Weird pole in Chinatown

John Hanzl wonders what this thing is. It showed up earlier this week on Harrison Avenue in Chinatown.



no, it's not.

By on

That's just a standard surveillance camera with a gunshot sensor (ie, a sensor that triggers the camera to record / alerts the camera operator

Shotspotter provides triangulation, and uses either a cylinder-shaped microphone array or a microphone covered by what looks like a throw pillow.

The image Adam posted is almost certainly a WiFi AP, microcell, or radio repeater - especially if you look at the full-size image (Adam posted a very tiny version.) The top cylinder is pretty obviously an antenna, with a solid plastic cover - and you can see what look like two coax couplers. Shotspotter also doesn't need anywhere near that large an equipment box, but cells need a fair amount of space and a fair amount of cooling.


By on

Do tell.

It's a new 5G test pole from

By on

It's a new 5G test pole from Verizon from their deal with the city of Boston in exchange for *supposed* Fios fiber optic coverage for the whole city. The worst part of the ugliness is that the base is almost 5' wide!

I, for one, will be demanding that Verizon get booted from their BS cupcake agreement with the city if they don't follow through with offering real Fios to city residents. This article shows the real fear--that Verizon punked the city and will only offer 2nd tier, non-reliable, non-secure wireless service, not fiber optic to residents, as originally promised.

Cornell & Aldrich in Roslindale

By on

Couldn't agree more about the ugliness. Its like they took a 19'' rack mount datacenter product and engineered an oversized enclosure with environmental controls so they could stick it on the pole. Textbook example of a bad design. Fail.

Take a look at google street view of the install at Cornell and Aldrich in Roslindale. The nbhd is a quiet as a mouse, and all you hear is the fan in the enclosure. I'm sure the house owners right there *love* it.

Doubtful this is Verizon 5G

By on

The street view of Cornell and Aldrich is dated August 2013. This pre-dates any work by Verizon for FIOS or 5G. If that has been there for a while, it is likely some other cell tower service, possibly Metro-PCS. If it is Verizon it is a part of their already-installed network.

There are lots of boxes on poles all over. Comcast and RCN have pretty large boxes that are electrically powered. These are booster boxes to boost their cable signals to compensate for loss over distance-traveled of the signal.

Verizon has yet to install any antenna arrays in the burbs of Boston (i.e. Roslindale, West Rox, etc. What they are installing is connection boxes. These are a light beige color and a little bigger than a standard copper-wire telephone splice box, but smaller than the cable TV booster boxes. The fiber trunks will go to these smaller beige boxes and then homes will be connected from these connection points.

Unlike copper wire, fiber cannot be spliced. They require specific connection styles and a length of glass fiber will be measured from the nearest connection box to your home. This is one uninterrupted length of glass fiber.


By on

its a Verizon Wireless 5G mini cell site. Expect to see more of these all over the city.

And I agree with your statement. I also want them tossed out of this cupcake agreement because the city should not lock its light poles into one carrier. These should be carrier neutral so all carriers can benefit from these sites. Why should Verzion be given a sweetheart deal with the city to provide coverage when others can not. This is anti competitive, and was done with a "no bid" process because VZ promised "FiOS". There's something super sleazy about this.. but then again, it's Verizon.. so I am not surprised.

These have been appearing all

By on

These have been appearing all over the city. Some double as light poles others are standalone. The thing on the top is definitely some kind of sensor or antenna...

AM/FM radio antenna

Size extra large. It looks like it should be able to extend and even swivel around for best reception.

Metro PSC

By on

Metro PSC has had towers like this in the back bay for years. The CEO told me the light poll design had to do with it was easier to get approved as a micro site than a full tower. No FCC meetings, just approval from the city which was had for them to deny as they got a free upgraded light pole out of the deal.

Lots of Metro-PCS unfinished

By on

When Metro-PCS started rolling out its micro towers a few years back there was a lot of stink because there was no neighborhood process to inform people about their installation so a lot of the roll-out was stopped except for those that were already under construction.

I watched Metro install a line from Washington down Firth in Roslindale a few years ago when I was driving that area in those days and asked. They said it was to tie in to an underground network on Washington and start connections to a mini-tower. My guess is they were tying in to the existing fibers already in that street which have been there for years.

The cable stopped at the light pole at Florence and Firth. Then the stink around the city about lack of community input arose. As of now that cable is still in the street and terminates underground at Florence and Firth going no place. In theory that pole or one near it was slated to have a mini-tower.

It's interesting that this is an issue with people concerned about radio emission radiation. Yes, we should be concerned, but consider that a lot of church steeples are now cell towers. You just don't see it.

Sacred Heart on Cummins has one and the Congregational Church at the other end of Cummins across from the post office is another. It's a very lucrative lease contract in the thousands monthly. The VFW post on ALH has a tower but it was never built out. Suggestion is it could at a later date. The pole has been there for a number of years.