Internet access on the move for travellers
CM Engineering News Online: 10 September 2005
Because business travellers want to use the same state-of-the-art communication options they can access in their offices and at home, Siemens has developed solutions to meet this demand by offering technologies that make it possible to surf the Internet while sitting in a train or have a cellphone conversation aboard an airliner.
The company has made it possible to enjoy a stable broadband Internet connection aboard a high-speed train through satellite by integrating the broadband network in the passenger railcar and creating an entire management system, including user identification and billing.
In a train travelling at 300 km/h, a data transfer rate of four megabits a second for Website downloads was achieved, which is more than 30 times faster than an ISDN connection with 128 kilobits a second.
The Belgian-French rail company Thalys will be testing the wireless Internet connection for three months in one of the company's high-speed trains. After the project's successful completion, Thalys is planning to equip all of its trains on the Brussels-Paris route with the fast Internet access.
Air travellers too can expect to be talking on their cellphones and surfing the Net in the future, provided their devices are equipped with WLAN, Bluetooth or GSM. The German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Siemens and Airbus have joined forces to build a mobile communications system that combines these different data transfer technologies and contacts base stations on the ground by means of satellites.
An antenna extending along the entire length of the plane's ceiling will ensure mobile communications by phone, PDA or PC for passengers in every seat. WLAN will make it possible for the travellers to access Websites and e-mail accounts, and GSM will ensure they can use their phones. Plans call for this exciting new world of communications to become reality in Airbus planes beginning in 2006, and a first airborne test has already been successfully conducted.