WAAV's AirBox X2 Provides WiFi Internet on Boston's Commuter Rail

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Dual-connection cellular router from WAAV provides wireless Internet access to the MBTA's commuter rail, the first system-wide rollout of WiFi on a commuter rail in the United States

having accomplished something in a relatively short period of time that has not been done anywhere else in the country

WAAV® today announced that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has selected the AirBox® X2 dual connection cellular router to provide free public wireless Internet access on the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail (MBCR). This is the first full scale deployment of cellular wireless Internet on any U.S. commuter rail system. The rollout, to be completed in 2009, will include WiFi equipment on 258 commuter rail coaches.

A special press event was held Monday morning at North Station in Boston to kick off the official start of the MBCR's free public WiFi rollout, alongside two WiFi-equipped commuter rail coaches completely wrapped in bright orange graphics. The ceremony was moderated by the MBTA's General Manager Dan Grabouskas, with a keynote by Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray and concluding remarks from Deputy Secretary of the Executive Office of Transportation for Rail, Tom Cahir.

Lt. Gov. Murray, who is largely credited with initiating the project, was exuberant as he praised MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskas, the MBTA team, and the project's vendors for "having accomplished something in a relatively short period of time that has not been done anywhere else in the country".

"We are a leader in productivity, and the presence of the WiFi connectivity on our trains, on our commuter boats, and hopefully, some day, on every transportation entity, is something that we should take pride in." The Lt. Gov continued, "the citizens and visitors of the Commonwealth, and even some of the New England states that utilize our commuter rail trains, boats, etc., will be connected. Because of that, we can again highlight and accentuate our connectivity, our intellectual capital, and our productivity here in the Commonwealth."

WAAV, a Massachusetts-based technology company, had already been chosen to provide WiFi on the commuter boats in addition to being one of the vendors selected to participate in the commuter rail WiFi pilot program.

WAAV's AirBox X2 establishes two 3G cellular connections simultaneously and increases bandwidth by using both of these cellular links for data transport. With increased bandwidth capabilities, the MBCR's 18,000 daily passengers can easily connect to the wireless Internet connection through their laptops, iPods, wireless mobile devices, and PDAs.

Since its release in 2007, the AirBox X2 has quickly become the ideal solution for providing cellular broadband to mass transit. In addition to the MBTA, several other mass transit providers including Bolt Bus, Greyhound, Washington Deluxe, and LimoLiner have standardized on the dual connection AirBox X2 because it can support more simultaneous users than any single connection device.

The fast, free wireless Internet access provided by the AirBox X2 makes commute time significantly more productive for commuter rail passengers, increasing the appeal of mass transit and in turn significantly increasing ridership. Dan Grabauskas confirmed this when he noted that "no other issue has ever generated so much positive feedback as WiFi on the trains."

Benefits of the AirBox X2 Mass Transit Edition:

  •     Connect Many Devices and Users Simultaneously - Multiple devices and users access a single WiFi network name with Internet traffic balanced over multiple connections. Users don't need to manually change connections to another cellular router if a carrier drops or if one connection is overloaded.
  •     Utilize Multiple Wireless Technologies - While the AirBox X2 is widely recognized for its capability of using multiple cellular connections simultaneously, these capabilities can also extend to satellite, WiMax, and other wireless technologies. Cellular is the most cost-effective method of delivering bandwidth to users, but in some cases it may make sense to utilize other technologies in conjunction with cellular. In these circumstances, the AirBox X2 can failover or load balance a portion of traffic over these networks.
  •     Configurable Splash Screen - When users first open their browsers, they are greeted with a landing page. This can be configured to be any HTML page and can include a logo for brand recognition, advertising links and pictures, or the terms and conditions which must be accepted by users.
  •     Proportional Bandwidth - Each user is given a high and low limit to evenly proportion bandwidth among many users; this avoids one person from hogging all the bandwidth.
  •     Content Filtering - Optional content filtering helps prevent users from visiting websites inappropriate for public places.
  •     User Status Page - Users are able to access a status page to check cellular signal strength and other diagnostics to ensure coverage in their area. This is separate from the web administration utility that allows changing settings in the AirBox X2.
  •     Remote Management - Securely manage a fleet of AirBox X2 cellular routers from any location, change settings remotely, and view data usage, cellular information, and connected clients.
  •     GPS Fleet Management - Easily track multiple vehicles, map route history, speeds, and signal strengths, and text message drivers from an integrated web application.
  •     Global Cellular Carrier Plans Available - Choose the best-suited cellular carrier based on geographical needs. Compatible with most cellular carriers worldwide.

The AirBox X2 Mass Transit Edition is available now at http://www.waav.com. To learn more about how the AirBox X2 Mass Transit Edition is helping transportation companies or how it can be used in your industry, please visit http://www.waav.com or call 888-GET-WAAV (888-438-9228).

About WAAV:
WAAV, Inc. is the leading provider of rugged cellular routers for the mass transit, government, video surveillance, and television broadcasting industries. WAAV specializes in creating reliable cellular equipment and networking systems for remote and mobile applications that demand high bandwidth and ubiquitous connectivity. For more information on WAAV's products and services please visit http://www.waav.com.

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Jennifer Barthe

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