MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

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MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby MPScan » Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:54 pm

Apparently there is a test in progress. I was skeptical at first when I saw screenshots and got the URL's, but further research shows that this firm, Parvus is a 25 year old company specializing in providing this type of service.

Initial testing is on the Framingham/Worcester commuter rail line. You can find more information here:

Node Listing (notice all the MBTA ones in test):
http://ridernet.parvus.com/wifidog/node_list.php

Splash screen shown to users:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2384/221 ... d8.jpg?v=0

Most importantly, the information page:
http://ridernet.parvus.com/splash/MBTA/

There is an address, wifipilot@mbta.com for comments and questions. They also reference an MBTA.com URL, www.mbta.com/riding_the_t/wifi, that is not yet active.

Should be interesting to see how this plays out!
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Postby Epsilon » Sat Jan 26, 2008 9:29 pm

Hm, that must be the MBTA WiFi network I logged onto the other day- it was on the Greenbush line though.
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Postby l008com » Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:17 pm

That is VERY cool. Makes me wish I had someplace to go on a train :-)
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Postby concordgirl » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:41 am

This would be AWESOME!!! North Side last, though..... ;-)

Wait, just think.... (don't groan, guys ;) )

Does this mean I could post about my train, while I am still on the train???

:-D
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Postby railfan101 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:13 pm

concordgirl wrote:This would be AWESOME!!! North Side last, though..... ;-)

Wait, just think.... (don't groan, guys ;) )

Does this mean I could post about my train, while I am still on the train???

:-D


I do on my Trio daily :P
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Postby Arborway » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:16 pm

concordgirl wrote:Does this mean I could post about my train, while I am still on the train???


Very post-modern. ;)
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Postby concordgirl » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:21 pm

lol Well I just got an iPod Touch for my bday.... ;-) Since that device can do wireless internet, it would be perfect! I just wonder how consistent the service would actually be....
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Postby bierhere » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:33 pm

Globe article:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/01/27/mbta_to_make_wifi_services_available_on_commuter_rail_line/

At least if the trains are now late, I'll have the ability to get some work done.
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Postby concordgirl » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:42 pm

Okay, the article only mentions trains going out of SS.

Maybe later on next year the cattle on the NS will get to use that inter-web thingy :P ;-)
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Postby bierhere » Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:56 am

It works!!!!

I'm on P502 right now, posting. Speed isn't too bad, like a DSL connection. Certainly resonable for sending emails, browsing the web, doing a IM chat. I've hit some deadspots, but overall in 10 minutes of using it, its not bad.

I noticed two router on this mornings train. One with excellent signal, and one with a poor signal.
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Postby Diverging Route » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:59 am

Would those who find the test cars please post the car numbers? That way we can identify them from the outside and give it a try.
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Postby bierhere » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:50 am

Seems like 900 cars. I was on 918. I noticed a little white bell shaped antenna on one end of the car. It was not there on the 700 series cars

I also noticed that 921 had a similar antenna.
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Postby Arborway » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:31 am

I expect the latency to be horrible, but the speed should probably be decent - until the masses start using it which will probably bog it down.

Let's just hope there is some halfway decent port filtering to keep people from running BitTorrent on the way to and from work.
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Postby sery2831 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:23 pm

Has anyone seen any stickers on the cars indicating something like wifi here?
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Postby jgeary27 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:48 pm

The WiFi link under "Riding the T" on their website is working now. You can check out the signal strength tested along your line (all lines, not just Worcester) here:

MBTA Signal Strength Maps

The FAQ says that the routers are enabled regardless of the line the equipment is serving, so if we get a list of equipped cars going, everyone can try it out... although if they are indeed only 900 series cars the Northsiders are out of luck :(

I do enjoy this bit:

Q: Why was the Framingham/Worcester line picked as the primary test pilot?

A: For two reasons. First, it provides one of the best opportunities from a geographical perspective to test Wi-Fi capabilities as it runs from Boston to central Massachusetts (Worcester) through various terrains (hills, wooded areas, etc.) Secondly, we are aware that the Framingham/Worcester trains have experienced significant performance issues due mainly to the owner and operator of the line (CSX). For that, we want to offer Framingham/Worcester customers the first opportunity. Our goal is to roll out Wi-Fi service to all lines once we′re able to perfect it.


Dear Worcester Commuter, since you're going to be late anyway, here, have some free internet! :-D
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