A fairly strident interview with CEDX's head, Craig Plunkett, about the failure of the tri-state rail system to add Wi-Fi: Craig is a great correspondent and a straight shooter over the years we've written back and forth about New York, New Jersey, and even Connecticut Wi-Fi and cellular data issues. His company, CEDX, does conventional network installations, but Craig's passion is Wi-Fi. He has a variety of interesting projects all over the New York area.
He's particularly irritated and interested--you can tell by this interview--in why it's so hard to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that runs the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road and Bus lines to care about adding Wi-Fi when it would be so easy to put together a subsidized test project. Don't they care about riders' needs? No, he says, they don't. Nobody's job is on the line because passengers complain.
Craig also notes that the MTA seems to be seduced by 3G. Now, 3G is a great technology and you'd think it would be perfect for railroads which move rapidly and cover often the same ground as highways or communities that would be the first to get 3G build-outs. But it turns out, as I wrote in The New York Times last July, most transportation vehicles are big metal shells that block cellular signals effectively enough to make data transfer problematic.
The solution could be a hybrid in which Wi-Fi isn't strung on posts but rather distributed through cars which then talk to cellular or other transmitters along the route. This is the model that PointShot Wireless has been pursuing with partners in the U.S., Canada, and the UK to deploy railroad-Fi.