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PUBLICATIONS 84/2005 MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS FINLAND. On-Train Broadband Feasibility Study

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PUBLICATIONS 84/2005 MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS FINLAND On-Train Broadband Feasibility Study Ministry of Transport and Communications, Helsinki, 2005 DESCRIPTION Date of publication 30 November
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PUBLICATIONS 84/2005 MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS FINLAND On-Train Broadband Feasibility Study Ministry of Transport and Communications, Helsinki, 2005 DESCRIPTION Date of publication 30 November 2005 Authors (from body; name, chairman and secretary of the body) University of Jyväskylä Timo Hämäläinen, Ilari Kotimäki, Tapio Väärämäki Name of the publication On-Train Broadband Feasibility Study Type of publication Report Assigned by Ministry of Transport and Communications Date when body appointed Abstract This feasibility study is concerned with broadband installation in Pendoline trains, the fastest passenger trains in Finland. Particularly in environments where people spend a great deal of their time in, there is a growing need for fast Internet connections. During the last few years, the popularity of train travel in Finland has risen steadily, one of the reasons for this being the possibility to effectively utilize travel time. Many of the passengers are able to work with their laptop almost throughout the train journey, but efficient data communication facilities are needed to achieve the level of office work environments. The participants of this feasibility study included, in addition to the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Institute of Information Technology at the University of Jyväskylä, a group of IT companies and VR (National Railway of Finland). The feasibility study investigated whether it would be technically possible to introduce on-train broadband and whether this would also be economically feasible. Additionally, a survey was conducted to gauge opinions of train passengers about possible broadband connections. The results of the related questionnaire are included with this report. There are two different versions of the final report: public and internal. The public version concentrates on technologies that enable broadband and on passengers' opinions related to broadband. The purpose of this report is to familiarize the reader with the introduction of on-train broadband to Finland. The internal version is more detailed in its treatment of broadband utilization and technical assessment. Keywords train, broadband, broadband feasibility in trains, Pendoline train, technology Miscellaneous Contact person at the Ministry: Mr Kari T. Ojala This report has also been published in Finnish (LVM:n julkaisuja 83/2005) Serial name and number Publications of the Ministry of Transport and Communications 84/2005 Pages, total 36 Distributed by Edita Publishing Ltd Language English ISSN (printed version) (electronic version) Price 8 ISBN (printed version) (electronic version) Confidence status Public Published by Ministry of Transport and Communications Foreword During the past few years the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Finland has very widely looked into the various aspects in broadband: technology, consumers and prices. The present study has a practical approach to the subject, it analyses how broadband technology works in practice, particularly on trains where it is a novelty. The report presents the Finnish rail network and how broadband could be utilised on trains. It discusses the operational aspects of various broadband technologies as well as planned experiments. User opinions were asked of train passengers using a laptop while travelling. The train survey produced important results that will be of good use also in the future. This type of a report lays a good groundwork for further planning and trying of technologies as well as for exploring ways how to bring more benefits to the consumers. By the time of this report s publication further steps in the project will already have been taken and the companies involved in the study together with a couple of other enterprises in the sector will have started the planning work. I would like to thank the initiator of this project and chair of the management group Ilari Kotimäki from the University of Jyväskylä for fearlessly following through the project. Thanks are also due to the representatives of the project financiers: Jere Korkki, IBM; Ben Ginman, Intel; Ville Hellman, Suomi Communications; Tapani Rantanen, Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority; and Pirjo Huttunen, VR. Special thanks are due to the project secretary and author of the report Tapio Väärämäki from the University of Jyväskylä. I would also like to thank the representatives of Digita and Orbis, who joined the project at a later stage, as well as my colleague Seppo Öörni from the Ministry s Transport Policy Department for his valuable comments. The Ministry of Transport and Communications was one of the financiers of the project as well as had a representative in the management group, but the contents and conclusions in the final report are on the sole responsibility of the author. November 2005 Kari T. Ojala 1. INTRODUCTION FINLAND'S RAILWAY NETWORK PENDOLINO TRAIN Train description UTILIZATION OF BROADBAND SOLUTION BROADBAND TECHNOLOGIES IN CURRENT USE AND EXPERIMENTS WITH THEM GSM / GPRS network Edge network G network (UMTS) HSPDA and HSUPA technologies Wireless local area network (IEEE a/b/g) WiMAX network (IEEE ) Technologies suitable for the 450MHz range Satellite link IEEE Mobile Broadband Wireless Access technology Utilization of digital TV network Leak cable Use of several technologies Implementations in other parts of the world ACCESS SHARING IN TRAINS INFORMATION SECURITY TRAIN SURVEY Train survey in detail Discussion of the survey results SUMMARY... 21 1. Introduction Some epochs in the world history have distinctive features. The industrial revolution took hold at the end of the 19 th century. Up to that point, the world population had been living in agrarian societies. Industrial development accompanied by many inventions started spreading around the world. Urbanization became part of the change. In a similar manner, the 20 th century may be viewed as the time of information technology revolution and the rise of Internet. It was just over a hundred years ago when people were pondering about what the life would be like without the inventions of that time which had become part of what was considered to be normal life. Today we talk about Internet in a similar vein, wondering how we could live without a computer and Internet. There are not many professions for which the use of computer and Internet would not be or become necessary in the very near future. We value efficiency, and thus, want to live, work, achieve our goals and spend our leisure time as efficiently and profitably as possible. Our time is characterized by centralization. Jobs are to be found in growth centers and bigger urban areas. This means commuting over longer distances and spending more time for it. The idea of utilizing better the time spent on commuting is now gathering momentum. A clear indication of this is the so-called JOJO project (Flexible Work project by the Ministry of Transport and Communication), which tries to find out how to integrate commuting time to the individual's work time. This would basically mean that once the employee turned on his/her laptop, a train traveler in the case of JOJO, the work day would effectively commence. The use of laptop can be easily justified when we consider working on train. A laptop for many is a welcome travel companion to spend time with during long and often boring trips. For the purpose of writing just a source of power in addition to the laptop battery might be needed, but to be able to work to the full capacity, Internet is needed. Using Internet services through a standard modem is no longer feasible, as the services offered today can hog a lot of bandwidth. An additional problem in trains is caused by becoming disconnected from time to time. Laptops equipped with a GPRS modem are affected the same way as GMS calls, which very often become disconnected in blind spots. To use a laptop in a train necessitates a broadband connection. Broadband is used to transmit data, and enables the use of information and services in information networks. Internationally, broadband is taken to mean a subscriber connection in which the nominal data transmission speed is at least 256 kbit/s. There are many different broadband technologies that can be used for fixed locations. For a train moving from 100 km/h up to 200 km/hr the choice of broadband technologies is limited. For this reason broadband technologies that are also suitable for mobile use have been developed. On-train broadband trials have been conducted in different parts of the world, and these will be given some attention in this report also. Various broadband technologies have been employed, but general solutions are still some way off. The so-called bullet trains plying between Brussels and London have a satellite-based broadband connection, but, being costly, the scheme depends heavily on the European Community support in its funding and thus is not suitable as a general solution. Many things can affect connections in moving trains, and need careful consideration. Today, trains are powered by electricity, and their bodies are well protected. The speed factor is also important. As far as the very north of Europe is concerned, it can be stated, on the basis of Sonera's experiments, that the use of satellites does not seem a practical solution. In this feasibility study we consider on-train broadband solutions, and find out whether on-train broadband is technically possible and economically feasible. In addition, this feasibility study considers the methods by which the introduction of on-train broadband in Finland could be best justified. 2 2. Finland's railway network Finnish railway network is quite extensive, and the track reaches most of the Finnish towns of some importance. The Pendolino trains which are the subject of this feasibility study are used, however, only for those sections where the passenger numbers warrant it. At this point of time, Pendolinos are the most modern trains that belong to VR. They are meant for rapid passenger transport. Travel time is optimized by limited number of stops. The railway map below (Figure 1) gives a good idea about the Finnish railway network and its Pendolino routes. Figure 1. Pendolino routes of the Finnish railway network. Red routes are Pendolino routes. Numbers means number of trips per day. 3 3. Pendolino train As stated earlier, the specific subject of this feasibility study concerns installation of broadband in Pendolino trains. Pendolinos are the fastest trains that VR has, and are marketed as means to travel efficiently and rapidly. The tilting system developed for Pendolinos enables them to round curves much faster than is the case with other train types. Another thing to be noted is that there are considerably fewer station stops scheduled for Pendolinos. These two factors that cut travel time ensure that the time used for traveling is shorter than the time used for it by other train types. This is the reason why Pendolinos are very popular with business travelers. Pendolinos are the top trains on the Finnish railways, and thus the most favored choice of VR for on-train broadband Internet connections. 3.1 Train description The decision to obtain the first Pendolinos in Finland was taken in the so-called fast train project which studied the possibility of speeding up Finnish railway traffic with the help of new trains. Trains with a tilting body, Pendolinos, manufactured by the Italian Ferroviaria company (today known as Alstom) proved to be the most efficient alternative to increase train speeds on the existing railway network. It would have been too costly to construct a separate high-speed railway network, and based on the experiments elsewhere in Europe, it should be possible to travel 40% faster using Pendolino than by a typical train through winding railway sections. Apart from Finland, Pendolinos today are also used in other European countries, among them Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Portugal and France. The type of Pendolino in use in Finland is SM3. Pendolinos acquired by Finland since 1994 have been run on the most important railway sections. Suited for fast travel, Pendolinos are composed of units of six carriages, trainsets , which always remain together, unaltered. This is a great difference when compared with other trains the carriages of which are assembled together for each journey. Pendolino, therefore, is not dismantled except when subjected to maintenance. Of the 15 Pendolino units used by VR at the moment, 13 are employed. Each Pendolino is off the track for a day each week during which it is inspected and maintained for the following run period. For the future Lahti direct railway, 3 extra trainsets have been acquired. These will be taken into use in the beginning of 2006, and the direct rail link will be ready in the beginning of September Currently the number of Pendolino carriages totals 6 x 15 = 90, and after the direct rail link is finished in 2006 this number will increase to 108. Pendolino's side profile is symmetric. This impression is further strengthened by the fact that there is a driver's cabin at both ends of the train. This means that the train does not need to be turned around when the course is switched to the opposite direction. The maximum speed of Pendolino is 220 km/h, but cannot yet be reached in any railway section. The fastest railway section is between Tampere and Helsinki, where Facts: SM3 Pendolino Manufacturer: Alstom Ferroviaria Passenger seats: 309 Carriages per train: 6 Maximum speed: 220km/h Length: 159m Height: ~4m (depending on the measurement point) Weight: 328 tons Power: 4000 kw Number: 15kpl Acquired: First in 1994, the latest already ordered. Pendolinos can move at the speed of 200 km/hr almost throughout the whole railway section. The railway link between Lahti and Helsinki will be the first in Finland where speeds of 220 km/h can be reached. Figure 2. A complete Pendolino train 4 4. Utilization of broadband solution It would not be economically sensible to install broadband in trains for the benefit of passengers only. It would make more sense to utilize the connection for VR's own purposes as well. A continuously available telecommunications link would enable real time implementation of many of the company's activities. At the moment trains and their personnel lack proper telecommunication link during train journeys. For example, to transmit sales and reporting information between a train and a station is possible only during the time the train stands at the station. The basic requirement for telecommunications development is a properly functional telecommunication link with which data can be transmitted from the train to stations at an appropriate time. A broadband connection would enable real time telecommunication, and VR expects it to considerably increase the efficiency of its own activities. The utilization of broadband telecommunications link would not be limited to the development of communications only. To connect the passengers and the train staff, it is necessary to create a wireless local area network within the train. Broadband connection together with the train's internal network can be utilized for countless applications, which might include sales development, safety improvements with the help of video monitoring, or perhaps increasing well-being for the passengers as a result of increased variety of content offering through the video monitors. A fast and reliable Internet access for the passengers would be an important service, and, according to our survey of train passengers, broadband, were it become available, would significantly improve the opportunities for working in the train. The results of the survey are presented in more detail in Chapter 9. Apart from making working in trains more effective, Internet access could be used for reading news, for entertainment, or for playing network games. In other words, Internet access in trains, in addition to improving work opportunities would also bring some longed-for variety into train journeys. The possibility of improving voice communications has been considered also. 5 5. Broadband technologies in current use and experiments with them There are many different options for using Internet on trains. However, there are great differences in their costs and technical features. It is possible to combine different technological solutions, and in practice aiming at a solution that is optimal cost-wise might involve various technologies. In the chapter that follows we consider some of the differences between these technologies, and pay attention to the aptness and feasibility of each for introducing broadband to trains. 5.1 GSM / GPRS network There has been GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) and GPRS (General Packet Radio System) networks in Finland since Today, GSM/GPRS networks cover the whole of Finland leaving only some sparsely populated areas outside their coverage. Due to this extensive coverage of the GSM network, it would be easy to bring telecommunications to trains. The infrastructure for the network is there, and the trains would need only the terminal equipment necessary for the use of the network. The problem in using the GSM/GPRS networks is their data transmission speed, which is not sufficient for today's telecommunications. Data transmission in GSM networks today is mainly through GPRS, the latter being often referred to as the 2.5G technology. It is a packet based technology intended for data transmissions, and offers a maximum speed of 115 kbps. In practice, the equipment available currently allows speeds between 50 and 80 kbps, which only slightly exceeds the data transmission speed achievable with a normal dial-up phone-line modem. In some interviews, IBM representatives have talked about experiments with Internet access on trains through the GPRS technology, but the connection speeds have proved to be too slow to make it a practical proposition. IBM had even tried to combine data streams from several GPRS modems, but the connection speed achieved, 200 kbps, would not even then have sufficed for the simultaneous use of several passengers. VR has also told about its experiments to offer Internet access to train passengers with the help of the GPRS technology. The results of these experiments support those of IBM. Although the connection speeds achieved by GPRS technology are slow in comparison with those achieved by broadband technologies, it is still a good idea to keep in mind the extensive coverage of the GSM/GPRS network. Trains using broadband as the primary means for accessing Internet might experience problems against which it would be wise to take some precautions. One could think of using GPRS as an alternative means of access to be employed whenever the primary means of connection experienced problems. In addition to this, GPRS technology could be used in railway sections where broadband were not available. This would be necessary for example if it were desirable that the train's sales system and diagnostics could communicate with the VR's information system. + The network infrastructure exists, little investment is needed + It could act as an alternative technology in problem situations and for railway sections without broadband - Too slow for the role of broadband - In spite of the extensive coverage of GSM there are areas outside its reach - can become disconnected (in tunnels, for example) 6 5.2 Edge network EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution), known as 2.75G, extends the GPRS technology. With EDGE extensions it is possible to even triple the telecommunication speeds achieved by GPRS. At first, it was thought that EDGE would be strangled between GPRS and 3G. Its future was seen anything but rosy: third generation mobile networks were thought to be the next step of development in telecommunications.
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