Improving QOS on Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod railway
Replacing panel antennas with the VEGA Very High Gain antennas solved on-board cellular service issues along a major railway
The city of Nizhny-Novgorod resides about 350 km east of Moscow at the foots of Ural Mountains. Back in 2018, a new football stadium was built to host some of the football World Cup matches. All those thousands of football fans going from Moscow by train required a reasonable cellular QOS within the train coaches.
A major Russian cellular service provider solved the issue by replacing 60 legacy panel antennas on BTS towers along the route with VEGA very high gain narrow beam antennas.
Prior to installing the VEGA antennas most of this major high-speed rail line had an acceptable 3G (UMTS 2100) and 4G (LTE 1800) signal level only over small fraction of the 350 km track as seen in the drive test results map below:
The situation has improved significantly by replacing legacy panel antennas with a combination of VEGA CP12WB and VEGA CMP12WB very high gain, very narrow beam antennas on the towers along the route. The number of rail track sections showing unacceptably low signal levels inside the train coaches has been significantly reduced to less than 10% of the track length, as can be seen in the following drive test results.
The resulting improvement in overall QOS can be noted in both 3G (UMTS 2100) and 4G (LTE 1800) multiplexed into the VEGA antennas. The resulting improvement stems from the significantly higher gain of the VEGA antennas (23dBi to 28dBi vs 16.5 dBi that the legacy panels had).
It should be noted that the measurements were taken inside closed passenger coaches. Had the measurements been taken on the rail cars roof feeding a repeater, the results would have been even better.
Such a case test shows how relatively low CAPEX solution can improve QOS along a rail track.