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London Underground to roll out Wi-Fi at 120 tube stations

Anh Nguyen, Computerworld UK | March 30, 2011
London Underground has announced plans to extend Wi-Fi access at tube stations after a successful trial at Charing Cross.

Lynch said that passengers can avoid this risk by changing their mobile device's settings to not automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks.

Stephen Rayment, CTO of wireless networking solutions company, BelAir Networks, added that the network could be further secured by ensuring that policy enforcement is performed in each Wi-Fi access point, rather than at a controller or gateway.

A spokesperson for Transport for London (TfL), said: "Access to mobile and data networks is already common on many world metros and our customers tell us they would welcome this.

"The majority of the Underground is actually above ground where customers can already use mobile and data services. LU has tried and tested procedures in place to deal with unattended items on the Tube."

But Rayment believes that performance on the Wi-Fi network is an even bigger concern than security.

"During peak times, there can easily be hundreds of people at a tube station. Delivering sufficient data capacity in these high interference environments is critical. If people have a hard time using the service because it keeps dropping out, they'll soon turn off."

Meanwhile, TfL is holding ongoing talks about the potential provision of mobile phone services on the Tube with mobile phone operators and other suppliers.

It said that any solution would need to be funded through mobile operators with "no cost to fare or taxpayers".

In March 2009, TfL scrapped a plan to trial mobile phone use on the tube network due to high costs.


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