The Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest and deepest train tunnel through the Swiss Alps, makes exclusive use of South African antenna technology from Poynting Antennas to ensure a seamless digital communication service underground over a route length of more than 57 km.
The R130 billion project was completed recently and consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Switzerland with Italy, as part of the so-called New Railway Link through the Alps.
“We are very proud of the fact that a South African company was chosen as the preferred antenna supplier for this colossal project,” says the CEO of Poynting South Africa, Michael Howard. “For the pan-European project team to choose our antenna, the XPOL 2 v2, as part of their highly sophisticated communications network in the tunnel is significant, as it highlights the competitiveness of our technology.”
According to Howard the XPOL 2 v2 antenna is 4G/LTE and 2G/3G compatible and is also capable of operating over a wide frequency range that caters for the requirements of the many network operators in different countries. “Many competitors have either/or scenarios, but not a versatile antenna that is as robust as ours,” he boasts.
Poynting Antennas has years of experience with the supply of antennas for communications and data transfer. They are developed specifically for tunnels and mining operations. These antennas operate in hazardous mining environments and tunnels where performance and safety are necessary. With up to 250 trains (200 freight trains, 50 passenger trains) per day passing through the tunnel at speeds of up to 200 km/h, engineers and tunnel operators must be able to rely on a seamless and uninterrupted communications service to manage the traffic.
“Our XPOL 2 v2 was specifically developed with this in mind,” says Howard. “The radome is made of the same vandal- and water-resistant material used in our other antennas. It has been extensively field-tested in extreme temper-atures under harsh conditions.” He adds that Poynting was confident the high performance LTE antenna would operate flawlessly in temperatures as low as -40°C, making it perfect for the extreme weather experienced during the winter months in Switzerland.
The antenna is ideal for a wide range of applications, including areas with poor data signal reception, for capacity enhancement in urban and rural areas.
“Being a wideband antenna, the XPOL 2 v2 increases network operator flexibility, as it works on most networks meaning a new antenna is not needed per network operator,” says Howard, adding that this also improves system transmission reliability.