Ferrovie del Gargano, one of the largest commuter railroads in Southern Italy, has just launched its new Passenger WiFi Service On-board. The system uses the latest and greatest in passenger entertainment allowing Ferrovie del Gargano to provide one of the most innovative and enjoyable on-board experiences in Europe. The solution uses a hybrid approach combining Fluidmesh Trackside MPLS Network and public LTE. Currently it supports data, VOIP, as well as live video streaming to passengers. The WiFi connectivity is provided free of charge.
The Ferrovie del Gargano project demonstrates how dedicated trackside wireless networks operating at 5 GHz are the most cost effective solution to provide on-board connectivity in areas with limited or no LTE coverage. Leveraging Fluidmesh MPLS Train-to-Ground technology, Ferrovie del Gargano achieved continuous connectivity in areas with limited cellular coverage as well as lower annual recurring expenses associated to cellular data traffic. In fact, most of the data on the network is sent over the Fluidmesh Network on the license-free 5 GHz band.
The on-board system is composed by two Fluidmesh FM4200 MOBI radios per train connected with Fluidmesh high-gain roof antennas. The antennas are based on an innovative 2×2 MIMO multi-element design and supports a 50% wider trackside radio spacing compared to traditional shark fin antennas. The system takes advantage of Fluidmesh proprietary MPLS technology delivering a 0ms handoff time and guaranteeing seamless connectivity up to 250 mph. Fluidmesh base stations are deployed along the track with a trackside spacing up to 5 Km (3.5 miles) delivering 100% coverage and no interruption of service.
“Passengers on-board expect the same users experience they are accustomed to in their workplace or at home” comments Francesco Settimo, Ferrovie del Gargano CIO “Unless a railroad decides to become a real telecom expert and deploy a solution designed for train to ground communications, it is a major challenge to meet passenger expectations.” Mr Settimo adds “Fluidmesh demonstrated a unique expertise in these complex wireless systems and a track record of successful deployments across Europe that nobody else was able to match. We are thrilled with the results.”
Sistel, the system integrator responsible for the roll out, selected Fluidmesh Train-to-Ground Technology after careful considerations. “From early on, it was clear that leveraging a dedicated trackside network in conjunction with an LTE router was going to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for our client compared to a 100% LTE-based solution. We have been impressed by the performance of Fluidmesh technology and by their support and know-how in rail communication. Given the importance and complexity of this project, we were looking for a world class partner and we are glad we went with Fluidmesh for the train-to-ground trackside network. We haven’t found another solution that can match their performance, reliability, and ease of installation” comments Roberto Festa, Sistel project manager.
Fluidmesh Trackside Networks, leveraging an innovative MPLS solution, a 0ms handoff, and a proprietary 2×2 MIMO Antenna technology, are able to deliver up to a Gigabit of usable bandwidth to a train traveling up to 250mph. The system provides the highest performing train-to-ground solution in the industry and has become the leading solution of choice for customers in high-speed rail, commuter rail, and metro systems around the world.