Never miss a connection again: Satellite antenna promises to keep commuters online for the whole train journey and end patchy coverage
Trains connect to the internet via the masts of regular telephone networksHowever, these can be scarce in both rural areas and alongside railway routesSatellite-based communications could provide a far more reliable connectionScottish experts have developed a flat satellite antenna suitable for use on trains
A prototype satellite antenna has been developed that promises to keep commuters online throughout train journeys — and avoid frustrating disconnections.
WiFi facilities on trains typically connect to regular telephone networks via mobile masts — but these can provide patchy coverage along railway lines.
Satellite connections could provide a more reliable connection on the move.
However, conventional satellite communications dishes are large, heavy and far from aerodynamic — making them unsuitable for mounting onto trains.
Researchers from Scotland have instead developed a flat panel antenna that could easily be added to rolling stock to provide seamless connectivity for passengers.
The research team — who are spinning out in a start-up called Infinect — will be conducting field trials of their antenna later this year with a major rail operator.
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A prototype satellite antenna has been developed that promises to keep commuters online throughout train journeys — and avoid frustrating disconnections, pictured
According to a survey by price comparison website uSwitch, over two-thirds of passengers in the UK find themselves unable to connect to train WiFi.
‘Poor connectivity on journeys is one of the leading frustrations of passengers globally,’ said Samuel Rotenberg, the engineer at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh who helped to develop the antenna design.
‘Today’s users are used to fibre-optic superfast broadband, with 4G connectivity seen as the minimum standard.’