1.7 billion NYC subway riders have seamless wireless access from zebra (part one)

Here at Supply Chain, we have seen numerous success stories from customers that have had positive experiences with Zebra wireless LAN. One of the largest success stories from Zebra itself is that of the New York City Transit (NYCT).

The NYCT wanted to provide its riders with zero-cost Wi-Fi and wireless services in its underground stations for a variety of reasons. First, because NYC Mayor Bloomberg introduced the Daily Leadership program, which focused on making the Big Apple the Unite States’ most digital city. This meant including Wi-Fi in public spaces, such as the underground stations in the subway.

Second, riders themselves wanted the service, especially since most cellular service wasn’t working in the NYC underground stations and tunnels. This meant travelers had no access to communications between family and friends during these times, which for some, includes long commutes.

NYC chose a particular local provider of , which included serving 277 challenging underground subway stations. There were several issues throughout the process that needed to be mitigated. These included: physical size (one of the largest subway systems in the world with a total of 468 stations above and underground), the incredible number of passengers (over 1.7 billion annually), a harsh and challenging environment (stations that are over 100 years old and have unique requirements, making it impossible to replicate a network plan across multiple stations, and station aesthetics should be maintained, station needs include dust-tight, wild temperature swings and jetting water) and connectivity challenges (including constantly changing radio densities as changing crowds move in and out of the subway system and riders always being on the move).

Two other big challenges were high performance expectations from NYC residents and visiting users, as well as deployment and maintenance challenges, as the subway system runs 24 hours a day and it is difficult to make closures.

So how did Zebra WLAN address these issues? Stay tuned for our next blog to find out, and don’t hesitate to contact Supply Chain Services for additional information about Zebra WLAN.  

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