McLaren helps Network Rail with 5G


McLaren Applied helps Network Rail maintain the railway with 5G connectivity and new Active Antenna

  • British engineering company McLaren Applied enhances connectivity and supports performance across Network Rail infrastructure monitoring trains with combined 5G connectivity software (Fleet Connect) and antenna solution (Active Antenna)
  • Fleet Connect and Active Antenna installed on 14 trains that check the condition of 20,000 miles of track to help run a safe and reliable railway
  • Upload data improvements of up to 1000x compared to previous systems (70MB/s versus 76kB/s), meaning faster, safer maintenance, reduced costs and improved rail operation

McLaren Applied is helping Network Rail maintain the railway following the installation of its F1-derived Fleet Connect software and 5G Edge Active Antenna hardware on 14 of the railway operator’s infrastructure monitoring trains. This first implementation of Active Antenna’ technology in the UK brings a new, simplified approach to on-train connectivity infrastructure and an advanced capability for data offload on the move.

The combined tech solution delivers far greater connectivity and performance, with Network Rail registering upload data improvements of up to one thousand times faster than previous systems, meaning upload speeds of up to 70MB/s per train versus 76kB/s previously.

The UK’s infrastructure monitoring trains travel up and down the country, checking the condition of bridges, tunnels, and viaducts, as well as 20,000 miles of track including signals and level crossings. The New Measurement Train – the most recognisable of Network Rail’s infrastructure monitoring trains – records 60,000 miles of data a year, which can now be easily offloaded via the McLaren Applied solution.

Access to better and more stable connectivity is supporting maintenance, with the monitoring trains reporting back using live data streams, including sensor readings on the track, foliage, and network monitoring. The remote and automated monitoring helps to target maintenance work and run a safe and reliable railway for passengers and goods.

Originally developed for the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula 1, McLaren Applied’s patented Fleet Connect software splits data across networks in real time and reassembles it in the cloud en route to its destination, reducing blackspots and providing a consistent connectivity stream for any moving vehicle in any environment.

Pablo Garcia Lopez, Director, Connected Intelligence Business Unit at McLaren Applied, said: “The roll out of Fleet Connect software and cutting-edge Active Antenna hardware is a great example of how British ingenuity and engineering, along with cross industry knowledge, can solve prominent challenges in the transport sector. The combined technology ensures that infrastructure monitoring trains can quickly and reliably transmit data throughout their journeys up and down the UK.

“Network Rail has demonstrated an open, collaborative mindset in bringing Formula 1-derived software to the rail industry, and we expect further gains over five-year partnership,” Garcia Lopez added.


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