T-Mobile to offer Wi-Fi service on trains

By Derek Sooman on February 17, 2005, 12:14 PM
The thing about being an up and coming IT professional (like me!) is that you often wind up having to commute to where the cool work is. One can often be faced with a long train journey to that interesting workplace that's doing cool stuff with UNIX, or state of the art programming development. Nevermind, with laptops being this cheap and light, why not just take one on the long train journey to help pass the time in a productive manner?

Well, that's OK if the most productive thing you want to do is play Quake for one hour (or however long your trip takes) - but what if you want to catch up with the latest headlines and forum posts at Techspot? Well, in the UK mobile phone provider T-Mobile have the answer. They have recently announced that they will be working to provide the world's first broadband Wi-Fi service on trains. I am so excited I can hardly hold my Dell Latitude notebook in my trembling hands!

Passengers on the express rail service between London and Brighton, one of the busiest railway routes for business people travelling to and from London, will be able to send and receive emails, surf the Internet or connect via VPN to their office, all while travelling on the train.

The Wi-Fi service for commuters from T-Mobile will give passengers the opportunity to have broadband speeds from their Wi-Fi enabled laptops or PDAs for the whole journey between Brighton to London.


The service is made possible by the installation of Wi-Fi access points within the train's carriages, which in turn are connected to a WiMax network running alongside the tracks. These links pass data in both directions at rates of up to 32Mbit/Sec, making this the fastest data link to a train anywhere in the world.

Hopefully, this is the shape of things to come. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that it would be just great to be able to use the internet from lots of different locations, trains being a prime example. Hopefully this service will catch on, and other popular train routes will have internet access available on them as well.

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