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Take the 4G Train: More Wireless in NYC Subways

Dan Jones
2/19/2014
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Transit Wireless has started phase two of its NYC subway deployment, which will see cellular and WiFi connectivity brought to more stations in Manhattan and across Queens.

The company will be deploying distributed antenna systems (DAS) and WiFi in 11 stations in Manhattan first, including Grand Central Terminal, 34th St. Herald Square, and Bryant Park. Construction will start in Queens in March and is expected to be completed by June 2014. (See Transit Wireless: Unwiring the NYC Subway for more on how service underground is implemented.)

The work will include constructing a new basestation hotel in Queens to serve the network. All the big four carriers -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and T-Mobile US Inc. -- will get underground service with the phase two update. (See Verizon Onboard With NYC Subway Wireless and 4G LTE Grows (Above & Below).)

The company had said that the build-out would start in October and take six to eight months to complete. "Things are rolled out progressively," a spokeswoman for the company tells us. So the company has actually been working on phase two since the completion of the first phase of deployment but is announcing that construction is happening today.

The additional stations in Manhattan are being lit up this month and early next. The work will then move to Queens.

The service is currently available in 36 stations in Manhattan. Transit Wireless says that in 2013, the WiFi portion of the network handled about 2.6 million connections, processing more than 60 terabytes of data, with the average user spending nine minutes on the network.

Phase three of the network deployment will cover Brooklyn. Eventually the underground network will cover all 277 MTA subway stations and 20 million square feet of public space. Transit Wireless has estimated it will eventually deploy 7,000 multi-frequency distributed antennas and 5,000 access points connected to the outside world by 350 radio nodes and 125 miles of fiber optic cable.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 7:11:52 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
My experience is that in the short tunnel runs (14th street to 23rd street on the A line for instance) you get nearly complete coverage. Longer distances and you get dropouts.
MordyK
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MordyK,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 6:20:10 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
Just so everyone is clear. As Dan wrote in the original linked aticle, this is for stations only and not the tunnel's, so there will stil be cutouts.
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 5:13:47 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
Yeah, I saw someone nearly get run over at Broadway Junction after jumping on the tracks to get their device back. It turned out to be a first generation iPod. the people that hauled him back up to safety were *not happy*
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 5:11:22 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
I think death by subway device has occurred in four boroughs. It can't happen in Staten Island because SI has no subways. And it really should be part of Jersey anyway (no idea why you guys want to hold onto it).
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 4:58:34 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
What are you saying about the fine residents of Queens, Dennis? :-)
mendyk
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mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 4:56:37 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
More opportunity for oblivious device users to stumble into the path of an oncoming train?
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 4:12:55 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
Should get more connectivity underground soon -- at least in Manhattan.
TaraSeals
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TaraSeals,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 4:04:56 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
NYC is a heartbreak experience-- you'll surprisingly have a signal and then, right in the middle of that all-important email reply or Facebook status update ("I love my shoes right now," let's say) it just cuts out. ARGH! I'll have to check out Barca's next week.  
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
2/19/2014 | 4:01:26 PM
Re: Cell Service Underground
It's basically REALLY hard to do. Barcelona's 3G coverage underground is pretty damn good but Washington, DC is very very patchy as I recall. The NYC system is noticeably better.
TaraSeals
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TaraSeals,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/19/2014 | 3:56:15 PM
Cell Service Underground
Wow, that would be nice. Always frustrating to lose that signal waiting in the station. I was in Seoul a few years ago on a Samsung presser and they took us on the subway to see how the WiMAX still delivered non-buffered video, even there--and it was impressive and way ahead of its time. I know they have Wi-Fi on the London tube now, but it seems like mass transit underground iin general is one of the last truly neglected connectivity zones out there--despite the millions that use it every day. Could be a smart business model for the appropriately-named Transit Wireless!
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