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How Public Transit Antenna Solutions Have Evolved

Two busses on street | Public Transit Antenna Solutions | Mobile Mark

Public Transit Agencies have been active users of wireless technologies for many years. From early efforts to monitor/track buses and align transit schedules to more recent efforts to bring onboard wireless services to the public. Their use of wireless has evolved over the years, and the technologies have evolved. As the technologies and applications have advanced, so too have the public transit antenna solutions.

GPS Use in Public Transit Antenna Solutions

The early use of GPS (Global Positioning Systems) was centered more on navigation. The GPS module would communicate with the GPS Satellites, and when sufficient connections (triangulation) were achieved, the driver would be able to pinpoint the bus’s location and the distance to the endpoint. Since bus routes are predetermined, this really only became useful with the early GPS & Cellular combination routers and antennas when the location could be transmitted back to a monitoring location.

Over the years, more capabilities and capacities were added. GPS for location often expanded to include all GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems), and the Cellular element expanded to multiple elements for multiple-input-multiple-output transmissions.
With 2xMIMO or even 4xMIMO, data could be sent more quickly and with a larger capacity.

The Changes WiFi Brought to Public Transit

The addition of WiFi to the wireless offering further expanded the Public Transit Capabilities and public transit antenna solutions. Initially, WiFi was used to upload or download data or instructions when the bus had returned to the Parking Hub. Over time, it expanded to include in-vehicle monitoring of critical components on the bus itself, such as tire pressure or engine temperature.

Offering WiFi to Transit passengers required a leap in WiFi bandwidth, made possible with the addition of multiple WiFi elements in both the Routers and Antennas. Some Transit systems now set up their wireless installations so that some WiFi elements are dedicated to onboard WiFi access for passengers, and other WiFi elements are dedicated to external communications of key Telematics monitoring information. The Antennas optimize this but dividing the elements into those that are installed onboard for smooth connections within the bus cabin and those that are installed externally, on the roof of the bus, for uninterrupted external communications.

How Wireless Systems Are Expanding

The capabilities of Wireless Systems continue to expand, and Public Transportation systems, including both buses and light rail, will continue to enhance their public offerings. Advanced Cellular Routers and Antennas now offer multi-carrier Cellular coverage with MIMO capabilities.

Advanced Routers are increasingly migrating to WiFi6e. This is significant because the frequency bandwidth coverage from WiFi6e is significantly wider than earlier generations of WiFi.

Previously, WiFi operated on the 2.4 & 5 GHz bands, but WiFi6e coverage extends up to 7.2 GHz. With a wider frequency band to draw upon, more data can be sent and sent quickly.

Expanded transmission capabilities through both WiFi and Cellular opens up new possibilities for Public Transit. For example, real-time video monitoring could be added to the bus passenger seating area. In the event of an emergency, the WiFi6e video recorder could capture clear images, and the Cellular 5G MIMO Router could transmit the data rapidly to the Transit monitoring base or the Police.

As Telematics offerings for onboard vehicle monitoring expand, Public Transit fleet management departments will be able to anticipate component failures and prevent in-route vehicle breakdowns, eliminating preventable downtime and passenger inconvenience.

The wireless evolution will continue, and as it does, Public Transit Agencies will find new ways to take advantage of the technologies. And, Router and Antenna Designers will continue to produce new designs and public transit antenna solutions that match the wireless possibilities.


Mobile Mark Antenna Solutions designs and manufactures site, mobile and device antennas for 30 MHz – 6 GHz. Applications include GPS Tracking & Fleet Management, Cellular 4G LTE, 5Gready, WiFi, RFID, Public Safety FirstNet, M2M, Industrial IoT, IoT, Smart City Networks, and Autonomous & Connected Cars. Engineering and custom design services are available. Mobile Mark’s global headquarters, which include research facilities and a manufacturing plant, are located near Chicago, IL. An additional manufacturing and sales facility is located near Birmingham, UK. For further information, visit our website: