Feeds

Wi-Fi gets on the right track

Arrving on platform one, the mobile hotspot

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Analysis What sort of investment in public transport would make you swap from plane to long haul trains or from car to bus or commuter train? asks Rob Bamforth of Bloor Research.

How about fast mobile data access using Wi-Fi? Mobile users at mobile hotspots. It might be a challenge delivering high bandwidth networking to a moving target - both technical and financial - but at least there's a sitting audience.

For the would-be 'railwarrior', the solution could be at hand, at least if the trial being undertaken by UK train operator, Great North Eastern Railways (GNER) is a success.

GNER, which operates services from London to Scotland along the East Coast main line, are partnering with Swedish company Icomera to provide real-time high speed Internet access to trains. The service will be available to an unlimited number of First and Standard Class passengers, and staff. Icomera, with its Wireless Onboard Internet product, already have experience of running a commercial Wi-Fi service on trains in Scandinavia.

Given the large number of travelers already using laptops on trains, the addition of Wi-Fi makes the travel time even more productive, and provides something that road travel can not. GNER has apparently solved the problem of delivering uninterrupted connection while the train travels at high speeds. Icomera's Wireless Onboard Internet solution provides connection using a combination of GSM and satellite, and automatically selects channels using the most effective multiple combinations to provide 100 per cent access even at speeds over 300kmph.

Subject to the successful outcome of the three-month trial, GNER plans to fit satellite-receiving equipment first to its ten high-speed diesel locomotives and then, early next year, to its fleet of 30 electric engines. GNER plan to be able to offer connectivity all the way along the route from London to Inverness, longer than most laptop batteries, so this could be further encouragement for suppliers of handheld devices capable of lasting all day on a battery.

GNER recognises that their business is moving people from place to place. It isn't aiming to make money from being a Wi-Fi hotspot, - it hopes his new service will encourage more people to travel by train rather than taking the car or a plane.

There are solutions appearing for delivering Wi-Fi access to smaller commercial vehicles too, such as buses, so if governments are looking for ways to encourage more use of public transport, they could look into the possibilities of subsidising services like wireless network access. It's not possible to make a busy bus or train as personal as a car, but they can become a 'vehicle' for aggregating network connectivity.

Trains would need to become more laptop friendly outside First Class - GNER needs to think about installing power points, and not the proprietary sort located in aircraft cabins that force the would-be airborne computer user to shell out £100 or more just to spend seven hours watching DVDs.

Perhaps wireless handhelds would make more sense for 'railwarriors', and 'bus-battlers'. Either way, the value for the technology-toting traveler would be clear. At least they could do something other than playing games on their mobile phone...

...and there's also the prospect of network traffic reducing vehicular traffic. ®

Copyright © 2003, IT-Analysis.com

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
PwC says US biz lagging in Internet of Things
Grass is greener in Asia, say the sensors
Ofcom sees RISE OF THE MACHINE-to-machine cell comms
Study spots 9% growth in IoT m2m mobile data connections
O2 vs Vodafone: Mobe firms grab for GCHQ, gov.uk security badge
No, the spooks love US best, say rival firms
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.