With this laser plan, Deutsche Bahn finally wants to do something about poor cell phone reception on long-distance trains!
Problem: The windows of the ICE and IC cars are covered with a thin layer of metal. They block sunlight, as well as cell phone signals from radio networks. Until now, cell phone signals had to be redirected to the camper using what’s called a “repeater.” To change that, the railways will now laser process 70,000 window panes on 3,300 cars.
Giant project costs: about 50 million euros. Effect: ︎Reception becomes more stable and better because mobile phone signals no longer need to detour through repeaters. In the future, passengers will no longer rely on on-board technology.
What exactly happens when discs are treated with a laser?
During the laser process, a fine pattern is incorporated into the metal plating. The laser can be implemented directly during the production of new parts or later on parts already installed in the train. Thanks to this precise pattern, mobile phone signals reach inside the train about 100 times better than before.
“Once they are laser-powered, the parts allow mobile signals from all service providers and all current and future mobile phone standards into the train almost unhindered,” confirms Daniela Gerd Tom Markotten (49), DB Board Member for Digitalization and Technology.
BUT: Only what is available via the cell phone operator’s transmission towers can arrive.
DB board member Michael Peterson told BILD: “By using laser technology, we are improving mobile reception on trains. Our new ICE trains are already equipped with transparent window panels for mobile communications. This is a real plus point for our passengers when making calls and browsing the Internet.”
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