ESA Initiates Satellite Broadband Project For Trains
[Satellite Today – 5-23-08] Thalys high-speed train passengers traveling between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne is now using a combination of satellite and wireless data technology, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced May 22.
The commercial application, dubbed Thalysnet, officially launched May 14. The system was developed by a consortium lead by Nokia Siemens Networks and builds off of work conducted during a 2005 pilot project by U.K.-based 21Net under ESA’s Broadband to Trains initiative.
The 21Net system architecture is based on a two-way Ku-band satellite system that provides connectivity between the Internet backbone and a master server on the train. A hub station provides the connection from the Internet backbone and from the network operations center via the satellite directly to a low-profile tracking antenna on the train. Terrestrial wireless access between the train and available networks is provided when the satellite connection may be obstructed.
Xix trains in the Thalys fleet are equipped with Thalysnet, and the complete fleet of 26 trains will be equipped by October, ESA said.