In this month’s newsletter we are talking about wireless on transport and the technology challenges that are brought forward by the Internet of Things.
On-board with online?
With poor on-board connectivity a real issue for UK rail travellers, Real Wireless’s CTO Simon Fletcher recently chaired the inaugural Gigabit Train event at TechUK, to discuss the technical and commercial challenges of providing wireless connectivity to trains by 2020. At present just 62% of British rail routes currently have mobile coverage, let alone Wi-Fi, yet the government target is Wi-Fi on 90% of journeys by 2018. Whilst many consumers are unaware of the sheer complexity and expense of providing reliable on-board connectivity, their frustration isn’t without justification: if the population could work as effectively on trains as it does in fixed locations, the UK economy could potentially receive an annual boost of around £40bn.
Rail companies need to take the initiative and lead on developing the business case for improving the standard of on-board connectivity. Real Wireless has previously examined this issue for the RSSB, and found that, done correctly and efficiently, there’s actually a very clear opportunity to build such a business case, though it must look beyond Wi-Fi to mobile connectivity as a whole.
Oliver Bosshard will speaking at the 'Going Underground' event on 25th May on demystifying the wireless solutions and roadmap to 5G in Rail.
Wireless has much to offer the transport sector – improving operational efficiency across all aspects of a transport operation as well as enhancing the passenger experience. But the needs, constraints and regulatory environment of transport differ not just between automotive, sea, rail and air sectors, but also within those industries. The budgeting and planning for a system which will offer the best possible return on investment can prove problematic. And that’s where Real Wireless can help.
Real Wireless is focused on bridging the gap – not only between the users of wireless and the suppliers of wireless systems and services, but also between communications needs and wireless capabilities.
Bad neighbours? A comparison of LPWA technology options
While the carrier community is celebrating the steady arrival of 3GPP sanctioned cellular IoT mainly run over GSM networks, significant interest remains in alternative solutions in the unlicensed space. With some of this interest coming from service providers who lack access to licensed spectrum, it is increasingly emerging from those use cases where the long range, extended battery life, and very low cost of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) wireless technologies is a fundamental necessity.
The key approaches to unlicensed M2M connectivity can be split in to two groups: UltraNarrowBand (UNB) technologies; and those that employ some form of spread spectrum modulation (SSM). Real Wireless recently carried out a study examining both groups to assist users with deciding which option best suits their needs.
The reality is that a SSM LPWA network architecture must be considered a ‘bad neighbour’, and multiple unlicensed IoT networks can only effectively share access to spectrum when they all also share a UNB architecture. Yet given the number of use cases for these technologies, the fact is that they will undoubtedly need to coexist in one location. As a result, this study has significant implications for technology choices in this important growth market.