Improving internet access on the move

Dec 08, 2008

The on-board entertainment and internet access enjoyed by train passengers could soon be transformed by new technology developed at the University of York.

Researchers in the Department of Electronics have overcome two of the major technological challenges which severely limit the services currently provided on trains.

In order to offer internet services in any location, trains need to be equipped with a dish, or 'reflector', that both transmits to and receives signals from an orbiting satellite. At the moment this is only possible on a relatively small number of routes where there is sufficient headroom between the carriages and tunnels or overhead cables. Using alternative technology to satellites results in reduced bandwidth and patchy geographical coverage.

A dome-like 'lens', which is much lower in height, is an alternative to a dish but these have previously been very expensive to make and less effective at receiving signals. Dr John Thornton, Research Fellow at the University of York, has developed a much simpler version using common plastics that outperforms those currently available.

The team led by Dr Thornton has also invented a system that will allow a single lens to track more than one satellite at a time, offering train operators increased reliability and the opportunity to offer passengers a much broader range of services.

Dr Thornton said: "There is a growing expectation among consumers that they should be able to enjoy access to the internet and other media wherever they are.

"Providing these services on a moving vehicle such as a train, anywhere in Europe, is a huge technological challenge and that is reflected in the limited number of routes where they are currently enjoyed by passengers.

"Our research should make it far easier for train operators to offer a broader range of internet and live media services in many more locations and at a lower cost."

Source: University of York

Explore further: Researchers evaluate mosquitoes' ability to float on water in order to potentially design aquatic robots

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study finds need for education about online privacy

Feb 17, 2015

The final report of a major national study on how New Zealanders manage their personal information in online commercial transactions, online government transactions and on social networking sites, is being ...

Intel has end-to-end reference model for IoT

Dec 12, 2014

Intel has declared its move to simplify and unify connectivity and security for the Internet of Things. Earlier this week, Intel announced platform, products and expanded company ecosystem designed to speed ...

US penetrated N. Korea computer systems in 2010: report

Jan 19, 2015

The United States secretly penetrated North Korea's computer systems four years ago—a breach that allowed Washington to insist Pyongyang was to blame for the recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures, the New York Times report ...

Recommended for you

Laser weapon system stops truck in field test

16 hours ago

Lockheed Martin's 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system successfully disabled the engine of a small truck during a recent field test, demonstrating the rapidly evolving precision capability to protect military ...

Applications of networked micro-drones

20 hours ago

Micro-drones are already being put to use in a large number of areas: These small aircraft face extensive requirements when performing aerial observation tasks or when deployed in the field of disaster management. A newly ...

Large-surface light-emitting plastic film

Mar 03, 2015

Based on OLED technology and implemented by means of a printing machine, this method developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd provides an opportunity to create patterned and flexible light-emitting ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.