rail-5G technology launched in the UK

rail-5G technologyevo-rail, part of FirstGroup, has launched its innovative rail-5G technology which powers the on-train Wi-Fi system with over a gigabit of internet data. This will allow passengers to experience unprecedented levels of connectivity, similar to what they would enjoy at home or work. The innovative new system will also offer continuous connection for passengers through tunnels.

“Unlike mobile systems, rail-5G benefits from being designed by railway experts specifically for the railways. The increased bandwidth will, for the first time, provide a significantly improved customer experience for passengers who will now be able to use high-definition video streaming, access office applications, participate in 3D gaming and browse at high speeds, just as they would at home – even when their train is in a tunnel,” Simon Holmes, FirstGroup’s Head of Engineering Digital Communications and Managing Director of evo-rail said.

The rail-5G solution will allow train operators to meet the ever-growing demand for connectivity on the railways by enabling passengers to enjoy activities like 3D gaming, videoconferencing, live sports, streaming and superfast downloads from any device when travelling by train.

rail-5G technology requires a fraction of the power of mobile 4G or 5G but communicates data up to 100 times faster than mobile 4G. It will not only deliver a step change to the customer experience but also has the potential to offer an affordable and safe trackside and train system for key operational improvements.

Developed over the last five years and tested on several operational tracks, rail-5G underwent a large-scale pilot on the Isle of Wight’s Island Line. This has proven that the rail-5G technology can consistently deliver over one gigabit per second (Gbps) throughput to a moving train, whereas currently passengers share a fraction of this capacity.

With the support of Network Rail, evo-rail will roll out rail-5G along 70 km of the South Western Railway network, starting in 2021. Later in the year, evo-rail estimates to also add a major intercity network along with several European ventures.

rail-5G is designed to work on the existing infrastructure with future deployments being self-powered through solar and wind energy, with the ambition of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral communications system by 2025.

The search for the innovative solution began with research at the University of Bristol and progressed to a development with Blu Wireless for the 5G Radio portion of the end-to-end, train and trackside solution.



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