Jiangsu provincial government had already offered in-bus 3G/Wi-Fi services in Nanjing city, but commuters did not embrace the service. Because a 3G connection might satisfy a single user, a bus full of passengers could easily suffered network congestion to result in low internet speed.
Recognizing the challenge they were facing, both Jiangsu provincial government and Nanjing city council were looking for a solution that can satisfy passengers’ demands. Thanks to the roll out of high speed 4G network, the Jiangsu government knew that the new technology could help to achieve these goals. They want to use 4G to improve the daily lives of citizens. With the coming 4G services, passengers can enjoy more data-rich services on the bus like watching videos and listening to online music.
In the beginning of 2012, one of the three telecom operators in China, announced nationwide trial run of its free in-bus 4G network service in some major cities. Nanjing was chosen as one of the pilot cities.
． Free Wi-Fi hotspots on the move
． Connect to Carrier-Class LTE/3G broadband Networks
． Stable and high-speed Wi-Fi
． Connectivity for GPS vehicle tracking
． Higher capacity. Majority of capacity had to deliver in 2.4GHz band, with the 5GHz band available for the future growth
． Easy to deploy
． All the access points centrally managed by a simple and robust remote control management system
． LTE-FI in-vehicle access points
． Wireless LAN Controllers
． zCloud Management System
． Fast and reliable wireless connectivity
． All clients able to connect at the highest data rates with strong signals
． Higher speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi to support the distribution of HD (High Density) content
． Elimination of manual management for individual access points
． Easy and cost-effective configuration and installation
The requirement for in-bus Wi-Fi access is simple, reliable and consistent Wi-Fi access to power busloads of passengers. However, delivering a reliable and high-capacity Wi-Fi network on a moving vehicle for dozens or even hundreds of people is a big challenge.
Following a thorough technical and commercial tender process, the telecom operator selected Z-COM LTE-Fi solution for Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers on all their routes throughout Nanjing. The solution is designed specifically for in-vehicle Wi-Fi service. It is versatile, stable, and powerful enough to connect passengers to Wi-Fi. At the end of March 2013, the local telecom operator officially launched the first pilot plan of free bus 4G/Wi-Fi service for in-bus Internet access in Jiangsu Province by completing the first 4G network in the buses of No. 6 route. It also became the first TD-LTE (Time Division Long Term Evolution) technology application projects in Jiangsu civil services.
Access Point Deployment
For the installation location, the LTE-Fi in-vehicle access point was housed in a cabinet behind the driver's seat. The external antenna was installed beside the window for better signal. LTE-Fi in-vehicle access point power runs off the terminal power strips in the back of the cabinet, and the wireless LAN powers up when the bus driver turns on the engine.
Access Point Management
To address ease of use, simplified deployment and centralized management, a Wireless LAN Controller was installed in the operating center of a local telecom operator eliminating the need to deploy Wireless LAN Controllers at each site. It is a centralized controller that automatically configures LTE-Fi in-vehicle access points and provides a central point of configuration, security and network management for the entire Wi-Fi network.
Local telecom operator relies on Wireless LAN Controller to configure individual LTE-Fi device to load balance and optimizes traffic per user. Instead of having one user takes up all the bandwidth, the access point is able to set limit on per user and let access can be evenly distributed across the bus. This kind of control allows to provide very good connectivity to commuters.
With a built-in GPS receiver in the LTE-Fi In-Vehicle Access Points, a bus can be tracked in real-time by sending GPS coordinates over the internet, so the bus’ current position is shown on zCloud. This implementation can reduce costs, enhance mission execution and streamline fleet maintenance, enabling Nanjing bus companies to make more efficient use of their valuable fleet and personnel resources.
The first trial was satisfactory, the IT Manager of the local telecom operator said, “Generally speaking, 40 megabits per second is in good condition. The speed of Z-COM products reach 80 megabits per second at its peak. It’s faster than the previous 3G network. Wi-Fi network transmitted over 500 GB of traffic and 12 GB per hour with clients being able to access the network at the highest connection rates their devices could support. On average, signal strength averaged -50dB or better at all locations on the bus”.
Connecting to 4G is as easy as ABC: get on the bus, enable phone’s Wi-Fi, search for the "CMCC-4G" network, visit a web page and enter the verification code. Then passengers can login and enjoy the free high-speed 4G network with the entire process taking less than 30 seconds.
Installing Wi-Fi on bus lines is an worth of investment of public transit. In early 2014, the local telecom operator signed 4G Wi-Fi exclusive agreement with three Nanjing bus companies to provide Wi-Fi for the city's 7,000 buses. Previously Nanjing has deployed in-bus Wi-Fi service on 150 routes with over 2,300 buses. According to statistics, Nanjing in-bus Wi-Fi service has served nearly two million people per day on average with data flow of more than 8G / car /month.