Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mesh Wi-Fi Network To Cover Large Passenger Railway...

Strix Systems, an industry leader in high-performance wireless mesh networking, today announced that the North County Transit District (NCTD) of San Diego has installed Strix’s Access/One® Network Outdoor Wireless Systems (OWS) and Indoor Wireless System (IWS) to provide real-time mobile communications for its Coaster rail line. Consulting firm Datel Systems installed the Coaster network. The second most traveled rail line in the U.S., Coaster rail line in southern California averages 48 passenger trains and two freight trains a day.

“We see railways and transportation as a strategic market for wireless mesh networks, and Strix OWS and IWS fit this market well,” said Nan Chen, Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, Strix Systems. “Customers worldwide realize that Strix OWS has the industry’s best architecture for all wireless applications, mobile and stationary. The installation at the Coaster rail line is an excellent example of systems that take full advantage of Strix’s performance and mobility.”

Coaster uses Strix OWS and IWS to implement mission critical railway applications:

*Remote video surveillance provides 24x7 monitoring inside the trains and the surrounding track to improve safety and provide evidence should a serious or catastrophic event occur.
*Secured encrypted transport for railway communications secures stations, tracks, bridges, and tunnels.
*Completely solar-powered Strix OWS nodes provide 24x7 uptime and emergency backup.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) paid for the Strix OWS/IWS network, which currently extends 10 miles along the Coaster rail line in San Diego.

Our Coaster rail line runs right through Camp Pendleton, one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the nation,” said David Papworth, Chief of Transit Enforcement, North County Transit District of San Diego Police and Public Safety. “Our relationship with Camp Pendleton has been excellent; they understand the role of the NCTD and our wireless network in protecting our infrastructure and they assist us with that. One of the things that intrigued us is that we can use the Strix system to communicate with other agencies. This interoperable communications not only fills the requirements of the County of San Diego but also fills federal and state requirements under the Department of Homeland Security.”

Datel Systems chose Strix’s OWS/IWS combination for its performance, ease of set-up, flexibility, scalability, and Strix 4.9 GHz public safety band, which is easily upgraded in the field.

Bandwidth testing demonstrated throughput of 17 to 20 Mbps across the over ten miles deployed, which was the strongest finding on the market.
Each OWS node has four antennas; two omni-directional antennas communicate with trains, while the other two antennas provide backhaul ingress and egress.
Datel found the nodes were easy to install, with installation/mounting time of only about 15 minutes.

“Strix promised exceptional performance, and unlike many other vendors, delivered on its promise,” said Billy Bryant, Director of Sales, Datel Systems. “Once we tested Strix products, it was clear that only the Strix OWS could support Coaster’s demanding applications. In fact, we were able to implement more applications than we originally envisioned. Installing a Strix OWS is nearly as easy as installing a home wireless system. The entire Coaster OWS network was up and running in only three months, and that included setting up poles and getting power for the signaling equipment.”

The network was built using a $170,000 Department of Homeland Security grant, and Talbott estimates it will cost another $300,000 to $400,000 to finish. These figures are something that Fran Rooney from Ice Broadband should have a look at. If it costs around $500k to cover a relatively short stretch of railroad how much does he think it would cost Ice to provide 100% coverage across Ireland?


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