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DB's Laser Tech Boosts Mobile Reception by 100x: A Pilot Project in Bavaria and Berlin

DB's Laser Tech Boosts Mobile Reception by 100x: A Pilot Project in Bavaria and Berlin
photo: Deutsche Bahn/DB's Laser Tech Boosts Mobile Reception by 100x: A Pilot Project in Bavaria and Berlin
05 / 09 / 2023

Deutsche Bahn is piloting a project to enhance mobile phone reception on regional trains in Bavaria and the Berlin/Brandenburg area. For the first time, the company is using windows that have been made permeable to mobile phone signals through laser technology. This modification has led to a 100-fold improvement in mobile phone reception on the train.

The initiative aims to attract further partners from transport associations and public authorities. Currently, passengers using the Südostbayernbahn and those in the Berlin/Brandenburg area (Elbe-Spree network) are the first to benefit, with plans to expand to other regional trains.

Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, DB's Board Member for Digitisation and Technology, stated, "Our experts have worked intensively to ensure that this window-lasering technology can be effectively implemented in challenging railway environments. The results are more than impressive: a 100-fold improvement in mobile phone reception for our passengers. What's more, the technology contributes to resource conservation, as we do not require new train windows. Once treated, these windows permit almost unhindered entry of mobile radio signals from all providers and are compatible with both current and future mobile radio standards."

Evelyn Palla, DB Board Member for Regional Transport, added, "The first passengers in Bavaria and Berlin/Brandenburg can now experience the enhanced mobile phone reception. Through these pilot trains, we aim to demonstrate that innovative technology can make our regional trains future-ready. In collaboration with federal states, we are committed to providing stable internet and reliable telephony across German trains."

It's worth noting that some of Deutsche Bahn's new long-distance trains, like the ICE 3neo and the ICE L, come factory-equipped with windows that are permeable to mobile phone signals.

How the Technology Works:

Train windows traditionally have a wafer-thin metal layer to protect against heat, which hinders mobile phone signal penetration. To address this, the metal layer is laser-treated to create a fine network structure, making it more permeable to mobile signals. This filigree pattern increases the ability of mobile phone signals to reach the train's interior by about 100 times. The millimeter-fine lines minimally affect thermal insulation and onboard comfort and are nearly invisible to the naked eye.

Deutsche Bahn workshops can perform this subsequent laser treatment on train windows. The requisite laser systems are both mobile and flexible.

Source: Deutsche Bahn