Mobile network O2 has become the latest to offer its customers access to free wi-fi on London's Tube platforms. It joins EE, Vodafone and Virgin Media in offering internet access on the Underground, leaving Three customers as the only mobe users who can't connect while commuting. However, Virgin hasn't managed to conquer the …
There seems to be proper cellular coverage underground at Canada Water. I hope this is the start of moving beyond wi-fi
No - it's just luck that there's a cell site close enough to the station that gets into most of the platform areas.
Here is a blog post from 2008 about the mess the Connect project was in: : Time Tunnel - http://www.catkeynes.com/CS00006.html
In Korea the trains themselves carry the WiFi AP.
But with respect to the logistics of connectivity... I would imagine a leaky feeder* is the best solution.
*Not a septic fetishist.
In Budapest and Vienna, there's full cellular coverage throughout the subterranean parts of their metro networks. It's been like this for at least five years. This is now also done in many other European cities.
London Underground are notoriously slow at taking up any kind of innovation. Getting even the most basic radio communications down the tunnels took many years. Getting Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance "Tetra" radio underground took the Kings Cross disaster to even begin installation!
Each tunnel is equipped with several leaky feeder cables, so it's a fairly trivial matter of adding cell sites at stations and combiners on to the existing infrastructure.
Airwave says it's time line is that the first force to use the system was in 2001.
And it was the fire 26 years ago that started the deployment of it underground?
I'd say that was London Underground being very proactive! ;)
As I understand it Huawei offered to tfl that they would supply and fit an entire system on generous financial terms but it was never made clear why tfl rejected the offer. Could have been concerns over the nature of the funding or just that a significant number of people don't want mobile coverage on the underground, the WiFi install paid for by virgin was a nice touch for 2012 but without significant further investment it remains a curiosity.
Posting this from Euston...
... and the service is good, but the splash screen is a real pain
Re: Posting this from Euston...
Once you've signed in once and stored the details on your device it should connect automatically as you hit a station. This is actually quite annoying in one way as I am happily watching a "cat vid" on my tablet, pull into a station and within 5 seconds it's found the AP and all my network alerts are firing off!
Yea, I know the standard powerline adaptor is for AC systems, but can the technology not be adapted for the live rail? Or are the losses involved in having miles of exposed "ariel" why the leaky feeder is a better solution?
Anon because I don't need to be a the flametards latest victim.
Re: Powerline anyone?
I'd think that the chances of any two-way data making it across the sliding, sparking, contact of shoe against rail were pretty slim.
On the other hand, why does leaky feeder need to be laid along the tunnel roof, when there's loads of space alongside the rails under the train? Or beside it, at window level, where all that strange pink cable runs?
Re: Powerline anyone?
"On the other hand, why does leaky feeder need to be laid along the tunnel roof, when there's loads of space alongside the rails under the train? Or beside it, at window level, where all that strange pink cable runs?"
What do you think that strange pink cable is? Some of it at any rate.
The uk always focuses on itself and forgets the many people who come to england to visit, do trade and say nice things when they go home.
But when it comes to wifi, if you are not a UK resident then all the pay walls to wifi you get at airports, stations and coffee shops just makes me yearn to go back to where i now live and the term free as in wifi means I don't ever have to put a credit card in.... just like it does in the english dictionary.
I travel a great deal and I rarely encounter free WiFi, I don't think the UK lags much and sometimes I think free WiFi offers are more common here. Starbucks is now free, McDonald's, City of London, many other cities are also offering free local WiFi. Hotels and airports around the world remain a pain though.
UK mentality still blows goats
In HK last year their train system had Wifi (and some 2G/3G) everywhere. Most shops and restaurants had genuinely free WiFi (most places used their phone number as the password or a number of the receipt - no capture of user details). One nice system from a local telco who's name now escapes me is free WiFi for all HK residents (using ID card numbers or whatever) and for us foreigners you sent a text from your foreign numbers mobe and got an access code back that lasted a week across all the APs.
In London all they need is leaky cables and tiny access points linked with nice thin fiber and voila! But no, not in this country/city.
Re: UK mentality still blows goats
That was PCCW - and none of my PAYG SIM cards I had at the time (Orange, Virgin, China Mobile CN) would roam on to the network to allow me to send that text.
On the Finnish trains, you instantly connect without even a password.
Almost everywhere else in Finland WiFi is free with no silly splash screens or registration.
Is the UK the country with the most 'precious' attitude to free WiFi?
In the UK it is provided by a private company, who seems to think that we will be more favourably disposed towards their brand if we have to click through an annoying splash screen to access the internet quickly while waiting for a train that arrives every five minutes...
Think of the children....
Imagine what the news of the world headlines would have been if they discovered that pedophiles could have shared their photos using free wifi completely anonymously?
3 weeks later, legislation would require a credit card payment and a passport number to access wifi, or 10 years in prison.
Re: Think of the children....
Anonymous huh? On one of the most CCTV'd transport systems in one of the most CCTV'd cities on the planet? Where you have to provide an email address to access the network, which links you to a subscriber ID from one of the mobile networks? Or have to pay using a credit or debit card, again linking you to a subscriber ID? On a wifi network that logs your device's MAC and most probably whatever attempts it makes to contact Facebook, Twitter, Gmail etc?
No I wouldn't bet on it being anonymous.
Not content on tracking you as you enter the station
they now want to track you on your journey so that they know where you are before they pick you up again when you exit at your destination.
what WiFi service
half the time you get either none or limited service...its a joke...until they strengthen the signal it will continue to be so...although at least its here and their trying their best aren't they....hmmmm
Re: what WiFi service
It worked well enough to connect my giffgaff phone (using details sent to an Orange PAYG) and make a VoIP phone call at Waterloo's Northern Line platform!
The connection is awful.
All down to the registration screen. Crashed the browsers on half the phones I tried.
I managed to make it work by installing opera mobile before a second attempt for the free trial.
I have had no success since it ended (I have EE phones.) But then I've not been bothered enough to try *really* hard. (A few seconds' connection at some stops, isn't worth fighting with their system for.)
The train always arrives before I get anywhere with registration.
Why do they not have the sense to make a simple low graphics plain HTML registration screen?
It is so bad, I won't be looking at Virgin to replace my broadband.
A shame, because the actual wifi worked nicely.
Why is it...
That here in Hong Kong I can get on a train at the Shenzen border, make a call and have it not drop during a journey taking me under Lion Rock mountain range and Victoria Harbour, and then 20 minutes deep underground on the island?
Oldest tube network
All the mental frothing about how backwards the UK is and so forth - we were pretty flippin' advanced when we put an underground railway into our capital city a mere 150 years ago. Funnily enough, back then they just weren't thinking ahead to the 21st century when people might want to fit loads of little radio transmitters for their portable telephones to surf the internet. In short, the infrastructure wasn't designed with that in mind.
Now in Hong Kong, for instance, the metro opened in 1979, a mere 116 years later than London. Radio waves 'existed', as did computers and frankly diesel engines and even electricity - it was easier to see ahead that extra cabling space might be needed. Because of this, when the hugely clever tunnelling machines (not labourers with shovels and horses, please note) bore the network, it wasn't too big an ask to add an extra few inches.
I used to like free WiFi
It was a simple "connect and go" affair. Sometimes you needed the code written on a board in the pub in big letters. But all nice and simple.
These days, they want all your info (name, address, email address, mobile number)
The free WiFi sign isn't as appealing as it used to be.