A new antenna from HUBER+SUHNER has been launched to improve rail connectivity through the use of advanced dual polarisation antenna technology.
Designed to support potential 4G and 5G high data throughput over the train-to-ground connection, the SENCITY® Rail MIMO+ Rooftop antenna allows passengers to seamlessly carry out their digital activities onboard. This can be achieved by utilising MIMO technology, a function already supported by most modern train radios and by the public cellular network.
Powered by dual polarisation technology (patent pending), the SENCITY Rail MIMO+ Rooftop antenna can connect to the base station infrastructure while on the move with two highly decoupled signal streams, which greatly increases the probability of achieving MIMO conditions. This results in increased average data-throughput, while connected to the public cellular network, by getting the most out of the advanced MIMO algorithms present on radio chipsets. For both passenger connectivity services, as well as signal and control services on the trains, operators will now benefit from increased connectivity speeds throughout the whole journey. A smoother digital experience on-board can be achieved without the need for costly installation of dedicated trackside infrastructure.
“The railway market has been highly anticipating utilising MIMO technology to its full potential since the technology was first introduced with 3G,” said Daniel Montagnese, Head of Product Management Antennas at HUBER+SUHNER. “Since then, railway operators have been faced with the challenge of how to make high-throughput MIMO speeds a reality in train-to-ground communication systems which rely on the public mobile network.”
Montagnese added, “During the design process, we assessed the antennas with drive testing which showed stark improvements in the channel condition number, especially in rural areas. This greatly increases the MIMO probability and leads to much higher overall data-throughput rates. The train rooftop is a complex and challenging environment, therefore robustness is just as important as the performance. The MIMO+ antenna was also designed for high-voltage and high-current protection to ensure that the energy of the catenary line doesn’t pass through the RF cable on the antenna and into the train cabin, which would be disastrous for sensitive electronic equipment and passengers.”