Providing reliable wireless coverage inside large buildings can be challenging, but doing so in structures moving at 350km per hour is downright daunting. That is why Telecom Italia called on Andrew Solutions, to provide equipment, commissioning services, and expertise in support of 2G and 3G wireless networks on Trenitalia Frecciarossa high-speed trains in Italy.

As part of the new coverage and capacity project led by Telecom Italia, Andrew’s in-train solution is extending reliable wireless signals to passengers and staff on all 60 Frecciarossa trains. High-speed trains’ metalized windows can dramatically reduce signal penetration into the carriages, resulting in spotty coverage and an increase of dropped calls.

The pure speed of high speed trains complicates the hand-off of wireless signals between base stations, made more complex by the different terrain and rapidly changing outdoor signal levels of the various networks involved. Andrew’s wireless coverage solution is helping produce elongated cells, that reduce the number of handovers required while boosting signal strength within the handover region.

The Frecciarossa high-speed train line is the fastest in Trenitalia’s fleet, with speeds reaching between 300-350km per hour. Installation of the new system on the Trenitalia Frecciarossa high-speed trains was completed in December.

"Though Andrew has an extensive history of supplying wireless coverage and capacity solutions for metropolitan railways worldwide, this is our largest in-train coverage project ever in Italy," said Samuel Buttarelli, director of regional sales, southern Europe, Andrew Solutions. "We are proud to work closely with Telecom Italia in furnishing this solution."

Andrew supplied about 600 Node AM dual band digital repeaters and kilometers of Radiax radiating cable with connectors and accessories, in addition to helping design and commission the wireless coverage system. An Andrew Node AM repeater, pickup antenna for GSM 900 MHz/UMTS 2100 MHz/GPS frequency bands, and meters of Radiax are installed in each Frecciarossa train carriage.