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Wireless Networking Hardware

BART Outfitted With Wireless 208

Posted by Zonk
from the not-simpson dept.
wyldeone writes "The San Fransico Chronicle reports that the BART subway system has been completely outfitted with cells to allow cellphone usage everywhere on the line. The network has been paid for entirely by Nextel, who leased out the lines to the other carriers." From the article: "Rae said BART and the wireless companies know some riders will try to make calls over the din as BART roars and screeches through tunnels. But most of the business, he said, will be from people using wireless devices to read and send e-mail or browse the Internet. 'You could use your Blackberry to take care of all your e-mail on your way to work,' he said. 'But the trains are really too noisy (underground) to have an intelligent conversation.'"
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BART Outfitted With Wireless

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  • Not yet it hasn't (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fletch (6903) * <.fletch. .at.> on Saturday November 19, 2005 @10:53PM (#14073374) Homepage
    ...the BART subway system has been completely outfitted with cells to allow cellphone usage everywhere on the line.
    Currently only 4 underground stations are wired []. The same is planned for the other 10.
  • Re:Really that loud? (Score:3, Informative)

    by goldseries (932320) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @10:57PM (#14073389) Journal
    Not true, it is easy to fall asleep on BART. It is not any noisier than a subway. We have cell phone conversations when above ground all the time and are annoyed when the train goes under. Also, will it just be the stations or the underground tubes (transbay, Caldecott, etc.) also?
  • by thesaint05 (850634) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:00PM (#14073402)
    It's nice that Nextel leases out their lines to other carriers. Verizon is the only carrier to have built towers for the underground portions of the Washington D.C. Metro system, and they don't share at all with anyone.
  • by Radak (126696) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:09PM (#14073435) Journal
    It's really too bad people have stopped thinking about the words they use and instead choose to parrot phrases they've misheard elsewhere. Oh well. I guess that's why they're working for the subway system.
  • by missing000 (602285) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:44PM (#14073539)
    I disagree. Modern cell coverage is wireless coverage, just expensive wireless coverage. My Blackberry data services are about twice as fast as dialup, and that's over GPRS. It's highly latent, but it is for the most part as fast as dual channel ISDN which supplied via 802.11 is generally referred to as wireless. The article makes no mention of the switching tech used, but it's very likely they are rolling out EDGE, which offers very realistic high speed rates (384 kbit/s). Sprint (Nextel's owner) is also rolling 1xEV-DO in major cities, and that's full 2.4 mbit/s.
  • Re:Finally (Score:2, Informative)

    by goldseries (932320) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:46PM (#14073544) Journal t [] In 2004 Bart was named the best transportation system in America. It is now printed on the side of every BART car. BART is pretty damn good, I moved to LA and miss it all the time, just you wait till you move away and have to deal with crappy public transportation systems. Bart goes to many places and covers a wide area, in SF it stops frequently and goes to many major destinations making it easy to use.
  • Re:market share? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:49PM (#14073555)
    Well actually it's because Verizon is CDMA and almost everyone else is GSM. I bet they would have loved to have been able to lease out bandwith to others, but the tech just does not mix.
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Saturday November 19, 2005 @11:52PM (#14073564) Journal
    two things:
    1. Actual geeks will find the title misleading. It's not wireless, it's cellular. There's a difference that your audience is going to make; wireless means 802.11, not cellular. I used to work for a company that specialized cellular data applications, and I immediately though wi-fi
    2. Nextel HASN'T leased anything to anyone. From TFA: Nextel serves as the coordinator, planning, paying for and overseeing the work. Other carriers have the right to buy in and to strike agreements to reimburse Nextel and pay annual fees to BART. There's a big difference therebecause: at present, the only carrier is Nextel, and there's no mention that they've done any integration with another carrier yet. (Presumably it'll just be a tower sharing kind of arrangement).

    As an aside, I wonder what kind of restrictions were placed in the contract in terms of sharing with other carriers. From what I hear, VZW has the cell towers in the DC metro, and doesn't allow other carriers to use them (maybe selfishness; maybe gross institutional incompetence on VZW's part - it's hard to tell with them). If it's a public place like a subway, the people who build the network should be required to lease out to other people; it's in the public interest that everyone get to play, not just the people with service from the carrier that gets the contract. Of course, if we'd just used a single wireless standard like in Europe, then the point would be moot.

  • Re:Not yet it hasn't (Score:2, Informative)

    by kimo123 (856805) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @12:23AM (#14073656)
  • Re:Not yet it hasn't (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spruitje (15331) <ansonr&spruitje,org> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @05:06AM (#14074440) Homepage
    Well, most subways like the one in Amsterdam, Paris and London are equipped with repeaters for GSM.
    Nothing new.
    And most cartunnels in the Netherlands also have GSM repeaters.
  • Re:Finally (Score:3, Informative)

    by pv2b (231846) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @06:24AM (#14074605)
    It's probably fair to keep in mind that BART is rather unique for being a "medium-range" transit system

    I don't really agree with that assessment. Here in Stockholm, Sweden, we have what's known as the Pendeltåg (Commuter Train) which can take you over 90 km. (The longest distance from Gnesta to Nynäshamn).

    A trip similar to what you describe would be Märsta to Södertälje centrum (73,4 km, or 45,6 miles for the metrically challenged).

    A trip of that distance would set you back 5 "kuponger", costing you 15 * 5 = 75 kronor (about $9,40) if you pay cash. However, nobody here in Sweden is stupid enough to pay cash for that kind of trip, because you can buy 20 "kuponger" for a price of 145 kronor, meaning a trip will in practice cost 36.25 kr ($4,50). So, very comparable.

    However, the Stockholm Pendeltåg is different in that it will let you take any connections within the Stockholm local transport system (buses etc) on the same ticket, effectively giving you more value for your money. (No paying for connecting buses on either end.) Also, a month pass for the entire Stockholm local transport network (giving you unlimited travel within the entire region, except to Bålsta and Gnesta) will set you back only 600 kr ($75,25 or so).

    Now, the Stockholms Pendeltåg has its own drawbacks, not in the least that it won't do a very good job of taking you to Walnut Creek from Fremont. ;-) Also, the Pendeltåg uses slower trains than the BART, so that 1 hour trip would take about 1 hour 20 minutes with the Pendeltåg.

    Also, I don't take them very often, but they have their own problems, as with any rail network (leaves on the line, train worker strikes, breakdowns and delays) but from what I've seen on the rare occasion I do take a trip with a Pendeltåg, they're usually pretty clean and resonably comfortable.

    Still, I just wanted to point out that the BART is in no way unique in its role as a medium-distance commuter train system.

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