Delivering the best in Metro connectivity
When it comes to Metro cable solutions, we really are the experts in the field with our technology deployed in over 50% of metro systems world-wide. Today, however, we will look specifically at some of our European deployments and how we have helped them overcome particular challenges and deliver a network that suits the needs of customers.
The Glasgow Subway opened in 1896 and is the third-oldest underground metro system in the world after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro. As part of the recent modernization, the communication infrastructure underwent a major upgrade; futureproofing it for years to come. As with all metro installations, upgrading brings with it a number of challenges. The tunnel diameter was extremely narrow (3.35m wide), it was irregular, there were numerous existing cables and pipes, and very limited space between the tunnel walls and the train cars, all making RF propagation difficult.
RFS was selected to deliver the project following benchmarking trials where our RADIAFLEX radiating waveguide, a unique and innovative solution for in-tunnel wireless applications in the 5-6 GHz band, was found to have significantly better performance when compared to alternative solutions. The installation proposed by RFS also involved far fewer active components; the system was able to serve a kilometer distance between access points. This brings two benefits for the Glasgow metro; lower initial costs and a system that will require far less maintenance, reducing total cost of ownership. The cable is designed to sit in tunnels for decades without the need for upgrade or attention, giving the reassurance of a futureproofed solution.
Grand Paris Express
The Grand Paris Express is currently one of the largest transport projects in Europe with plans to lay 200 kilometers of new rail lines and build 68 new stations. As part of the project, The Société du Grand Paris (SGP) is building a private LTE network to support voice, data and video services, onboard trains and in stations including location capabilities.
RFS worked with partners on this project to deploy its flagship RADIAFLEX cable in dual-cable MIMO configurations. This means that end users, with ever increasing connectivity expectations, will benefit from an ultra-high-bandwidth radio network with enhanced throughput everywhere along the new rapid transit lines. Not only does this deployment, like all our in-tunnel installs deliver when it comes to connectivity, the equipment also meets the highest fire safety standards to ensure even in an emergency, communication is possible. RFS cables meet highest fire safety requirements, including European Construction Product Regulation (CPR) to ensure communication when it is needed most.
This project takes us back to 2018, but still stands as a clear demonstration of how we can continue to push the boundaries of the connectivity that is possible within an in-tunnel environment. The Norwegian Ministry of Transport wanted to significantly improve mobile capacity and speeds across the country’s rail network and the Follo Line project acted as a test bed to develop the technology.
RFS worked with Telia, Telenor and Bane NOR to deploy in-tunnel infrastructure capable of delivering a mobile broadband connection. The testing was conducted inside an abandoned road tunnel in Holmestrand, Norway, with RFS deploying its RADIAFLEX radiating cables connected to a radio transmitter with 4G 4x4 MIMO capability. The results achieved approximately 95 percent of theoretical maximum speeds for 4x4 MIMO in the tunnel and broke the world record for in-tunnel download speeds by demonstrating downloads of 560 mbps.
This snapshot of deployments highlights that although metros can be a difficult space for connectivity, the limits of what can be achieved can be constantly pushed and the RFS team is committed to developing solutions that support this.
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