With more rail passengers connecting to onboard Wi-Fi services than ever before, the provision of high-quality Wi-Fi is vital to ensuring customer satisfaction and retention. Modern public transport vehicles are increasingly becoming comparable to mobile offices and living rooms, with passengers expecting to remain productive and entertained throughout their journeys.
Additionally, the use of data by other onboard systems now equals and sometimes exceeds passenger Wi-Fi usage. This is driven by demand as data analytics becomes established – For example, through the use of digital video surveillance systems for incidents and / or train asset monitoring, and remote condition monitoring (RCM) as a tool for digital maintenance.
The Challenges of Maintaining Quality of Service
As the demand and consumption of wireless data continues to increase, transport operators face an ever-expanding challenge in managing overall data usage and supplying an onboard experience to match expectations.
When several passengers browse the internet simultaneously, the onboard connection can quickly get ‘clogged up’. The congested Wi-Fi connection may become slow or unavailable for a majority of users. This inefficient use of the network means increased traffic loads, causing unnecessary excess data usage, resulting in increased data costs, and poor passenger experiences.
It is difficult to realise the onboard network’s maximum potential without putting in measures to proactively optimise the data traffic usage over the network. Latency and jitter sensitive services such as video conferencing and voice calls may be impacted by the heavy traffic load generated using bandwidth-intensive entertainment applications such as on-demand content streaming, potentially leading to a poor end-user experience for passengers wanting to use their journey time productively.
In order to fully optimise the onboard Wi-Fi network, data traffic management methods are therefore invaluable in shaping the onboard traffic according to an operators’ needs.
IcoShape: Connectivity that Works Smarter, Not Harder
Icomera’s user-friendly data traffic management solution, IcoShape, allows transport operators to better control their data costs, optimise the quality of service, and improve passenger satisfaction.
IcoShape detects and classifies traffic by protocol (RTP/HTTP/HTTPS/DNS/SSL/SSH/etc) and by service type (video streaming, VoIP, Social Media etc.) across the total system. This allows operators to then prioritise, throttle and / or block service types using pre-set priorities, as needed.
IcoShape offers transport operators a powerful tool to make the onboard connectivity go further, empowering the transport industry to respond to evolving data needs in a fast, cost-effective and resilient way.
By using intelligent network traffic management to reduce the impact of heavy bandwidth use, transport operators can effectively and transparently…
- Manage data costs through efficient bandwidth usage and reducing unnecessary traffic load
- Improve passenger satisfaction by offering a better onboard Wi-Fi experience to more users at the same time
- Optimise the Quality of Service (QoS) of the onboard network by prioritising traffic for low-latency services
- Reduce bandwidth congestion, jitter, and packet loss
- Ensure business-critical applications run efficiently with low latency
Powerful Monitoring & Seamless Deployment
IcoShape is accessed via ICONIC – Icomera’s suite of advanced cloud-based network monitoring and optimisation tools. Operators can configure Wi-Fi usage rules using the user-friendly web-based graphical interface, monitoring the impact of any configuration changes with real-time reporting on data usage.
What’s more, for ease of deployment, IcoShape has been designed to be fully-compatible with Wi-Fi platform, meaning it can be instantly deployed over-the-air to vehicles that already offer Icomera passenger Wi-Fi.