After completing 36 stations in Phase 1, Transit Wireless is moving forward with Phase 2 of its efforts to provide wireless coverage in the public spaces around the stations in the New York subway, which will include a section that will be heavily used during the NFL’s Super Bowl in January. Commencing this month, coverage will be extended to 11 stations in Manhattan and 30 stations in Queens.
Transit Wireless will push coverage into the area between Times Square and Herald Square, known as Super Bowl Boulevard, which will be shut down during Super Bowl week and filled with merchants, entertainers and food vendors.
“The next phase will focus first on the Herald Square and Bryant Park stations,” said Transit Wireless CEO William Bayne, Jr. “There is the expectation of massive spikes in subway traffic. We will get those done first so there is connectivity and public safety during Super Bowl week.”
Crews will parcel out additional antenna points to Times Square for more robust coverage plus additional Wi-Fi hot spots to handle the spikes in activity. The full suite of spectrum will be included, from 700 MHz up to 6 GHz, allowing use of cellular, Wi-Fi and New York City Transit public safety terminals.
As a 110-year-old venue, New York’s first rapid transit system represents a difficult environment in terms of temperature, moisture, existing infrastructure and deflection points that are tough to engineer around. To withstand these conditions, the HYBRIFLEX conduit cable and transmission-line cabling from Radio Frequency Systems, which combines optical fiber and DC power in a single corrugated cable, will be used.
“We asked, ‘What products can survive this environment and reduce maintenance costs?’” Bayne said. “We needed a product with rigid quality RF characteristics to withstand the elements underground.”
Phase One of the network used 15 miles of cabling. In total, 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 from in and around the stations.
However, Bayne said there is talk about extending the network via radiating cable throughout the tunnels, which would double the amount of cable used.
“There is a lot of positive pressure from carriers and consumers to provide coverage in the tunnels,” Bayne said. “We have seen massive call and data session usage between the street and the platform and onto the trains. The users are trying to hold on to those call and sessions after the train leaves the station.”
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 service later this year.
As the subway expands into newly built tunnels, those routes are already being equipped with RFS radiating cable from the get-go.