Caltrain Succeeds With High-Speed Internet Connectivity

Caltrain, in conjunction with Intel® Solution Services and Nomad Digital Ltd., is the first rail line in the country to successfully complete a “proof of concept” for wireless broadband access technology that provides continuous high-speed Internet access along a rail line at travel speeds of up to 79 miles per hour. Other rail lines have provided wireless Internet access based on slower communication technologies.

For some time, Caltrain has been seeking technology solutions for providing high-speed wireless access that would give Caltrain passengers uninterrupted Internet links onboard moving trains.

The proof of concept, which was conducted along 16 miles of track between the Millbrae and Palo Alto stations, was deemed a success when multiple people surfed the Internet simultaneously, watched streaming video, answered e-mail and completed a large file download all while maintaining continuous connectivity at broadband speed.

“Caltrain reinvented itself when it introduced faster train service,” said Caltrain Board Chair Ken Yeager. “With this cutting edge technology, Caltrain is poised for future success.”

A seamless broadband wireless network based on WiMAX technology would be a significant customer enhancement because it would allow Caltrain customers to work from their laptops and turn their commute time into productive office time. Caltrain runs from San Francisco through the heart of Silicon Valley, and its customers are very tech savvy, commuting to well-known high-tech and bio-tech companies, as well as world-class universities.

“Intel Solution Services is very pleased to be working collaboratively to facilitate end-to-end WiMAX access in conjunction with Caltrain,” said Vice President, Software & Solutions Group and Worldwide General Manager of Intel Solutions Services Rick Echevarria. “Our commitment to accelerating the adoption of innovative technology to deliver real value to end users is exemplified in this project.”

Intel Solution Services, which is Intel Corporation’s worldwide consulting organization, focuses on driving business transformation and competitive advantage through the practical application of new technologies, giving municipalities and organizations the confidence to innovate. Intel Solution Services has architected a number of successful wireless initiatives around the world to help organizations and municipalities reach new customers, provide better services, and cut costs.

In addition to Intel Solution Services, major technology providers for the proof of concept were United Kingdom-based train communications specialists Nomad Digital, Sensoria Corp. of San Diego and Redline Communications of Toronto.

Nomad provided its innovative mobile communication system which links the train to trackside wireless base stations, with radios located every few miles along the rail line. The company recently helped launch the world’s first broadband wireless service on trains in the UK on the London to Brighton line.

Sensoria, a pioneer in wireless broadband mesh communications, provided the wireless mesh routers which enables connectivity throughout the train and serves as the WiFi access point within each car.

Redline Communications provided the radios that makes the connection between the train and the trackside. The company is a supplier of WiMAX equipment.

With the proof of concept successfully completed, Caltrain will continue work on engineering that’s required before the wireless access can be implemented along the entire rail mainline.

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Intel® Corporation contact: Mark W. Pettinger, 408.765.4970
Nomad Digital Ltd. contact: Nigel Wallbridge, 403.616.2687
Sensoria Corporation contact: Dave Gelvin, 858.673.4460 X12
Redline Communications contact: Carolyn Anderson, 905.479.8344 x333

07/31/06 – rph