null Upgrading communications network capabilities for passenger trains

Upgrading communications network capabilities for passenger trains

Press release 23.04.2021 15.45 fi sv en

A man working in a train. (Photo: Mika Pakarinen, Keksi / LVM)

On 14 April 2021, the Ministry of Transport and Communications organised a round table to discuss the functioning of network capabilities on passenger trains. At the event, the state and companies agreed that a joint plan for the development of network capabilities would be drawn up this year.

The event was attended by representatives of the VR Group, DNA, Elisa, Telia Finland, the Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics FiCom, the Finnish Transport and Communication Agency Traficom, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority HSL, and the Digirail project.

Finland is known for high-quality and comprehensive wireless broadband connections. Consumers want to use broadband networks regardless of time and place. Well-functioning network capabilities also improve customer satisfaction on trains. Network capabilities support location-independent working and environment-friendly mobility. 

In Finland, rail passenger traffic was growing before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in some localities, the functioning of wireless broadband networks faces challenges.

The current capacity of track-side mobile networks is inadequate for a large number of simultaneous users. Moreover, because of its metal structure, the train is not good for penetrating mobile network signals. Mobile network repeaters were installed on trains mainly before the adoption of 4G technology. These repeaters mainly support 2G and 3G networks, which enable calls and data connections that are slower than 4G technology. 

Better network capabilities on trains would require, among others, increased capacity for track-side mobile networks, and the modernisation of on-board mobile network signal repeaters and wireless LANs built inside trains. 

What next?

The event participants will continue their cooperation. The goal is to draw up a plan for developing passenger train network capabilities in 2021. 

Inquiries:

Kaisa Laitinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, +358 40 772 7643, kaisa.laitinen(at)lvm.fi, Twitter @kaisa_laitinen