On-board Femtocell for Trains

Onboard Femtocell can be a great technology to improve voice calls quality on trains. More and more professionals are choosing to travel by train because it allows them to work, field phone calls and access an Internet connection. As a result, train operators are quickly recognising the pressing need to be able to provide reliable Wi-Fi service on board their trains.

To date, however, there are still some obstacles to achieving maximum productivity while travelling on a train. Phone calls, for instance, are often lost mid-conversation and the Internet connection provided by the majority of train operators, based on 3G/LTE technology, is not fast enough, or reliable either. So what are train operators to do?

Femtocells are very small cellular base stations that can be connected to an Internet connection and create a local area of cellular coverage. Mounting femtocells on a train and connecting them to the train trackside Internet connections enables the passenger’s cell phones to connect to the local femtocells, resulting in reliable calls that don’t drop while on the train.

Clearly, an on-board femtocell solution requires the train to have a broadband Internet connection. Trackside wireless solutions for train to ground communication are today considered the best option to have 50-100 Mbit/sec to a train travelling up to 350 Km/h; trackside Wi-Fi becomes an enabler for on-board small cells and femtocells to improve voice calls.

In the LinkedIn post below, Fluidmesh CEO and Co-founder Umberto Malesci describes how on-board femtocells and small cells can improve the train passenger’s experience and increase ridership for passenger train operators. The article describes also how such a femtocell system can be combined with the train’s trackside Wi-Fi system and leverage the same investment in train-to-ground wireless communication.