One of the main highlights of this year’s Railway Budget was the free Wi-Fi internet service in the select trains for passangers. Almost a month after the announcement, the Indian government will today inaugurate the service on New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani train. About 50 other trains are likely to get the free Wi-Fi service later this year.
Passengers will be given 4Mbps download bandwidth and 512 Kbps upload bandwidth. The speed may be slow as bandwidth will be shared by all the passengers on the train. According to Nirav Dave, Managing Director, Techno Sat Comm (India) Ltd, the company facilitating the technology, the network can prioritise traffic in case of high demand for bandwidth.
“Critical communication applications like email or online transactions will be given top priority. Video downloads and gaming would be last, if there is a crunch on the bandwidth availability,” Dave is quoted as saying.
“We had done trials with 120 passengers simultaneously accessing different types of Internet services on a 2 Mbps bandwidth and we found that there were no issues as far as download speeds are concerned,” he added. Access to porn sites will also be blocked.
Passengers will be provided internet access via two-way satellite hybrid with 2G/3G and Wi-Fi. The system features on-board satellite tracking antenna, multiband antenna and Wi-Fi broadcasting equipment for on-board last mile connectivity.
“The primary broadband link to back haul the internet traffic is established via satellite and in the event of non-availability of satellite the multi-access router automatically switches from satellite to 2G/3G links to achieve 99 per cent connectivity. The satellite antenna is placed in one of the two power cars of the rake. This is linked through Wi-Fi radios provided outside of each coach. This is further distributed inside the coaches through indoor access point,” says a Hindu Businessline report.
The technology also ensures authentic usage of the free Wi-Fi services. According to the Hindu report, a detail login system has been put in place. To access the service, users will have to enter their mobile phone number, PNR number and IDs such as Aadhar card or voter ID cards. After entering the details, a unique password is sent via SMS on the mobile.
The new Wi-Fi service is definitely a welcome move as it allows passengers, including young students, professionals and others, to stay connected to the web even when travelling. Moreover, it will reduce dependency on telecom operators for staying connected.