Network Testing From A Train Perspective – Something for 2014?

Recently, a German consumer telecoms magazine published their annual network testing results for network operators in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. If you are interested, P3 has a PDF of the article here. Sorry, it's in German only but even if you don't speak the language, the result tables should nevertheless be discernible.

It's good to see that 80% of their drive route in Germany was covered by LTE networks of two carriers and top speeds of beyond 90 Mbit/s were measured. Also it's interesting that network operators now have the tools to minimize call setup times when a fallback from LTE is necessary. While two network operators still have several seconds of additional delay, one network operator has managed to cut that down to a mere 0.2 seconds as I've already noticed myself back in July.

So far, so good. However, when I was recently on a 10 hour train trip through Germany and Austria I was painfully reminded that network coverage along many rail lines is still very far from perfect. This was made even worse by the train not being a high speed train with 2G/3G repeaters inside and unfortunately insulating windows that do not only keep out the heat or cold but also the wireless networks.

So perhaps it would be time to include train trips through the three countries as another testing criteria in such network tests in 2014 to get an idea as a consumer how well different railway lines are covered and what to expect on trains with/without repeaters and insulating windows. Perhaps this would encourage network operators that want to provide quality coverage to do something about the current state of affairs. And trains are usually full of people being bored and wanting to use their mobile devices so it's a strong sales argument!

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