Trains and rail systems, among the most complex environments for providing wireless network services, are fast becoming priorities for providing reliable coverage because of consumers’ expectation for constant connectivity. CommScope, which through its Andrew Solutions portfolio already has provided connectivity solutions to rail systems throughout the world, has now supplied new coverage and capacity solutions for trains and train tunnels in multiple Nordic countries, enabling commuter access to reliable wireless communications.

"Challenging RF environments such as train cars and tunnels require dedicated coverage systems for supporting wireless signals," said Phil Sorsky, vice president, wireless sales, Europe, CommScope. "Devising the engineering and product solutions that enable wireless communications in such difficult environments is a specialty of CommScope."

Wireless operators are faced with many challenges in providing service along railways, including tunnels and stations that block or restrict signals, high-speed trains that complicate cellular hand-offs, and smartphone users who expect constant access to data services while onboard. Such demands typically require dedicated coverage and capacity solutions to ensure access for commuters and sufficient network capacity for operators.

Wireless operators in Denmark and Finland are utilising the Node AM digital repeater from CommScope, a global leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks, for in-train deployments. Meanwhile, one operator in Norway is deploying CommScope’s ION-M distributed antenna system (DAS), and Node A digital repeater platform for wireless coverage in train tunnels.

In Denmark, CommScope supplied its Node AM in-train repeaters for use by wireless operators with three RF cards in each repeater supporting the 900, 1800 and 2100MHz bands. Thanks to the Node AM’s flexible design, each repeater can easily be extended to support LTE in the 800MHz band.

Node AM in-train repeaters are placed in each train car to effectively manage access to RF signals for passengers. CommScope also supplys Node AM repeaters for use by wireless operators in Finland. There, each repeater has two RF cards; one combined card supporting the standard 900MHz band and GSM-R, and one card for UMTS in the 2100MHz band.

"Multi-operator, multi-frequency band, and multi-technology standard are common scenarios when working on train projects such as these," said Sorsky. "CommScope’s extensive history in bringing wireless coverage and capacity to rail systems, sports stadiums, and other challenging areas helps us manage such complexity."

CommScope’s work in Norway has involved supplying RF equipment for installation in train tunnels, not inside the train cars. The company’s ION-M DAS and Node A digital repeater platform bring wireless signals into the tunnels, making access for train passengers possible.

CommScope’s coverage and capacity solutions currently support CDMA in the 450, 900, 1800 and 2100MHz bands and are also easily extended to LTE 800MHz. ION is an easy-to-scale, fiber-based coverage and capacity solution for indoor and outdoor applications, available in multiple power levels with a unique multi-band, multi- operator platform.

CommScope’s off-air repeaters include a full line of pico and micro class RF enhancers and macro class digital nodes. CommScope’s repeaters provide RF signals for wide area coverage through antennas and are self-diagnosing, self-adaptive and available in multiple power classes.