Wi-Fi Service on China's High-speed Trains is Coming
passengers of Chinese high-speed trains will only need to download an App in the railway station to experience free Wi-Fi service. Image: chr.swjtu.edu
Full Wi-Fi service coverage on the mainland's high-speed trains has been through continued development to overcome technical obstacles. Recently, realisation of the far-away Wi-Fi dream is in sight and passengers can soon expect to enjoy Wi-Fi access on their journeys.
Free Wi-Fi service on trains is currently provided by just a few countries in the world including the US and Japan, resulting from technology barriers and huge costs. Within the greater China region, in-train Wi-Fi services currently exist for Taiwan's High Speed Rail as well as Hong Kong's Airport Express. UK, Germany and Singapore, along with mainland China, are also planning to supply the service in 1 to 4 years.
Providing high-speed mobile Wi-Fi access on trains necessitates specific technical requirements that are very different from accessing Wi-Fi in a home or office environment. The stability of the internet connection in tunnels and the interference of mobile and static signals are two such major technical difficulties.
China high-speed railway map Image: BWIP
Collaboration between technology companies, Southwest Jiaotong University and the Ministry of Railways since 2014 has led to improvements during testing. High-speed trains with experimental free Wi-Fi service were presented for display during the ongoing Modern Railway Equipment Fair 2016 in Beijing from June 20 to 22.
Once coming into use, passengers of Chinese high-speed trains will only need to download an App in the railway station to experience free Wi-Fi services, according to China Academy of Railways Sciences (CARS).
So far, the technology in China is still being tested; CARS says it should take 3 to 5 years for the technology to be fully installed on trains.