Oldest metro system gets much needed modern connections

20 April 2020

London has the oldest Metro system in the world and TfL wanted to introduce Wi-Fi on its network to improve customer experience for the millions of people who use it every day.

It was therefore the ideal choice to design and manage the deployment of Wi-Fi access across the Underground network. Fujitsu worked with partners Installation Technology to design and install a solution for ubiquitous access, Virgin Media to provide high capacity Wide Area Network connectivity, and Cisco to supply network access points compliant with the Underground environment.

The technological complexity of carrying out such a major piece of work up to 200ft underground was daunting and required highly detailed planning. Despite the difficulties, the Fujitsu team mobilised the technology in only four months to deliver the services TfL required.

In addition to the very tight deadline for completing the installation, the other major obstacle to overcome was the limited time available for work teams on a daily basis. They had access to Underground stations for only four hours a day during routine maintenance hours in the early hours of the morning. Moreover, they had to cope with working in highly confined spaces with very stringent fire regulations.

In just four months, Fujitsu designed and launched the service TfL had appointed it to deliver, enhancing the journey to work for millions of commuters. This involved installing on average 14 internet access points for each station to be Wi-Fi enabled.

In the first six months, there were over 100 million user sessions - an average of 800,000 user sessions per day. The project achieved a major milestone towards the London Mayor’s goal of making London one of the world’s most connected cities.

With careful planning Fujitsu were able to design, build and operate a transport communications network able to support the most challenging logistical exercise any city can undertake.

Implementing one of the first underground Wi-Fi services in Europe as required by TfL, has provided a real-time information service to enhance the journeys of customers. In addition, TfL employees are no longer tied to desk based PCs

The solution provides continuous coverage throughout each station, essential to support TfL’s operational systems. The installation has been built with future requirements in mind, providing a minimum capacity of 1GB per second with in-built growth capability of Fujitsu’s team performed a site analysis of every Tube station and used modelling tools to decide where the access points should be situated.