Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have given us the freedom to stay connected anytime, anywhere 24/7 and to stay on top of the latest news while travelling or commuting. These mobile devices operate on wireless networks, so depending on the physical environment, the network might be cellular/LTE or Wi-Fi, or maybe both. An example of both is the New York City Subway system.
It is hard to believe that up until April 2013, the majority of the NYC subway system did not have cellular or demanding customers, so what happened here?
The NYC city subway system dates back 110 years. 1.7 billion people pass through the turnstiles annually across 468 stations.2 The NYC subway system is so large, in fact, that it is just 60 stations shy of the combined total of all of the subway systems in the United States. The structure of the stations and their environment create a Wi-Fi service1. Commuters would head underground to the stations and lose contact with the world until they were able to walk back up to the surface at their destination. New Yorkers are some of the world’s most challenge for wireless networks as they are constructed of thick concrete pillars and walls, low ceilings, numerous obstructions and metal posts and beams.
Environmentally it is difficult to manage the heat, humidity and moisture, which also create challenges. Any wireless network would need careful planning with predictive modeling design tools, in conjunction with real test measurements to verify expected coverage. Given the low ceilings, radio radiation patterns and energy need to be designed for a horizontal pattern while the equipment is mounted in ruggedized packaging to protect it from the elements and vandalism.
The solution provider for the network, Transit Wireless, selected Motorola’s AP 7161 outdoor access points to meet their need for Wi-Fi. William Bayne, Jr., CEO of Transit Wireless explains they chose WLAN equipment from Motorola Solutions because of “its very robust rugged design, which is crucial to sustaining high quality, long-term Wi-Fi services in this very tough environment.” He also found that the Motorola WLAN technology “met our requirements for scalability and easy updating, ensuring our ability to create a WLAN that can accommodate exploding demands for Wi-Fi service and technology evolutions.”
The outdoor characteristics of the access point met the environmental needs, while the 3x3 MIMO radios address the RF coverage. The three transmitters and receivers ensure the best possible coverage. Two AP 7161’s are integrated into a special package with antennas along with DAS equipment for each carrier (AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile). The antenna design and packaging of this solution is extremely complex, integrating 4 different carriers along with 2.4G, 4.9G, and 5G Wi-Fi.
Going from no connectivity, to connected underground 24x7, New Yorkers now enjoy one of the most advanced wireless networks in any subway. It’s enough to sing about, as Michael Buble did last year.
Cal Calamari is Global Solutions Lead for Enterprise Networks and Connections for Motorola Solutions
For more about the wireless network in New York’s Subway system, read this case study.
Read other blogs by Cal here.
See coverage of the NYC Wireless event last year from our Facebook page.
Get more information about Motorola Solutions’ AP 7161 Outdoor Access Point.