The need for non-stop internet access is reflected by the rise of mobile devices and the popularity of open Wi-Fi networks in restaurants, museums or festivals. One key sector still lagging behind is transport. Industrial Ethernet specialist Electroustic is calling for industry cooperation to make super fast Wi-Fi on trains available to the public.
Electroustic would like to create a coalition between a group of companies, united in the same objective, to promote open Wi-Fi on trains, advise transport providers on implementation and make information publically available for interested parties. Companies who would like to be involved should contact email@example.com.
Unfortunately, there are significant obstacles for a mass implementation of super fast Wi-Fi on trains. Security issues, the complexity of the sector and lack of infrastructure are only some of the hurdles that the UK needs to overcome to remain competitive in Wireless access. According to National Rail, only nine of 25 train operating companies currently provide Wi-Fi on trains.
The good news is that some train operators seem to understand how important super fast Wi-Fi is to their customers. Virgin Trains, for example, has recently announced a new deal with the Department for Transport that guarantees significant improvements on the new West Cast franchise over the next years. Virgin has also expressed its commitment to offering customers free and super fast Wi-Fi.
While commendable, individual initiatives are not enough,” explained Paul Carr, managing director and owner of Electroustic. “Long-term collaboration between the Government, train operators, telecommunications, maintenance and equipment providers is necessary to improve infrastructure and access, and ensure the UK remains competitive in the wireless connectivity arena.
“The US, for example, has already entered the next stage of Wi-Fi and uses a 4G network on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform that can host safety critical communications and enhance passenger service. The UK needs to create a centralised strategy and focus its efforts on building a sustainable, smart infrastructure that can stand the test of time.”
Electroustic believes industry collaboration is essential to ensure Wi-Fi is implemented on a large scale in the transport sector. Infrastructure has to be reliable and robust to offer a fast and secure service. This will result in both increased customer experience and enhanced railway operations. Super fast Wi-Fi can be used for management of onboard services, like catering, as well as technical functions, such as train diagnostics, live streaming or onboard CCTV systems.