MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

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Postby Diverging Route » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:36 pm

At South Station this afternoon I saw the sticker on a 600-series car (didn't get the exact number). I also saw a 900-series car WITHOUT a sticker. So there doesn't seem to be a clear pattern.
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Postby acela 2036 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:48 pm

Diverging Route wrote: I also saw a 900-series car WITHOUT a sticker. So

Not all of the 900 series k cars are participating in the Wi-FI
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Postby danib62 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:54 pm

sery2831 wrote:I was in car 530 today and it has a different wifi set up than the other two cars I have seen. It also is not hooked up. This car has a green box with a PCIMA Sprint Air card sticking out of it! I did not see any type of cards in the other two cars. I wonder what the deal with this car is.
Does anything keep someone from just grabbing the card and sticking it in their own laptop?
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Postby ags » Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:59 pm

Some of the trains only have stickers on one side of the car. Therefore, from looking on the platform, it may appear a car does not have Wi-fi, but the sticker is on the other side??
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Postby sery2831 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:29 pm

danib62 wrote:
sery2831 wrote:I was in car 530 today and it has a different wifi set up than the other two cars I have seen. It also is not hooked up. This car has a green box with a PCIMA Sprint Air card sticking out of it! I did not see any type of cards in the other two cars. I wonder what the deal with this car is.
Does anything keep someone from just grabbing the card and sticking it in their own laptop?


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Postby concordgirl » Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:12 pm

513 was on the 6:20 fitchburg tonight with wifi, my roommate was on gmail chat with me @ waverley :)
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Postby BW » Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:57 am

I haven't been on the forum for quite a while and was very interested in seeing the WiFi topic being discussed.

Three of us MBCR Communications Department Technicians installed the WiFi in half a dozen coaches in the Worcester layover in early December as part of an undisclosed pilot program. I think they picked the Worcester line, quite frankly, because Lt. Gov.Tim Murray rides the line a least one day a week and he probably got to take it for a test drive before it's general release to the public (politics!). The Parvus equipment definitely outperformed the other WiFi equipment evaluated.

Using the coaches we did as installation templates (we did at least one coach of each model), the MBTA has subbed out the continued installation of WiFi equipment to a contractor (not MBCR) which is installing now at the CRMF.

Their initial goal is to get at least one car per set equipped and then install it in each coach. Our initial testing seemed to indicate that even if only one coach per set was hot spot equipped, that the adjacent cars, if not the entire set, had adequate coverage.

This link http://www.mbta.com/riding_the_t/wifi/d ... p?id=14401 , as mentioned earlier in this thread, will show a signal strength graph for each line, though I have no idea who performed the testing.
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Postby bierhere » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:57 pm

Coverage is barely ok in the adjacent cars, once the train gets moving and is certainly not good enough more than 1 car away.

I'm also curious why most of the routers are 802.b only and not b/g. The g protocol has better range than b. I've also noticed that the SID seem to be random. Sometimes its Commuter_Rail_Connect, sometimes its that + the cars #, sometimes something else.

I've also noticed that the connect page is different in each car, which seem weird.

I think to make this work, they are going to need to make 1/2 of the cars enabled.
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Postby theinsider » Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:13 pm

BW wrote:Three of us MBCR Communications Department Technicians installed the WiFi in half a dozen coaches in the Worcester layover in early December as part of an undisclosed pilot program. I think they picked the Worcester line, quite frankly, because Lt. Gov.Tim Murray rides the line a least one day a week and he probably got to take it for a test drive before it's general release to the public (politics!).


It may have been mentioned in this thread or I saw it in the paper, can't remember. But I do remember reading that they reason they said they picked the Worcester line first is that Sprint is currently upgrading their system in the area. Though I am sure the Lt. Gov riding probably played into it.

I have yet to see it installed in a Control car, but saw what appears to be the start on the instalation in one this week. It was a 17XX. No card or boxes but looked to be Cat 5 or similar in the closet.
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Postby sery2831 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:20 am

I have only seen them installed in German cars on the North Side. The 530 car has a different set up than the rest and is not operational.
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Postby ags » Sun Mar 02, 2008 7:16 am

theinsider wrote:It may have been mentioned in this thread or I saw it in the paper, can't remember. But I do remember reading that they reason they said they picked the Worcester line first is that Sprint is currently upgrading their system in the area. Though I am sure the Lt. Gov riding probably played into it.


Sprint's signal strength on the Worcester line has been horrible for years. There are parts of Wellesley and Newton where the signal dies. No matter what -- they are dead spots ... for cell phones and whatever wi-fi is running on their cellular network.
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Postby BW » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:06 am

bierhere wrote:Coverage is barely ok in the adjacent cars, once the train gets moving and is certainly not good enough more than 1 car away.

I'm also curious why most of the routers are 802.b only and not b/g. The g protocol has better range than b. I've also noticed that the SID seem to be random. Sometimes its Commuter_Rail_Connect, sometimes its that + the cars #, sometimes something else.

I've also noticed that the connect page is different in each car, which seem weird.

I think to make this work, they are going to need to make 1/2 of the cars enabled.


bierhere,

I can't attest to the performance of the hotspot coverage while the train is in motion - I only passed on what I observed as we installed the prototypes in the Worcester layover.

Also, why 802.b was selected over b/g, I don't know. We only physically installed the equipent and tested it - MBCR MIS is responsible for the finer details of operation, including SSID selection.

As I said, the plan - as I understand it - is to install in every coach, and no mention was made about excluding control cars. The reason why control cars may not be done yet could simply be the difficullty in getting one for a whole day at CRMF to do the install.
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Postby BW » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:12 am

sery2831 wrote:I have only seen them installed in German cars on the North Side. The 530 car has a different set up than the rest and is not operational.


John,

When we prototyped the installs, we had successful installs in at least one of each series coach, and to my recollection, 530 wasn't one of them. The contractor has installed all but the six or seven we did. Too bad the job got handed off to a contractor to complete as opposed to MBCR craft, IMHO.
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Postby BW » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:18 am

theinsider wrote:It may have been mentioned in this thread or I saw it in the paper, can't remember. But I do remember reading that they reason they said they picked the Worcester line first is that Sprint is currently upgrading their system in the area. Though I am sure the Lt. Gov riding probably played into it.

I have yet to see it installed in a Control car, but saw what appears to be the start on the instalation in one this week. It was a 17XX. No card or boxes but looked to be Cat 5 or similar in the closet.


Insider,

No cat 5 was used in the original installation. From the wireless antenna to the hotspot box was a signal and GPS coax, and again, coax was run to the 802.11 antenna. Not much room available in the cars for the hardware and it needed to be in a spot where a Conductor's bag wouldn't hit it.
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Postby theinsider » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:38 am

BW wrote:Insider,

No cat 5 was used in the original installation. From the wireless antenna to the hotspot box was a signal and GPS coax, and again, coax was run to the 802.11 antenna. Not much room available in the cars for the hardware and it needed to be in a spot where a Conductor's bag wouldn't hit it.


Thanks for the info, I only glanced at it quickly. If I had to guess, it looked to be comming down from the roof antenna. It was then coiled up and there was no hot spot box or anything else installed.
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