HomeAccessITV Edgecasting trials start on LNER

    ITV Edgecasting trials start on LNER


    The quality of streaming is not strained – thanks to eCDN

    London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is pioneering the UK’s first edgecasts, a system where people stream TV shows in ultra-high definition without ransacking their personal data savings or crippling the train’s Wi-Fi. 

    Coronation Stream

    The trial service is available to travellers on three electric Azuma trains running between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh. According to LNER’s data rail users now expect to instant flawless connectivity on trains. Its latest intelligence said that for 69% of customers good-quality Wi-Fi is an important consideration for them when choosing how to travel. This Wi-Fi stipulation is even higher among solo travellers, 75% of whom expect instant access, and business travellers, 79% of whom demand office-grade working conditions. When faced with glitchy Wi-Fi, 76% opt to use their own 4G or personal hotspot, while 30% stop using their device altogether.  

    The Wi-Fi’s right

    In order to resolve the Wi-Fi question, LNER has partnered with comms creative Netskrt Systems to run a trial edgecasting network on select railway services. It is the first company in the UK to try this. Now LNER customers can choose from 6,000 episodes of ITV shows, provided they have an ITV Hub account. They then log in to the hub, via LNER’s free onboard Wi-Fi, and pick up the shows, which are delivered from content delivery hubs distributed along the length of the line.

    Latency Island

    The proof-of-concept is powered by Netskrt’s own edge Content Delivery Network (eCDN). This regulates traffic by combining cloud-based machine learning with network-aware edge caching, predicting demand for and storing the content on-board LNER’s Azuma trains. This means customers will have the same high-quality viewing experience they would enjoy at home even when go through tunnels or hard-to-reach network areas. Shows upload while the Azuma trains are on-the-move, meaning that the catalogue is constantly updated and passengers have access to the latest content. Shows are available to watch as soon as they are published on ITV Hub. The only limitation is the quality of the programmes that ITV makes.

    A data remember

    “Edgecasting will dramatically improve onboard entertainment for our customers” said Danny Gonzalez, chief digital and innovation officer at LNER. Critically, storing up data on a content delivery node provides a local ‘warehouse’ for distribution so that Wi-Fi bandwidth isn’t balkanised. “We hope this first-of-its-kind trial lays the foundations for the technology to be adopted across all UK rail operators in the future,” said Gonzalez. LNER is trialling edgecasting technology on select services now. There is more detail on future plans from LNER’s Digital Innovation Roadmap.