HS2 infrastructure to allow seamless connectivity

The HS2 project has led the industry with a variety of innovative works and digital transformations throughout its tenure, with a new mobile coverage development set to make waves in the industry. Passengers using Britain’s new high speed rail network will enjoy seamless mobile coverage delivering uninterrupted streaming and calls as trains speed through its tunnels, cuttings, and open sections.

HS2 aim to make the phrase “I’m going into a tunnel, so I might lose you” a thing of the past, allowing passengers to watch movies, get facetime with friends, family or work, or just make calls with a simple device link to the train’s onboard Wi-Fi.

Due to HS2’s line-side signalling being based on radio, this signifies a step-change, requiring a sequence of masts ever two or three kilometres along the route as well as feeder cables running through tunnels. These are picked up by each train’s radio antenna as it travels are up to 225 miles per hour

This method also means that the train will be able to deliver mobile connectivity for passengers. This will be done via the train’s onboard equipment transmitting the passenger signal throughout the train to make the connection seamless. People using HS2 stations will also benefit from this coverage.

The technological infrastructure within the HS2 project has been designed, from its earliest stages, to incorporate technology that can provide seamless and uninterrupted passenger comms. The engineers within the project believe that the train picking up the signal from the railway’s telecoms infrastructure is superior to leaving passenger’s devices to link with each passing mast. This previous method of connectivity would often be prone to the occasional drop-out and reduced bandwidth.

HS2’s head of project delivery for communication systems Richard Kirkham said:

“The massive advantage of taking a clean sheet of paper and developing a new railway network for the 21st century, to operate in the twenty first century, is that we can build in the things people expect, like modern telecoms.

“In practice that means HS2 tunnels, open route sections, stations and trains all include telecoms in their design specification, which enables the railway to operate as a single system.”

Richard also explained how HS2’s design has been developed to provide flexibility to support the full generational range of mobile technologies.

“To accommodate fast moving mobile telecoms technology, we’ve designed HS2 to be flexible so that it can incorporate future generations as well as supporting earlier generations people will continue to use.”

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