Tag Archives: 4GLTE

Next Stop: Connectivity! AT&T to Connect Mexico City Subway Riders

AT&T in Mexico will begin providing 4G LTE and Wi-Fi service throughout the Mexico City Metro subway system. The Metro is considered the world’s 4th largest subway system.

In Mexico City, AT&T is going underground. Literally.

In a few weeks, AT&T in Mexico will begin building a fiber-fed network to provide 4G LTE and Wi-Fi service throughout the massive Mexico City Metro subway system.

We’ll offer connectivity in the Metro system’s 195 stations and along all 12 Metro lines, which fan out across the sprawling capital of 20 million people. The system’s 350 trains travel through tunnels dipping to depths nearly 100 feet below the surface.

“Today, the connections in the Metro system are not very good or there’s no connection at all,” said Carlos Sanchez, AT&T in Mexico chief technology officer. Sanchez is overseeing the 3-year project.

“We came here in 2015 to deploy a 4G LTE network that will become an engine for innovation, social development and economic growth,” he said. “Our Mexico network above ground now reaches 78 million people. But in Mexico City, a sizable portion of the population uses the Metro.”

With 125 miles of tunnels, this Metro is considered the world’s 4th largest subway system and the largest in Latin America.

On an average day, 5.5 million people ride the Metro. And it’s not unusual for riders to be aboard between 1 and 2 hours each day.

Once completed, the Metro network will offer free Wi-Fi to all riders on 11 of the 12 lines. AT&T customers will have 4G LTE service across the entire system.

“They’re going to have the same high-quality network, the same capabilities that they have on the surface,” Sanchez said. “If you spend an hour in the subway every day, that hour — from a customer perception standpoint — is going to change dramatically.”

Sanchez, who grew up in Venezuela and has worked in 6 countries for AT&T, including the U.S., started working for AT&T in Mexico in early 2015. A year ago, he and many others began talking to Mexico City and Metro officials about the underground 4G LTE network.

On March 9, Mexico City’s mayor, Dr. Miguel Angel Mancera Espinosa, executives of AT&T in Mexico and the head of the Metro system signed the agreement launching the project.

Nearly 1,000 AT&T employees and contractors will start installing network equipment in the stations and tunnels in May, Sanchez predicts. He describes the configuration as a “distributed cell site.”

We’ll install fiber in the tunnels. Larger, network gear will be housed in the stations. Radio equipment will connect to antennas in the tunnels and on the trains.

The teams will first tackle Metro Lines 7, 3 and 1, which Sanchez described as the toughest. Line 7 is the deepest, running some 100 feet below the surface. And Lines 3 and 1 have the largest number of riders, with about 700,000 people a day on each line.

What also makes the entire project more daunting is that AT&T crews will have to work when the trains are idle – from around midnight to 4 a.m.

AT&T crews in the tunnels will undergo extensive safety checks every night coming and going. Before leaving, crews will have to thoroughly clean and check their workspaces within the tunnels to help ensure the trains run safely.

“We’ll probably end up with about 3 hours of work a night,” Sanchez said. “I’m hoping after working on the first line, we’ll learn a lot, and then we can adjust our practices to speed things up.”

Despite the challenges, Sanchez seems almost unfazed.

“Providing service to 5.5 million people a day is like covering a whole other city, only this one is underground,” he said. “But here, density is part of the deal. And while this is a special project, it’s just part of what we’re doing here. 2017 is a year when we’ll start deploying IoT projects and more.

“We had a competitive disadvantage that we’ve been able to reduce significantly,” said Sanchez, snapping his fingers. “We move fast, speedy. We’re the small carrier here, so keeping the pace (snap, snap) is important. There’s a lot of the right chemistry on our team. That’s been kind of the secret sauce for reaching the point where we are now.”

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Cradlepoint Helps San Antonio Give its Traffic Management System and Smart City Initiative the Green Light

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Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-based network solutions for connecting people, places, and things over wired and wireless broadband, has announced that it’s helping the City of San Antonio scale its traffic management system to meet high population growth expectations.

Cradlepoint has enabled the City of San Antonio to become a Smart City by streamlining its traffic management system to realize a nearly 100 percent rate of communication across its network, all while reducing the amount of resources needed to maintain the network.

The city is currently home to 1.4 million people, so traffic congestion had become a big headache for both the residents and traffic officials when its legacy management system experienced inconsistent remote communications support. In response, the City of San Antonio began utilizing Cradlepoint solutions for always-on, cloud-managed primary LTE connectivity across its distributed traffic network.

San Antonio’s Traffic Management Center is responsible for the city’s nearly 1,400 intersections. The city’s complex legacy network included a mesh of a dozen radio towers and 300 wired and wireless access points that served as reference nodes to the rest of the network. However, its legacy infrastructure performed inconsistently, only allowing staff to engage with about 60 percent of the city’s intersections. This created a serious issue, as staff need constant access to the traffic network to centrally monitor key applications, troubleshoot problems, and adjust the clocks that synchronize traffic lights and flow.

Cradlepoint helps the City of San Antonio overcome these issues with cloud-managed COR IBR1100 LTE routers as the primary WAN source throughout the traffic management network. Most importantly, the Traffic Management Center now has the scalability required to meet the city’s expected growth without sacrificing speed or connectivity.

“As the commutes for our motorists began to slow, we knew we had to implement a new solution that would address our network communication issues. However, this could be a huge, intimidating undertaking for staff of just 16 individuals. Cradlepoint took the uncertainty out of the equation,” said Marc Jacobson, manager, City of San Antonio’s Traffic Management Center. “Cradlepoint has changed our mindset to the point that we are beginning to come up with new ways to utilize cloud-managed LTE to make our jobs easier, and to make the ride better for everyday commuters.”

“As cities grow, their infrastructure will need to adapt to the growing needs of the general public. Cradlepoint is dedicated to providing solutions that integrate the best of cloud, SDN, and 4G LTE to not only address the network issues of today, but also to easily scale networks to efficiently meet future demands,” said Ian Pennell, chief marketing officer, Cradlepoint. “For the City of San Antonio, this means the Traffic Management Center can initiate Smart City initiatives, begin to ease traffic congestion, and create a better commuting environment for residents, tourists, and future San Antonians.”

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