A team of researchers from the University of Bristol is working on a system to provide 5G broadband wireless links to trains for faster surfing.

The MANTRA (Millimetre-wave Access Networks for TRAinsproject is using 60GHz wireless kit from Blu Wireless Technology in Bristol to provide the gigabit links that will provide each passenger with at least 2Mbit/s bandwidth using standard Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi routers in each carriage are connected to a 60GHz radio transmitter on the train which links to track-side receivers that are placed every 500m. The system was recently demonstrated at the Rail Innovation & Development Centre at Melton in collaboration with rail operator First Group and National Rail, with data rates of 1 Gbps achieved on the test track at speeds up to 90 mph (145 kmh).

In the lab the technology has been shown to work at train speeds of up to 600kmh. You can see more in the video below:

Blu Wireless has raised over £17m from investors including chip designer ARM for its 60GHz modem chip designs. It employs over 55 staff in Bristol and is looking to increase that to 75 by the end of the year.

There is more detail at Blu Wireless’s website.

Nick Flaherty