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Reception in NYC Subway

Discussion in 'Northeastern US Wireless Forum' started by adamj023, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. adamj023

    adamj023 Member

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    Out of all the carriers, has anyone gotten reception down in the subway tunnels? I was shocked to see my wireless phone ring in the tunnels and it picked up a useable 1 bar digital SID 22 signal (Verizon), however when i went in the train the signal was gone. I was under the impression lack of access was for security reasons. However Chicago is deploying a multicarrier system in the subway and will also be able to be used by emergency personnel. In an area post 9/11, NYC should have had the system first, not Chicago since the system will also be able to be used by emergency personnel.

    Bloomberg travels in the subway every day as Mayor yet doesnt he know that emergency personnel could be benefitted hugely and it will ultimately provide safety with wireless?

    Thats my rant.
     
  2. Dm112084

    Dm112084 Junior Member
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    The biggest challenge is that the NYC subway system is the largest in the world. It will be a costly endeavor for whoever decides to wire the tunnels.
     
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  3. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    I was was able to use my Sanyo 8100 down in the subways. We were stopped in the tunnels and all of a sudden it rang with a voicemail. I was able to connect and listen to it. Then we started moving again and the call was lost.
     
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  4. Jerseyphoneguy

    Jerseyphoneguy Junior Member
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    Some tunnels are right below street level while others are dug much deeper. So for the tunnels that are not as deep you can probably get a fringe signal penetrating into the station.
     
  5. macsesso

    macsesso Senior Member
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    The above statement is very true. There are even elevated trains where a phone can be used.

    As for the two posters whose phones had a ring and a VM, I would hardly call that using your cell phone in the NYC subway.

    You can however use your Verizon cell phone in the LIRR trains while in the tunnels under the East River.
     
  6. GoodmanR

    GoodmanR Silver Senior Member
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    A lot of the major transfer stops seem to be covered too. At least on the UWS. I do fine at 72 and 96, but then again, nothing at Times Square. But you are definitely right about some tunnels being just below street level. I would also point out that nothing seems to work well in the Metro North connector tunnels on the east side.
     
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  7. Jrapp

    Jrapp Senior Member
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    I just read an article about the NYC MTA abandoning plans to wire tunnels for cell service. Too expensive and carriers were refusing to kick in enough.
     
  8. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    #8 NYCDru, Sep 27, 2004
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2004
  9. twopiece

    twopiece D'oh!!
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    I wonder if there will be new rules concerning cell phone usage on buses and subways (if they decide to install equipment in the tunnels)?

    Very unlikely that most people would heed to them.
     
  10. adamj023

    adamj023 Member

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    Of course its huge. However you have to start somewhere and Im sure there are spots in the tunnels you can start where usage revenue will exceed the cost of providing the service in those spots.

    Right now you have limited phone service in the subway system with many of the landline phones not even working. Imagine I want to report a suspicious character, how can I? I cant call out! Can you imagine a terrorist attack in the NYC subway and cops using their own radios? The signal will penetrate horribly down there. Its really a safety/security issue. We all remember the issues of WTC with technological limitations of such radios and communications. The Subway system needs some sort of communications mechanism for wireless usable by both law enforcement and citizens.

    There was a bill that tried to make its way through for wireless access in the subways but I assume it died.
     
  11. GoodmanR

    GoodmanR Silver Senior Member
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    The tunnels are wired fine with repeaters for MTA and public safety radio...
     
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  12. adamj023

    adamj023 Member

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    Do repeaters for public safety radio cost less I take it then adding cellular service down there? They may have public safety radio but can they handle the load one may need in a post 9/11 environment? I just hope the answer is yes.
     
  13. NYCDru

    NYCDru Sprint Newbie
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    Lemme ask a question of the NYer's here.

    How anoying/agravating is the "necesarry" track work that is going on already?

    Taking that into account I think that cell phone service is a VERY expensive endeavor that is not looked upon very highly. I know about "Radial Coa"?? is it?, but still. If the A by itself is 32 miles long, how many miles of track would you hgave to cover? And being that we use 5 technologies (AMPS,GSM, CDMA, iDEN, and TDMA) on 2 seperate sets of frequencies what would we deploy?
     
  14. adamj023

    adamj023 Member

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    Many areas have exclusive agreements. The Amtrak tunnel I believe is an exclusive agreement with Verizon. So Verizon would probably be the most likely for an exclusive in NYC Metro. However Chicago is deploying a multicarrier system. We do not have 5 technologies anymore. TDMA and AMPS are being phased out. TDMA is not mandated by law unlike analog so I would not expect any TDMA. Analog Im not entirely sure if new towers are required to have it.
     
  15. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    MANHATTAN UP CLOSE
    They're Coming Through the Vents! Attack of the Subway Cellphones
    By STEVEN KURUTZ

    middle-aged businessman in a gray suit clicked open his cellphone on a recent morning and started talking. "Yes. Uh-huh. O.K. Tell Bill I'll call him as soon as I get to the office." He was completing a simple procedure that plays out countless times each day in New York. But with one noticeable difference: the man was riding the No. 9 train from Chambers Street to Franklin Street.

    In a city overrun with cellphones, where people are forever chattering on the street, in restaurants, in movie theaters or anywhere their little bars flash full reception, the subway has remained a kind of underground sanctum. What a joy it can be to know that at least for the duration of a subway ride there will be no ringing, no squawking, no unnecessary conversations that begin: "I'm at Eighth Street and Broadway. Where are you?"

    But the subways, it turns out, are not completely cell-free. In certain parts of the system, more and more people are noticing that service is available, if only fleetingly. This is especially true on the 1/9 line, from 42nd Street to 96th Street, where service flickers in and out as the train moves from station to station. Cellphones have also been reported to work on the 6 and the N and R trains.

    How does a wireless signal penetrate all that concrete and steel?

    Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, who said that generally, cellphones do not work on the subways, attributed those brief moments of service to a combination of atmospheric conditions and luck. "You can occasionally get service on any line in the system," he said. "But if you tried to use the phone five or six times on a given day, it doesn't work."

    A call to Verizon garnered a more technical explanation. "In certain areas of the subway, the signal from ground level will bleed into the tunnels, through vents," said David Sandberg, a spokesman for the company's wireless division. As for the noticeable signal strength along the 1/9 line, he said "it could be that one station has a large air shaft," adding that shallow stations are sometimes more likely to get reception.

    All this raises the question of how long it will be before the subways go wireless. Amtrak tunnels leading into Pennsylvania Station are already wired for cellphone service, and the M.T.A. and several carriers had discussed wiring the subways. Carriers say, however, that it is currently too costly to install cable in so many tunnels, Mr. Kelly said.

    Still, many New Yorkers believe it is only a matter of time before cellphone service is available on the subways, among them Doug Gordon, a producer for the History Channel who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and recently voiced his concerns about a wired underground on the Web site gothamist.com.

    "Calling someone from the train and saying, 'I'm coming home from the hospital - the rash cleared up,' " just wouldn't be right, Mr. Gordon said in an interview. "It would violate subway etiquette."


    source:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/26/nyregion/26cell.html
     
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  16. GoodmanR

    GoodmanR Silver Senior Member
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    It really depends on the system. As far as I know, NY is not fully digital yet. Capacity is much less of an issue with public safety radio because they are not individual calls. Many users share the same channels, they are also lower frequency than cellular calls (generally) and the signal travels farther. They also don't have to worry about interfering with other sites on the same frequency (nextel is another issue) so the base stations can be quite powerful.
     
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  17. mreg

    mreg Member
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    Thank goodness. At least it's one place in the world where I can be without hundreds of people gabbing away in my face and ears... :)
     
  18. mreg

    mreg Member
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    That was my understanding too. Keep cell phones OUT of the subways. There's enough noise down there, without people shouting into their cell phones over the sound of rumbling trains. And the last thing we need are for terrorists to be able to buy pay-as-you-go cell phones from Circuit City and set up a coordinated attack underground.
     
  19. Critic

    Critic The Digital Ruler
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    mreg - as much as I understand what you're trying to say, let's not go overboard.
     
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  20. Dm112084

    Dm112084 Junior Member
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    He's not going overboard. Mass transit in NYC is extremely vulnerable to coordinated suicide bombings. If multiple bombs went off on mass transit during rush hour, the causulties would be in the hundreds, at a minimum. I'm going to leave it at that, because I don't want to give terrorists hints on how to pull this off, but it isn't very hard to do.
     
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  21. GoodmanR

    GoodmanR Silver Senior Member
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway


    I agree he is not going overboard. There has been discussion of the negative public safety implications of wireless service in subways
     
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  22. adamj023

    adamj023 Member

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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    Actually NOT true. Cells from the subway system can be effectively monitored for any terrorist activity based on technology we have already. Chicago is doing just that, adding Wireless which will not only enhance public safety but allow phone calls as well.

    So then we should not allow cell phone service by bridges and tunnels based on what you just said, and there has been no terrorist activities that have occured on such because of the monitoring we already have in place.

    I strongly disagree on this point and the facts and evidence show otherwise.

    Opening up public areas to communications strongly enhances security. 9/11's problem was lack of communication by the public and by public safety officials. We need more communication, not less. Empowering more communication enhances our safety and security.
     
  23. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    This is a little off topic and not directly related to NYC, but I just got a job at Delta Center(for those of you who are local) here in SLC and us emplyees are NOT allowed to carry cellphones with us during our shifts, because we could trigger bombs using cellphones. It's kind of dumb, but that's their reason for employees not being able to carry cellphones around at all... I feel unsafe that way, because I always like to have my phone with me(even if it's turned off in my pocket), you can never know what happens.
     
  24. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    I agree with adamj on this. There are many places where cell phones currently work that can be targets for attacks and even if they are attacked, a working cell phone can only save lives. Don't forget a few people were unburied from the rubble after 9/11 because they used their cell phones. Imagine how lives can be saved down in the subways.
     
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  25. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    I dont remember hearing that. I do remember hearing on 9/11 that many cell sites were destroyed around the WTC. These people were actually able to make calls? I was barely able to make a call on LI with an unharmed network. Maybe they could make the calls after all the COWs were put into action.
     
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  26. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    The system was brought down to its knees on the day of 9/11 because of congestion, trunks broken, power failures, etc... but after that, wireless signals could be picked up from where they were working. It was Verizon landlines that suffered most of the damage because the Verizon CO that serves that area was right in front of the twin towers so the building and equipment inside got a millionaire damage. True, some cells were damaged too, especially the nearest ones to ground zero but still you could get signal from adjacent sites, even those beaming a signal from across the Hudson river in NJ. Also, there were some sites that were useless even if they didn't suffer any physical damage because they didn't have power or because the trunk lines were down. I don't know if COWs were installed in the immediate area to help service, but I am sure the companies did whatever they could to restore service as soon as possible.
     
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  27. Fire14

    Fire14 Easy,Cheap & Sleazy
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    I don't remember seeing any COWS in the area of ground zero while i was there, I know Verizon was working like crazy there trying to get there building up & running, while everything else was going on. I know it hurt alot of the carriers that day with the exception of Nextel's direct connect.
     
  28. Yankees368

    Yankees368 Compulsive Signal Checker
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    I do remember seeing a news report on FOX 5 that day talking about all the cell carriers. They were interviewing some people that were installing a Nextel COW i believe.
     
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  29. adamj023

    adamj023 Member

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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    Bobolito: The government already acknowledges this fact, that cellular is more a help than hinderence in these areas. Off topic, but since I have started this topic, Presidential Candidate John Kerry mentioned the subway system security. Eliminating cell phones is not the answer. What we need to spend money for is metal detectors by the subway turnstyles, new mailboxes with DNA technology to prevent against anthrax in the mail, and others. Infrastructure in the USA has been literally been ignored and has no improvements. But removing wireless capability does not prove we are safer.

    Think of terrorism this way: They will use the existing structures of our own infrastructure and find the weaknesses and vulnerabilities behind them. We can not take away our freedom because of the terrorists, however we can defend against such and spend more money to make sure the vulnerabilities are closed or if such are used, there would be a detection mechanism to make sure the final step doesnt occur.
     
  30. twopiece

    twopiece D'oh!!
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    Re: Keep Reception Out of NYC Subway

    Remember the scene from Total Recall where a person walks through the long x-ray machine to get to the subway. That would be expensive.
     

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