MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:43 pm

Humorously WBZ-AM did man-on-the-street interviews with Framingham passengers about the new wi-fi. Out of 4 people they ran soundbites of every single one agitatedly said they'd much rather have the trains actually run on time instead of getting frivolous perks.

:-)
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Postby CSX Conductor » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:59 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Humorously WBZ-AM did man-on-the-street interviews with Framingham passengers about the new wi-fi. Out of 4 people they ran soundbites of every single one agitatedly said they'd much rather have the trains actually run on time instead of getting frivolous perks.

:-)
That's what I said when I first saw the Boston Now articl about it on Monday. $220k could be spent a bit wiser. But then again we're talking about a company which spent a ton of money to "upgrade" the signal system on the Dorchester Branch only to find out that it has many flaws, causing more speed restrictions. :(
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Postby bierhere » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:20 pm

Car 903 had Wifi? Why enable cars that mostly run on the New Colony line? Its seems the 41 cars are basicially all the 900's series cars, they are the only ones I've seen with either signs or antennas.

I think in the long run, it would make sense to find a provider like Bongo is a roaming Wifi provider. This way the T isn't paying for it, and possibily can turn this into a money maker. Its worth 10-20 per month for many people to be able to access the internet on the way to work. I would certainly pay $10 per month ( if it was in every car ).

The thing I find funny about this test, is we can't have quiet cars, but we can have internet cars.
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Postby Arborway » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:26 pm

concordgirl wrote:And I thought it was there expressly for railfanning purposes ;-)


Imagine the awkwardness of looking over to your seat mate only to see them responding to a post you just made!
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Postby concordgirl » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:55 pm

Ooh now that could get interesting ;-)

In all seriousness, though... Has anyone seen any wifi cars on the NS??
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Postby ags » Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:13 am

bierhere wrote:Car 903 had Wifi? Why enable cars that mostly run on the New Colony line? Its seems the 41 cars are basicially all the 900's series cars, they are the only ones I've seen with either signs or antennas.

I think in the long run, it would make sense to find a provider like Bongo is a roaming Wifi provider. This way the T isn't paying for it, and possibily can turn this into a money maker. Its worth 10-20 per month for many people to be able to access the internet on the way to work. I would certainly pay $10 per month ( if it was in every car ).

The thing I find funny about this test, is we can't have quiet cars, but we can have internet cars.


Yesterday, a 2XX series car had the sticker on P531.
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Postby StevieC48 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:44 am

Just think you cna now be on the train and look on MBTA.COM and see that your train your riding on is late lol. :wink:
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Postby theinsider » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:10 am

bierhere wrote:Car 903 had Wifi? Why enable cars that mostly run on the New Colony line? Its seems the 41 cars are basically all the 900's series cars, they are the only ones I've seen with either signs or antennas.


Unless it has changed, the first train from Kingston in the AM turns and makes the first Worcester outbound. So my feeling is that they put this on a few OC sets as well. You will see these WiFi cars all over the place as if the equipment turns get screwed up (break down ect), the trainmaster will send out what ever comparable train set is available. By having 41 cars equiped at this point, on average every set should have one car with WiFi. But again that will change when a car need to be cut etc. By that time maybe they will add it to more cars.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:16 am

Arborway wrote:Imagine the awkwardness of looking over to your seat mate only to see them responding to a post you just made!
Or posting from P522 yesterday immediately after they hit a trespasser @ Newtonville. (Read it last night on the system incident log). :wink:
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Postby jgeary27 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:22 pm

This morning car 913 had it but no sticker (at least not that I could see). It also had a misconfigured router that kept rebooting and killing everyone's DHCP lease.

They are using Parvus' RiderNet hardware, if anyone's interested:

http://www.parvus.com/products/Transportation/StandardProducts/RiderNet3/

Has anyone actually had their browser directed to the MBTA-branded logon/terms of service page yet? I haven't seen it on any of the systems I've connected to.

This morning I did get directed to a RiderNet account logon prompt, but I don't think that was intentional. I think the constantly-rebooting router sent me somewhere it shouldn't have...
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Postby sery2831 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:29 pm

I was looking at the web site for the equipment and noticed it has a GPS built in. So this must be part of the GPS system for the trains they are in the works.
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Postby jgeary27 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:57 pm

I'm guessing besides GPS, these points are key for the T:

* Priority Ethernet Port for On-Board Systems
* VPN/802.11 Support for Data Transfer to HQ Database


Meaning these WAPs also let them connect any random thing they want on the train car back to MBTA HQ. Things like automated announcements, variable message signs, vehicle diagnostics, fare collection remote terminals, etc., could all be updating in real time. If I were the T, I'd think customer WiFi is just a bonus compared to that.

With regard to a pay-per-use model, I don't think that will fly. Most businesses that provide incidental WiFi don't charge for it. There's just too many free options out there to attract many users to a pay service. Why pay the T $10/month forever when I can get an Aircard for $50 -- or better yet, convince my company to give me one for free?

I do think the "sponsorship" model would work for the T. I certainly wouldn't mind clicking through an ad to get internet access. That would also be easier for the T to administer than a bazillion individual accounts and payments.
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not what i see...

Postby railsforroads » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:43 pm

i get this...

Image
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Postby Epsilon » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:28 pm

jgeary27 wrote:Has anyone actually had their browser directed to the MBTA-branded logon/terms of service page yet? I haven't seen it on any of the systems I've connected to.

I have been, when I logged onto it from my iPod touch on the Greenbush line about a week ago (before the announcement, oddly enough). Just a quick message and then it never showed up after that.
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Postby bierhere » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:59 pm

Car 509. First MBB I've seen enabled.
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