News from BWCS

Austrian Competitor Chooses Nokia for New Train WiFi

Mon 1 Feb 2021

Austrian train operator WESTbahn has chosen Nokia to supply a new “high-performance and high-bandwidth train-to-ground communications solution” across its newly expanded fleet of intercity trains. The move comes as WESTbahn prepares to launch 15 new Stadler trains on its premier Vienna/Salzburg route.

According to Nokia, it will supply, deploy and maintain WiFi access points, intelligent multi-path switching and control systems at WESTbahn’s Operations Control Centre. WESTbahn has been operating WiFi on board its trains since 2011, when it first started competing against ÖBB, the Austrian national train company. For its part, ÖBB has had WiFi on its high-speed RailJet trains since 2010 and it looking to add it to some 900 more S-Bahn services. It is currently available on over 220 CityJets.

Christian Pettauer, CIO at, WESTbahn, commented, “Nokia’s train-to-ground solution delivers the necessary reliability, speed and capacity that our passengers rely on to stay connected – whether their journey is for business or leisure.” Pointing out that the company’s on-board stewards work exclusively from handheld wireless devices, Herr Pettauer, argued out that uninterrupted connectivity is now “absolutely essential” for efficient on-board operations.

WESTbahn started operating services to Salzburg from Wien Westbahnhof ten years ago with a fleet of seven six-car Stadler KISS 1 (4010) sets, containing 501 seats each. It plans to introduce the new 15 KISS 3 trains in the second half of this year. The train company also operates a second line (called WESTblue) from Wien Praterstern (via Hauptbahnhof and Meidling), running parallel to WESTgreen, between St. Pölten and Salzburg.

In a statement, Nokia said it will use intelligent switching – a unique multi-path connectivity algorithm to optimally route traffic – to provide the on-board connectivity. According to the Finnish company these gateways simultaneously connect to multiple local mobile operator networks and maintain high quality on-board connectivity by selecting and aggregating available bandwidth across the best performing channels.

In March last year, Nokia was part of a consortium, along with ENGIE Solutions, that was contracted by the Société du Grand Paris (SGP) to deploy an industrial grade LTE private wireless network for new automated lines of the Grand Paris Express metro. The Paris project will cover over 200km of new lines, 68 new metro stations and all of the metro trains running on Paris metro lines 15, 16 and 17 routes.

According to Nokia, the LTE system will provide critical, high-speed wireless connectivity services that will meet all future Grand Paris Express operational and maintenance requirements. The supplier said it will deploy an LTE private mobile radio solution designed for operational communications and indoor/outdoor connectivity across all Grand Paris Express stations, lines and depots. These include voice, data (file transfer and multimedia support) and video services (transmission, on-board video surveillance).

On-train WiFi services, trackside wireless networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi and on-board entertainment will be the main subjects of BWCS’ WiFi on Trains Conference on November 16th and 17th this year. For information on speaking and exhibiting and the one remaining sponsorship spot at the 2021 event, please contact  .

Please sign up at for the Conference Brochure and our Free News Service.

The 2021 conference ( ) is sponsored by Icomera, Xentrans, Fluidmesh and RADWIN.

One sponsorship position remains open. Anyone interested in this, or in having a small expo stand at the Conference, should contact BWCS.