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Project Spotlight: Expanding free Wi-Fi across Line 1 stations

Image - Project Spotlight: Expanding free Wi-Fi across Line 1 stations

Take advantage of our growing free TELUS Wi-Fi network, now available at eight O-Train Line 1 stations

If you’ve ever checked your e-mail or browsed the web while waiting at one of our stations, you probably already know how useful our free TELUS Wi-Fi network can be.

Currently installed in seven stations and counting, our free Wi-Fi network allows customers to save their data while waiting for their next bus or train.

Free Wi-Fi map with connected stations

Free Wi-Fi is currently available at Tunney’s Pasture, Pimisi, Lyon, Parliament, Rideau, uOttawa, Tremblay and Blair stations.

Have you ever thought about what it takes to install a Wi-Fi network in an active train station? We try to make it look easy, but there’s a lot happening behind the scenes. Find out how we’re expanding free Wi-Fi to all stations on O-Train Line 1.

I’ve set up Wi-Fi at home. Is it a similar process?

In some ways it’s similar. TELUS already has fibre optic cables running the length of Line 1. These cables are similar to what runs through many  neighbourhoods.
Setting up Wi-Fi at our stations doesn’t just mean connecting the right equipment to those existing lines. Unlike at your home, there’s no easy way to plug antennas into the existing network without installing new fibre optic cables.

The first step is planning where the new equipment will go in the walls, ceiling, and floor. That means mapping out the necessary routes for the conduits that carry the cables through the Wi-Fi network. Workers must drill through solid cement to create conduits from one area to another in most stations. Sometimes we need to explore alternate routes to get the job done.

We also need to plan out where the antennas will go inside the station. The antennas need to match their surroundings and need to be spread out around the station to ensure good Wi-Fi coverage without getting in the way.

While the actual installation work is done by TELUS, we work closely with their contractors to make sure the work can be done safely and in a way that won’t affect customers. This means most of the work happens after service hours, when stations are closed to the public.

The next step is securing antennas and installing cables throughout the station.  During installation, we do our best to make equipment blend in with its surroundings.  For example, some cables are hidden behind certain signs on the platform, and others are placed inside the elevator shaft or in the ceiling.

Once everything is installed, hooked up and powered on, a special technician connects new fibre optic cables to the existing ones. The last step before preparing for launch is testing the signal to make sure everything is ready.

Are there any challenges with this kind of work?    

Installing Wi-Fi on a transit system needs to be carefully coordinated. Sometimes, TELUS contractors need access to the tracks, which can only happen after service has ended. work is carefully planned around other necessary activities such as train testing or system maintenance.

Why not install free Wi-Fi at all the stations at the same time?

To ensure the best possible experience for our customers, TELUS' expert crew needs to carefully tackle each installation one step at a time. Just like with a home renovation, installation can also be affected by wait times for the materials and equipment required to do the job. Rather than trying to install Wi-Fi at 13 stations simultaneously over a longer period of time, the benefits of free Wi-Fi are being provided to customers faster on a station-by-station basis.

Have you taken advantage of the free Wi-Fi at our O-Train Line 1 stations?