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NYC MTA Subway coverage via Transit Wireless


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Saw an interesting photo essay on Gizmodo this morning about the NYC subway building out full station cellular coverage through an intermediary called Transit Wireless. It looks like it is a massive distributed antenna system supported from a couple of central 'base station hotels.'

 

Sprint joined Transit Wireless as a provider in July 2013, but I haven't seen much news about the rollout or how it works in the last year.

 

Are there other instances of Sprint working with a partner for these kinds of DAS network setups? And is this distributed architecture more akin to traditional cell tower deployments (with larger distances between base stations and the radios), or more like the small cells some Sprint executives have been talking up in recent months?

 

Does anyone have any idea what Sprint bands are being deployed with this project? 800MHz 1x Advanced for voice and 1900MHz PCS EVDO/LTE for data? I cannot imagine this is a Spark-capable project yet/ever/at all?

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Saw an interesting photo essay on Gizmodo this morning about the NYC subway building out full station cellular coverage through an intermediary called Transit Wireless. It looks like it is a massive distributed antenna system supported from a couple of central 'base station hotels.'

 

Sprint joined Transit Wireless as a provider in July 2013, but I haven't seen much news about the rollout or how it works in the last year.

 

Are there other instances of Sprint working with a partner for these kinds of DAS network setups? And is this distributed architecture more akin to traditional cell tower deployments (with larger distances between base stations and the radios), or more like the small cells some Sprint executives have been talking up in recent months?

 

Does anyone have any idea what Sprint bands are being deployed with this project? 800MHz 1x Advanced for voice and 1900MHz PCS EVDO/LTE for data? I cannot imagine this is a Spark-capable project yet/ever/at all?

 

Sprint is available in all stations that the other networks are in as of I believe February of this year. It works very well, though you drop service when traveling between stations occasionally. I believe it is 1xAdvanced over 1900MHz, EVDO, and Band 25 LTE. TransitWireless' website states 800MHz but I have never connected to 800MHz CDMA or LTE while in the stations.

 

They also provide WiFi in all of these stations too.

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TransitWireless' website states 800MHz but I have never connected to 800MHz CDMA or LTE while in the stations.

 

 

I would assume they're talking about 850MHz just like most of the industry did before the Nextel shutdown.

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I would assume they're talking about 850MHz just like most of the industry did before the Nextel shutdown.

Nope. I just checked their website they say 850 Cellular and 800MHz SMR separately.

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If they do support 800Mhz, it might be that sprint hasn't done the engineering to incorporate it into the broader network without interference. To my knowledge they are still working to add 800Mhz voice, and there are very few (if any) 800Mhz LTE sites online.

So it might be something they are capable of adding once they get the green light from sprint.

I think that subway stations would be a great use of sprints 2600Mhz TDD-LTE as there is a great concentration of people in a very small space, and because it is underground and the band does not propagate as well, there should be less interference issues.

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If they do support 800Mhz, it might be that sprint hasn't done the engineering to incorporate it into the broader network without interference. To my knowledge they are still working to add 800Mhz voice, and there are very few (if any) 800Mhz LTE sites online.

So it might be something they are capable of adding once they get the green light from sprint.

I think that subway stations would be a great use of sprints 2600Mhz TDD-LTE as there is a great concentration of people in a very small space, and because it is underground and the band does not propagate as well, there should be less interference issues.

800MHz hasn't been a problem here in NYC. Most of our sites have 800MHz CDMA and a number of sites have Band 26 LTE. In NYC, Band 26 just about matches EVDO coverage or it is a tad bit weaker. Simply because Sprint doesn't want interference issues like you said. But PCS spacing here is very good for the most part. There are some areas where an extra site would be good, but it appears that Sprint is only adding sites here in capacity strained areas such as by the Barclays Center. But I don't think Sprint has provided Transit Wireless with TDD equipment yet. If they have, they have yet to deploy.it yet so all we can really do is play the waiting game.

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800MHz hasn't been a problem here in NYC. Most of our sites have 800MHz CDMA and a number of sites have Band 26 LTE. In NYC, Band 26 just about matches EVDO coverage or it is a tad bit weaker. Simply because Sprint doesn't want interference issues like you said. But PCS spacing here is very good for the most part. There are some areas where an extra site would be good, but it appears that Sprint is only adding sites here in capacity strained areas such as by the Barclays Center. But I don't think Sprint has provided Transit Wireless with TDD equipment yet. If they have, they have yet to deploy.it yet so all we can really do is play the waiting game.

 

I did not know how much 800Mhz LTE was deployed in NYC, as I have not seen specific deployment information for LTE as I assumed that that 800 on the deployment map was only referring to 800Mhz voice.  I would understand why NYC would get the deployment first though because the pop/sq.mi. needs capacity more than rural Pennsylvania, though the supposed enhanced coverage area would help me personally, I know it is not as financially enticing.     

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I did not know how much 800Mhz LTE was deployed in NYC, as I have not seen specific deployment information for LTE as I assumed that that 800 on the deployment map was only referring to 800Mhz voice. I would understand why NYC would get the deployment first though because the pop/sq.mi. needs capacity more than rural Pennsylvania, though the supposed enhanced coverage area would help me personally, I know it is not as financially enticing.

 

At one time Pittsburgh had more 800 LTE than NYC not sure now. In the Pittsburgh market thread it was said 30+ in March. I am sure that number exploded since then.

 

I wonder how well band 41 would work other than the stations I would not expect it to go that far. I would not think 800(1x or LTE) would go that far going through dirt and concrete either. Looks like it would be a tough environment for any signal.

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At one time Pittsburgh had more 800 LTE than NYC not sure now. In the Pittsburgh market thread it was said 30+ in March. I am sure that number exploded since then.

 

I wonder how well band 41 would work other than the stations I would not expect it to go that far. I would not think 800(1x or LTE) would go that far going through dirt and concrete either. Looks like it would be a tough environment for any signal.

Of course band 41 would be very localized, as not only does it not have the propagation of the lower bands, but also would be deployed with either a DAS or using the newer small cell tech (of these idk which one they plan to use) but would be perfect in localized capacity constrained situations.

As for 800MHz, it should propagate a little further given all other factors are the same, but probably nothing noticeable to a customer. I would imagine that the systems that are used indoors are much lower power and not ment to be a full cell site, only for the location it is at... so they probably need a bunch of repeaters along the tracks to provide seamless service.

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Band 41 would be awesome. That way it would only be data and not some loudmouth talking on the phones. Well until volte

 

Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk

I hate to point out the obvious, but they could video chat pretty easily... and probably would still be able to talk on the existing equipment.

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What annoys me is that the tracks themselves lack service. That means that the service itself is great when you're in the subway stationg LTE (15Mbps on LTE), but as soon as the train leaves you drop the signal.

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It is probably possible to line the tracks with service, but not only cost prohibitive... But physically challenging as well because where would you actually put the network equipment. That and with the small cells, trains rushing by would constantly be handing off to each site, likely leading to a choppy experience...

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What annoys me is that the tracks themselves lack service. That means that the service itself is great when you're in the subway stationg LTE (15Mbps on LTE), but as soon as the train leaves you drop the signal.

It is probably possible to line the tracks with service, but not only cost prohibitive... But physically challenging as well because where would you actually put the network equipment. That and with the small cells, trains rushing by would constantly be handing off to each site, likely leading to a choppy experience...

 

Leaky coax is not cost prohibitive.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_feeder

 

But that is not what Transit Wireless is using.  Too bad.  Chicago's "L" uses leaky coax, I believe, as there is service in the tunnels between stations.

 

AJ

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Leaky coax is not cost prohibitive.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_feeder

 

But that is not what Transit Wireless is using.  Too bad.  Chicago's "L" uses leaky coax, I believe, as there is service in the tunnels between stations.

 

AJ

 

The wiki mainly talked about using it for 2 way radio and public safety emergency transmission, but do you think the technology could be modified for LTE? I think that at least not dropping voice calls would be a positive for those who use public transportation.  

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The wiki mainly talked about using it for 2 way radio and public safety emergency transmission, but do you think the technology could be modified for LTE? I think that at least not dropping voice calls would be a positive for those who use public transportation.  

 

Like I stated previously, the Chicago "L" apparently has used leaky coax for several years, and cellular service works fine in the tunnels.

 

AJ

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When I used to live in Chicago there was decent in tunnel coverage from US Cellular. This was before the smartphone explosion, so I can't testify to data speeds, but voice and text worked just fine underground.

 

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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  • 2 weeks later...

What annoys me is that the tracks themselves lack service. That means that the service itself is great when you're in the subway stationg LTE (15Mbps on LTE), but as soon as the train leaves you drop the signal.

Transit Wireless DAS is a SISO carrier agnostic system, so for instance Sprint's 5MHz LTE channel will peak just at about 18Mbps instead of 36Mbps. At the moment it distributes Verizon's and AT&T's 700MHz carriers, not B2 or B4. Also T-Mobile's AWS LTE is live.

 

I personally don't see the need of all three Sprint LTE bands transmitting at the moment since DAS is densely built, and average rates are consistently close to the peak theoretical rates in a SISO setup.

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