MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

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Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:20 pm

BW wrote: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.

Are you referring to Readville, Southampton Street, or Boston Engine Terminal? "CRMF" is a generic term that applies to all of them.
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Postby BW » Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:16 am

Sorry - more specifically, BET. I think the contractor is doing the work in the coach shop. It would be nice if either an MBTA or MBCR Communications person was involved with some quality control / acceptance process before the 'completed' coaches are returned to service. I'll guarantee there will be no taking a coach out of service simply because the Wi-Fi isn't working (if, in fact, it is reported), and trying to find where a coach is located to work on it when it's in a set in a layover will be nearly impossible.

Oh well...
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Postby mattgould » Fri Mar 07, 2008 8:34 pm

ags wrote:
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.



Folks, you may be interested to know that we (Nomad Digital) have deployed a number of on-train WiFi projects including a pilot with Caltrain and Heathrow Express in the UK.

We have a system that uses multiple networks for backhaul (for example: Sprint + Verizon) so that any holes in one network are seamlessly covered by the other. We have also integrated WiMAX for backhaul to provide very high bandwidth WiFi service to passengers.

FYI, here is some material from our recent pilot with the Stockholm transit authority which used three 3G networks and WiMAX for backhaul:
http://www.uknomad.com/news_details15.html
http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/news/article.php/3731991

We're always happy to help MBTA and you (passengers) with an improved service if the will is there.

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Postby BW » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:58 am

theinsider wrote:
BW wrote:Insider,


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.



Well, I have to believe the cabling from the outside antenna into the coach is coaxial (probably two - one for wifi and one for GPS [not the GPS sign system, though - spared out for the time being]).

We spent quite a bit of time engineering the placement of the outside antennas and routing of the cables to try and minimize damage from wind, vibration and debris impact. Internally, we did the same concerning cabling, equipment and antenna placement to minimize damage from vibration, maintenance accessibility and crew storage needs. I've heard the installing contractor is not following our example (probably because it takes more time) which means higher repair incidents and, on the plus side, job security for me and my department, but from a rider perspective, possibly inconsistent service.
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Postby BW » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:56 am

MBTA3247 wrote:[Are you referring to Readville, Southampton Street, or Boston Engine Terminal? "CRMF" is a generic term that applies to all of them.


In actuality, Readville and Widett (Southampton) are service and inspection ("S&I") facilities.......
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:18 am

BW,

I didn't know Southampton St Yard has that new name Widett. Was it named after a former RR Employee like Cabot Yard Red Line next door?
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Postby BW » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:53 am

Robert Paniagua wrote:BW,

I didn't know Southampton St Yard has that new name Widett. Was it named after a former RR Employee like Cabot Yard Red Line next door?



No, nothing that elaborate - the facility is off of (street address)Widett Circle - north of the Southampton Amtrak facility, where WallyWorld is.
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Postby sery2831 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:13 am

I tried out the wifi Friday night using car #1517 and was impressed with the speed it offered from a car away. I look forward to this project being finished :-)
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:22 pm

Oh good, the response speed worked out well for you on 1517 which is up north, John, that's a good sign of progress, hopefully the rest of the WiFi system will be just as good as my Sprint Broadband Sierra portable antenna which I use whether a car is WiFi'd or not.
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Postby sery2831 » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:17 pm

Update on the car #1517. They have removed the wifi components but left the antennas. I was excited to see it on my train tonight only to find no signal. After some exploring I found that the wire from the antenna was not connected to anything and the space for the modem/router empty.

Was this done to outfit another car on the Side Side? Or did it break is my question...
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Postby BW » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:28 am

sery2831 wrote:Update on the car #1517. They have removed the wifi components but left the antennas. I was excited to see it on my train tonight only to find no signal. After some exploring I found that the wire from the antenna was not connected to anything and the space for the modem/router empty.

Was this done to outfit another car on the Side Side? Or did it break is my question...


John,

No service requests have come to this department. Either the car is "mid- installation" or the install contractor is repairing the units under a warranty.

I asked someone in MIS on their plans for making sure the individual car hotspots are maintained and identified. They said they have a routine that pings the individual SSIDs (each hot spot has its own SSID) and any that fail four consecutive attempts are reported - should be adequate..
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Postby sery2831 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:39 am

The car isn't mid installation since I have used the wifi on that car. I can see that maybe the equipment was removed for repair. I have not seen any new cars on the North Side with wifi. So I am guessing the cars with wifi on the North Side are ones that have escaped from the South Side.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby Diverging Route » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:12 am

I'm posting this from train 802, in MBB car 509. When I first connected and asked for a google page, I got google.de! Now I know this is a German car, but... :-D :-D
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby BW » Fri Oct 10, 2008 4:42 pm

MBTA to install WiFi on all commuter rail lines

October 10, 2008 02:04 PM

By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff

The MBTA board approved a $1.4 million plan to install wireless Internet access in 258 coaches traveling on all of its commuter rail lines.

Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray announced the deal today at the regular board meeting of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston. In a pilot program that began in January, free wireless Internet access has been available along the Worcester/Framingham rail line to South Station.

The program officially begins Wednesday, but many riders have noticed they already have Internet access in some train cars.

The installation of the wireless equipment will begin in December and should be complete by late spring. After the initial $1.4 million cost, the system will cost $300,000 annually to maintain, officials said.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby Diverging Route » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:10 am

Welp, nothing like reviving a decade-old thread :)

This was recently posted on mbta.com:

December 2016 Update: Upgrades to the system are on the way. The MBTA continues to work with InMotion, a wireless Wi-Fi service provider, to bring a captive/stand alone Wi-Fi system online for the Commuter Rail network. This new initiative will provide high speed broadband service to all customers across all Commuter Rail lines as well as the ferry system with throughput per train car on average of 20 Mbps at a minimum. This includes South Station, North Station, and Back Bay Station which are expected to be online by the end of the year. For other parts of the commuter rail network, the project is in the permitting and design phases along the rail lines. This system will support all WiFi-enabled devices with customers experiencing uninterrupted service from the time they board until the time they arrive at their destination as well as while waiting in larger stations.

We hope you enjoy this FREE service.
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