For years, PKP Intercity passengers have struggled with the lack of internet on Pendolino trains. It took a long time, but we finally got the first set of the most expensive train in Poland with Wi-Fi. The contract for the installation and maintenance of the system for 20 Pendolino trains is 13.7 million PLN. In return, passengers will get a well-functioning Internet. Although there may be problems with this …
Alstom is responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the Wi-Fi system in Pendolino warehouses. Internet PKP is free for passengers of intercity trains. Designed with the highest possible reliability and stability. All devices and all cables, among others, meet the strict railway standards set by shock, dust and water resistance. Each of the 20 trains will be equipped with:
- 2 mobile routers with external antennas and SIM cards from several Polish mobile network operators,
- 4 Wi-Fi antennas in each section,
- 7 server cabinets,
- gigabit backbone network,
- a complete backup system that allows remote diagnostics and repairs.
Most importantly, Pendolino trains will work even if one of the Wi-Fi components fails.
Wi-Fi is very fast in Pendolino
The Wi-Fi system installed on the first Pendolino train has already passed all the tests and was made available to passengers. One of the acceptance criteria for the installation was a dynamic load test. The company tested the behavior of the Wi-Fi network with traffic generated by 380 passengers. The internet speed was satisfactory, but we did not know the details of the speeds obtained. However, we do know how Pendolino Wi-Fi works under light load. The following test was carried out with journalists during the first train. 35 Mbit / s for free Wi-Fi is a really good result.
Unfortunately, Wi-Fi doesn’t always work perfectly on Pendolino. While the infrastructure installed on the train is efficient, the limited range of mobile networks can be a problem. The internet may not work in parts of the forest route where the LTE signal is weak. Wi-Fi in Pendolino is connected via mobile networks of Polish operators. PKP Intercity did not directly disclose its cooperation with all four operators, or perhaps only some of them. We were able to observe the connections made by the Plus and Orange networks. As a result, routers installed on trains connect to several networks at the same time and switch between them.
How to check Wi-Fi speed on Pendolino?
A single experiment does not give us a complete picture. The effectiveness of the Internet for the use of PKP Intercity passengers depends on many factors. These include: the number of passengers using Wi-Fi, the strength of LTE network signals received by external antennas, the load of nearby base stations or even the speed of the train. That’s why we recommend you to test Wi-Fi on Pendolino with our FIREPROBE application. The automatic test function allows you to measure internet speed on all train routes at 15-minute intervals.
Passengers may still have problems with voice calls
The problem with Pendolino trains is that they stifle radio signals. This means that passengers have not been able to use the Internet at all. There was no Wi-Fi and the internet provided by the phone did not work. Unfortunately, newly installed devices do not solve the problem with ordinary voice calls. Our phones will still have problems connecting to the operator’s network. However, it is not so bad. People who use Wi-Fi Call can talk using the network available in Pendolino. The rest is the use of instant messaging (for example, WhatsApp or Messenger), which offers both voice and video calls.
When will Wi-Fi be available in every Pendolino crew?
Wi-Fi is currently only available on one Pendolino train. During the planned maintenance work, the new system will be installed in other depots. All work will be carried out in such a way that it does not affect the current schedule. The schedule suggests that half of Pendolino’s warehouses will have Wi-Fi available by next year’s holiday. By November 2019, all EIP (Express InterCity Premium) trains must be equipped with new devices.
Source: PKP Intercity, WP Finanse