3 Ways To Improve Subway Tunnel Cell Service
3 Ways To Improve Subway Tunnel Cell Service
28 June 2022 - 12:03, by , in Blog, Comments off

Even though phones have become so common that it’s hard to find someone without a phone on them, cellular service can still be spotty. This spottiness is because the infrastructure has been slow to meet consumer needs, especially in rural areas and where concrete and buildings block cellular service in urban areas. Subways, in particular, have always suffered poor cellular service. Read on to learn how people have been improving subway tunnel cell service and will continue to improve it in the future.

Build and Operate Cellular Connections

The biggest obstacle to cellular service in subway tunnels has always been that they are underground. This location means that feet of solid concrete sit between someone’s phone and a cell tower. Navigating this issue has always been challenging, as there’s not much room to build these sorts of connections underground when space is vital. Thankfully, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and other subway lines have been working with cellular companies to build cellular infrastructure systems that strengthen connections.

Signal Boosters

On top of building distributed antenna systems (DAS) and Wi-Fi hotspots in these subway tunnels, cities are looking toward signal boosters. Multiple grassroots projects like the Subspotting project have captured and visualized cell phone reception in subways, revealing where the worst spots are. Thanks to projects like these, cities can better visualize where signal boosters and other technology are most needed. Of course, there are still many obstructions that block signals the city needs to account for. But many cities are doing their best to strengthen these signals and make subway tunnels safer.

Leaky Coax

Another way cellular service reaches these hard-to-reach tunnels is through leaky coax. An interesting aspect of many cellular cables is that they leak. These cables have holes in them, and cellular signals leak into tunnels. Many of these cables were installed decades ago to assist emergency personnel and served as an alternative to antennae that the city could not install because of their costly maintenance. These leaky coax cables are not the perfect solution, but they are a start and serve as a great foundation for further improvements to these tunnels.

These three ways to improve subway tunnel cell service will make riding the subway much nicer for traditional riders but also emergency personnel. At Harris Communications, we’re working on making cellular service work for everyone through our distributed antenna system designs. Dead zones are annoying and dangerous, and we’re doing everything we can to fix the issue.

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