet to the next level with a reported bandwidth speed record.
Bane Nor, with help from the mobile operators Telia and Telenor, has undergone testing in tunnels that returned speeds of 560 megabits per second – the fastest ever achieved in a tunnels, according to the organisations behind it. The Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications-funded work to develop a robust internet network comes ahead of the 2021 opening of the Follo Line Project, which will include a 20-km tunnel that will connect Oslo Central Station and the commuter station, Ski.
A pilot project, Bane Nor and the mobile operators built a network with capabilities that equal 1800MHz and 2600 MHz, technology that Telia said “can be used in all rail tunnels”.
Providing the infrastructure that enabled the train to achieve the record-breaking speeds, four radiating cables were installed inside the tunnel and connected to a radio transmitter with 4G 4x4 MIMO setup – eschewing the traditional one-cable setup present on all of the other world’s networks, said Bane Nor (@BaneNORSF). Also, due to the fact that modern trains in Norway are now fitted with 4G repeaters, the reception is far more reliable than when compared with older rolling stock.
Commenting on the tests that were taken at fixed points and at different speeds on the line, the project director of the Follo Line, Per David Borenstein, said it spelled good news for the future. “Bane NOR are looking forward to offer a high-speed mobile network to our future train passengers. Now we are building a mobile facility with a capacity that will provide good, stable and satisfactory mobile coverage for the many train passengers inside the long tunnel on the Follo Line.”
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