Wireless and Wireline Solutions Designed for Railway Networks

CommScope is a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communications networks. The trusted partner of railways systems all over the world, CommScope provides mobility solutions that are built to meet the challenging requirements specific to railways.

Rail networks must operate smoothly at any speed, in any location, under any circumstances, and that's why we offer solutions that:

  • Connect railway employees with each other
  • Connect trains to critical automated safety systems
  • Connect passengers to their digital lives, wherever they travel

Our recent acquisition of TE Connectivity's broadband network solutions group means we now offer a more complete suite of fibre and copper solutions to ensure even more reliable, robust and durable wireline solutions.

We give railways the freedom to include advanced network services in existing and new routes. Durable enough to provide decades of reliable operation, our solutions deliver value and performance, even in the harshest environments.

On the rails, wireless solutions must deliver exceptional coverage and capacity, wherever those rails go. That's why railways all over the world can expect more from us.

Our extensive portfolio of wireless in-train and tunnel coverage solutions is built on decades as an industry leader in the wireless technology sector.

Our expertise has helped distributed antenna systems (DAS) evolve from a static, niche solution into a dynamic, responsive way to connect voice and data, even at bullet-train speeds.

Radio signal distribution systems for trains

Through our Andrew solutions portfolio, we have nearly 30 years of experience in providing, installing and managing complex radio signal distribution systems. Major projects have included the ICE high-speed train line in Germany and the Frecciarossa high-speed line in Italy, as well as metro networks in Beijing, Hong Kong, Moscow, Montreal and Rome. We also provided radio frequency coverage solutions to the world's longest railway tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, and CommScope technology has been used to enhance in-train wireless coverage on more than 1,200 trains in Switzerland.

Our solutions include ION™ distributed antennas systems, Node series repeaters, HELIAX® coaxial cables, RADIAX® leaky cables, CellMax® indoor antennas and other passive components.

Wireless coverage for trains and metro systems

Crowded commuter trains and metro systems are a familiar sight in many cities, particularly those with thriving business and commercial centres. Yet, it has become an anomaly of modern life that commuters, who crave wireless communications for personal and business use during their journeys, are left completely unconnected for up to several hours a day. This leaves a largely untapped revenue opportunity for mobile operators but the usual features of urban public transport systems are often the enemy of dependable wireless coverage.

Operators face the challenge of providing wireless coverage in what amounts to high-speed faraday cages, sometimes deep underground or running through many kilometres of tunnels. Even for trains above ground, perfect coverage along the track often does not translate to wireless connectivity inside the train.

In-train repeaters for over-ground wireless coverage

The metalised windows of high-speed train carriages can dramatically reduce wireless signal penetration into train carriages, resulting in spotty coverage and an increase in dropped calls. The velocity of high-speed trains also complicates matters, as wireless signals must be rapidly handed-off between base-stations as the train moves along its route. If this process is not managed correctly it can result in dropped calls or interrupted data connections.

Above ground this lack of connectivity can be overcome by fitting in-train repeaters, which transmit and receive wireless signals to passenger's handheld devices recovering the high penetration loss caused by the carriage's metalised structure to the signal coming from outside.

Underground and metro wireless coverage

The technology required to facilitate wireless communications underground differs from that above ground. Usually distributed antenna systems (DAS) technology is used to cover stations and platforms with coverage in the tunnels provided by radiating cable between the optical repeaters of the DAS system.

Distributed antenna systems (DAS) provide another viable multi-operator solution, covering multiple radio spectrum bands. DAS is also fully compatible with LTE and TETRA, making it suited to supporting high data volumes and public safety transmissions. This is relevant for metro networks, which must handle high volumes of network traffic and ensure safety through robust communications systems.

Distributed antenna systems

Another solution is distributed antenna systems (DAS) which can cover multiple bands across the entire radio spectrum, as well as being a viable multi-operator solution that is fully compatible with the future deployment of WiMAX and LTE. This makes the technology highly suited to both large volumes of data and public safety transmissions. This is particularly relevant for metro networks, which must handle both a high volume of network traffic from commuters, as well as ensuring safety through robust communications systems.

Supporting railway operations communication with GSM-R

In addition to the obvious benefits to commuters who desire uninterrupted wireless network access, wireless coverage in metro networks can also offer a host of capabilities that will help improve railway operations. GSM-R, an industry standard that supports high reliability but has low bandwidth transmissions, can be used for rail operators' communications needs, such as transmissions between the train driver and the dispatcher.

Moving block operations for locating and monitoring trains

Moving block operations are of particular interest to rail companies, which facilitates quicker, more frequent trains by accurately locating and monitoring their positions to the point where they narrowly miss each other, rather than having to occupy specific sections of the track.

TETRA and emergency railway communications

It is critical that railway operators have a robust, secure communications network in place so that they are fully prepared for any emergency, from a fire breaking out on a metro network to a terrorist attack on a mainline train station.

Terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) has become the de facto technology deployed in public safety networks in over 100 countries, and this looks set to continue. Our solutions can support TETRA for critical and emergency communications, ensuring a robust, real-time wireless connection for voice or data.

Benefits of in-train, in-tunnel and in-station wireless coverage

Subscribers benefit from the ability to work or play on the move, operators can harness a new lucrative revenue stream and train operators can promote their networks over those of competitors by advertising their wireless connectivity.


Available White Papers


CommScope Provides Rock-Solid Wireless Coverage at 350km/h 29 September 2017 Italy's primary rail operator, Trenitalia, carries approximately one million monthly passengers between the northern city of Turin and the southern city of Salerno.


Wireless and Wireline Solutions for Railway Networks 29 September 2017 The trusted partner of railways systems all over the world, CommScope provides mobility solutions that are built to meet the challenging requirements specific to railways.