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Wandering WiFi

TORPC
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Wandering WiFi

[quote= http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-28198237]The UK government is promising to improve wi-fi connectivity on trains, while making services up to 10 times faster. What will happen, asks Justin Parkinson.
Train passengers hate it when wi-fi cuts out. It stops them getting work done, denies them access to the latest news and prevents them keeping in touch with others via emails and social media.
Ministers are promising that a £90m upgrade across England and Wales will stop them being "constantly disrupted by poor signal". This will be part-funded by a £53.1m fine levied on Network Rail for failing to ensure enough trains run on time. It is expected that a universal service, offering broadband speeds up to 10 times the current level, free to all train users, will be in place within a few years.
Do you think there are other priorities that should be catered for with the £90 Million
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itsme
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Re: Wandering WiFi

Is it the signal strength of a lack of IP addresses. Saw the Tour De France on Monday in an Essex village and could not get on the internet either using WiFi or the mobile network was failing because couldn't get an IP address.
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Re: Wandering WiFi

Quote from: TORPC
Do you think there are other priorities that should be catered for with the £90 Million

Yes.
As much as I love t'internet, I do feel that wifi on trains is a bit of an overkill to be honest. On top of that, I don't want to be exposed to EM radiation by force and then pay for it. Cancer is a plague and while it's spread seems to be growing exponentially, so does the use of wireless tech.
Quite frankly I see wifi on trains as being a pathetic service offering considering whatelse needs to be done to our railways. They need badly upgrading, extending, new old lines being reopened etc. It's terrible that they think a bit of wifi will keep passengers sweet (and truth be told it probably will). We're sleep walking into a distractions-solve-everything state.
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Infinity
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Re: Wandering WiFi

Quote from: itsme
Is it the signal strength of a lack of IP addresses. Saw the Tour De France on Monday in an Essex village and could not get on the internet either using WiFi or the mobile network was failing because couldn't get an IP address.

Or could it have just been that the services were overloaded/ overwhelmed at that time ?
nanotm
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Re: Wandering WiFi

I don't understand why there ignoring the cheaper options so its going to cost them 90 million when they could effectively fit a power line adaptor to each train and a wireless repeater in every carriage .....half the trains round this way already use this tech and the tech required certainly isn't that expensive.......
but instead they would rather build some dodgy wont work Wi-Fi transmitter line along the side of the tracks
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: Wandering WiFi

Quote from: nanotm
I don't understand why there ignoring the cheaper options so its going to cost them 90 million when they could effectively fit a power line adaptor to each train

That then relies on physical contact with the rails. If you've ever watched trains while they're moving you'll know that the shoes frequently loose contact with the 3rd rail and also generate sparks (eg when going over water on the rail).
Thats not good for signal quality. In this case, wireless is the only real way of having a reliable signal for a high data rate.
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nanotm
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Re: Wandering WiFi

I spose, the tracks round this way are baisicly flat so I wasn't thinking about the bumpy areas, perhaps they would be better off using a two pronged approach then to put wifi in "problem areas" and use the POE solution for the majority, that would certainly give them a better and cheaper upgrade.
I still think its a waste of government cash though when you consider how much profit the private companies are making from the rail network surely they could fund there own upgrade package and lower there already exuberant profit levels (info http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/transport/article3914621.ece lets be honest paying twice for everything is rubbing a lot of cash strapped people up the wrong way and this sort of public money waste isn't doing anything to make that go away
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: Wandering WiFi

Although, hopefully, with the majority of passengers buried deep into their wireless connection you won't be bothered with as much constant chatter as everyone around tends to shout into their mobile phones at the same time Roll eyes

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Re: Wandering WiFi

Quote from: nanotm
I spose, the tracks round this way are baisicly flat so I wasn't thinking about the bumpy areas

You never cease to amaze me  Roll eyes
All tracks are flat, there are not bumpy tracks.
Look at this image:

You see those 4 rails I've marked out? Those are the 3rd rails (also known as the 'live' rail). The live rail is the electricity supply to the train. In the picture above there are multiple short live rails providing a power supply across the points. A point worth noting is that all electric trains in the UK have a shoe on each side of the train and at both ends (so a minimum of 4 shoes) however it's common for there to be a shoe on both sides of every bogey (set of wheels) on every carriage. For a train with 4 carriages, you would have 4 shoes per carriage making 16 shoes per train.
Do you see how the 3rd rails are sloped downwards? That is so that the 'shoe' on the train can slip on and off them with minimal fuss while the train is moving.
This is a 3rd rail shoe in contact with the rail:

This is a 3rd rail shoe when it is not in contact with the rail:

As you can see, it hangs. Why? Because it must. The shoe is not a wheel. It is simply a highly conductive metal that allows the transfer of electricity between the track and train. Due to TOLERANCES, there will always be the minor difference in height between shoe and track. Therefore the show must press down on the track. If the track disappears, the shoe will press down a bit more - to the maximum amount it can. Therefore the only way to put a show back on the track at speed without ripping it off the train, is to use a slope on the end of the 3rd rail so that the shoe slides up onto it.
Why would it even need to come off the track? Well, as pictured above, points are one thing but what happens when you rub two things together very fast for a long period? - They get hot! Therefore the 3rd rail switches from side to side of the track like this:

The 3rd rails on each side are usually of significant length but switch over to let the shoes cool down. While the other side is taking the heat, the hot shoes are now hanging in nothing but air and can cool down (at 50-70mph that won't take long). Then they switch again. The shoes are service items like brake pads on a car - they will be replaced at regular service intervals.
Now you may realise that shoes create friction, it may interest you to know that they also grease the 3rd rail with highly conductive grease / paste. While this does help for conductance of electricity, it does not help with voltage spikes. Voltage spikes won't make a lot of difference to a 750V motor but they will destroy a internet / homeplug signal that you suggested. The spikes are usually caused by the shoes slipping on / off the 3rd rail, contact with rain water etc. I'm sure some of the sheffield members will tell you about sparks from their trams too.
But I suppose you already knew all of this right?  Roll eyes
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nanotm
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Re: Wandering WiFi

not really no,  the last train I went on used a suspended wire to provide the power required.......
despite your assertions I'm not an expert on everything just a person who knows some things and has views on others
thanks for explaining the overview of the connection issues with third rail systems i'll try to remember it for the future so I can use it to make a better informed decision about such things.
but despite all of that I still believe its a giant waste of public money to upgrade what is essentially a private companies capabilities when those private companies make such huge profits and fail to invest for the future, its essentially rewarding them for there short-sightedness and bad business practice, if they ran on a non profit basis that might be a different matter
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: Wandering WiFi

Errrmmmm.... what? A government body called Network Rail owns and operates the rail infrastructure. The private companies own and operate the bits that trundle along the rail infrastructure. They have no responsibility for the tracks, its operation or maintenance.
nanotm
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Re: Wandering WiFi

I stand corrected then I was under the impression the classification transfer from private company to government body hadn't happened yet
edit
it appears I was correct this
Quote
The new status will be backdated to April 2004, and come into force on 1 September 2014.
from here http://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2013/12/17-network-rail-is-nationalised-by.html
not until for another few months then .....
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Re: Wandering WiFi

That's not a floated company! It won't have shares on the sock market (EDIT or even the stock market!!  Grin ). It's still a government body; all they are doing is a budget wangle so that they can use a different budget to fund it.
Quote
Network Rail will be now be formally classified as a 'central government body in the public sector'

Quote
Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility had said on 5 December that the change was likely to increase Public Sector Net Debt by about 2 per cent of GDP and Public Sector Net Borrowing by an average of 0.2 per cent of GDP.
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Re: Wandering WiFi

Clarification in this link. It will download a .doc file.
www.dfpni.gov.uk/classifying-public-bodies.doc
nanotm
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Re: Wandering WiFi

thanks for that, I was reading a different link http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_345415.pdf which says something rather different about rail track's status implying its a totally private institute that like many other service providers receives some government funding but that this changed when the SRA was incorporated into it
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you