Tuesday, October 01, 2013

NYCT expanding Wi-Fi in the subway

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Transit Wireless has awarded a contract to Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) to supply the architecture for Phase 2 of the extensive project to bring Wi-Fi to the New York City subway system.

Transit Wireless owns and operates MTA New York City Transit’s subway station wireless communications network and acts as a neutral host for extending a variety of wireless carrier services to NYCT’s more than 1.6 billion riders annually. RFS is a global wireless and broadcast infrastructure specialist.

Phase 2, which is expected to be completed in mid-2014, involves installation of a distributed antenna system (DAS). It includes 40 stations, among which are Grand Central Station, 34th St. Herald Square, and Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, and stations throughout the Borough of Queens.

RFS was involved in Phase 1 of the multi-year project to build a state-of-the art wireless network in the New York City subway system. When completed, the network will cover 277 subway stations, enable 5,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, and use about 120 miles of fiber-optic cable to transport wireless signals. Transit Wireless has already hit major milestones by bringing 30 new subway stations in mid-town Manhattan online in spring 2013, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, and Columbus Circle.

Upon its completion, the Transit Wireless network will become a shared wireless infrastructure enabling commercial wireless services for more than 1.6 billion NYCT subway riders annually. The Transit Wireless NYCT network, one of the most expansive distributed antenna system networks worldwide, will allow the use of a wide variety of mobile devices anywhere within the system with cellular and Wi-Fi coverage options.

RFS products that will be used in the project include HYBRIFLEX conduit cable and transmission line cabling with low smoke and zero-halogen jackets and jumpers. HYBRIFLEX combines optical fiber and DC power in a single corrugated cable. “The compact and durable design makes it faster, easier and more cost effective to install than bringing both traditional optical fiber and DC power to the antenna,” said RFS. “HYBRIFLEX is ideal for connecting power-saving Remote Radio Heads (RRHs), especially where space is constrained, and is also well suited for in-building Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), for microwave backhaul networks and as bundled cables in harsh environments.”

“Bringing such an expansive wireless network to New York’s subway system is an extremely complex process for many reasons,” said Transit Wireless CEO William Bayne Jr. “For starters, North America has the most intricate networks because we have the most frequencies licensed by the FCC. To add further complications in this case, New York’s subway system is 110 years old, and every station is unique and requires a custom design and deployment. Therefore, we must have the highest quality standards for the equipment we use for this project in order to ensure we have an efficient and superior network that can withstand the extreme environment of thr New York City subway.”

“It is very exciting to be involved in a project that will help bring reliable wireless service to more than one billion New York City subway riders a year,” said RFS Business Development Manager, Enterprise Markets Suzanne Kasai. “We are pleased that our solutions are well-suited to support Transit Wireless in meeting the precise coverage, traffic, and route requirements necessary for such a large-scale and complex endeavor.”

The four major U.S. wireless carriers—T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon - have already signed on to become partners in the project. Customers of T-Mobile and AT&T are already receiving service and Sprint and Verizon customers will be able to use the service later this year.