Now, a technology to improve Internet access on trains

December 9th, 2008 - 4:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 9 (ANI): In an effort to improve the on-board entertainment and internet access enjoyed by train passengers, University of York researchers have developed a new technology that could not only offer internet and live media services on the move but will not be too harsh on your pocket as well.

With the advent of the new technology, the researchers have overcome two of the major technological challenges, which severely limit the services currently provided on trains.

“Our research should make it far easier for train operators to offer a broader range of Internet and live media services in many more locations and at a lower cost, said the researchers.

In order to offer internet services in any location, trains need to be equipped with a dish, or reflector, that both transmits to and receives signals from an orbiting satellite.

Currently, this is only possible on a relatively small number of routes where there is sufficient headroom between the carriages and tunnels or overhead cables. Using alternative technology to satellites results in reduced bandwidth and patchy geographical coverage.

While a dome-like lens, which is much lower in height, can prove to be an alternative to a dish, but these have previously been very expensive to make and less effective at receiving signals.

But now, Dr John Thornton, Research Fellow at the University of York, has developed a much simpler version using common plastics that outperforms those currently available.

Led by Thornton, the researchers have also invented a system that will allow a single lens to track more than one satellite at a time, offering train operators increased reliability and the opportunity to offer passengers a much broader range of services.

“There is a growing expectation among consumers that they should be able to enjoy access to the internet and other media wherever they are, said Thornton.

He added: “Providing these services on a moving vehicle such as a train, anywhere in Europe, is a huge technological challenge and that is reflected in the limited number of routes where they are currently enjoyed by passengers.

“Our research should make it far easier for train operators to offer a broader range of internet and live media services in many more locations and at a lower cost.” (ANI)

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