New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani becomes India’s first Wi-Fi express

Now, book a berth from Howrah to the capital on India’s first Wi-Fi express.

Starting tomorrow, the New Delhi-Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express will become the country’s first Wi-Fi-enabled train to offer connectivity to passengers free of cost initially.

Currently, tech-savvy commuters access the Net through mobile handsets or by using a broadband stick that plugs into a USB drive. But getting a strong signal throughout a train journey is just too much to ask for. That could change now.

Jagdip Rana, director, Techno Sat Comm, said the technology firm would provide the Wi-Fi solutions so that passengers could experience seamless Internet connectivity of 4MBits/sec without data cards. If all the 250 passengers log in, the minimum speed would be 2mbps, he told The Telegraph.

The facility, which would see India join countries like Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy and Germany, will be extended to other trains, depending on the success of the project.

A railway ministry official said the project’s estimated cost was Rs 6.3 crore, with the satellite link-up accounting for more than Rs 1.75 crore.

“Both business travellers and commuters will be interested in using wireless services on trains as that would enable them to productively use the nearly 24-hour travel and be in touch with the global community,” the official said.

Rana said his firm would use satellites as a primary medium to backhaul Internet traffic from trains to networks. When the train travels through long tunnels or covered stations, the automatic switching technology switches the backhaul link from the satellite to any available terrestrial technology for seamless Internet access.

To access the Internet facility, Rana said, passengers would have to register by providing their PNR number and other details like mobile number, PAN or Aadhaar number. On validation of the data, the log-in ID and password will be sent through text messages to the registered mobile numbers. The log-in ID and password will remain valid for the entire journey.

The Wi-Fi trials were conducted successfully on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express. There are plans to extend the facility to 54 other trains during the current financial year.

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