Broadband internet via satellite aboard Thalys trains

Broadband internet via satellite aboard Thalys
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20 May 2008

A project supported by the European Space Agency is now available for connecting to the web and enjoying, while travelling by train at very high speed, all the resources offered on the Internet! Its name is Thalysnet.

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The principle is simple: a satellite-tracking antenna on the roof of the train ensures a permanent link with a telecommunications satellite. The link is then relayed inside the train through wireless access points installed in the ceilings of the carriages.

A great technological achievement: a continuous, two-way link between a train travelling at 300 kilometres per hour and a satellite at an altitude of 36 000 kilometres.

The technology demonstrator was developed with ESA support by the UK-based company 21Net, an operator specialised in providing Internet access via satellite.

A consortium, lead by Nokia Siemens Networks and including 21Net, has now implemented a commercial version of the system on Thalys trains.

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