Amtrak Wi-Fi (WiFi) Availability

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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nomis
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by nomis » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:42 am

markhb wrote:OTOH, has anyone experimented with IP via CWR? :D
is that google's next april fools ? :-)
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Mr.T
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Mr.T » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:46 pm

markhb wrote:The CEO of RyanAir (or someone there) has also suggested that passengers ride standing up. Even PeoplExpress didn't suggest that (or pay toilets), and they cut every penny they could before Frank Lorenzo bought them out and created Continental.

More on-topic for this thread: regarding the availability of connectivity for a trainset, the comparisons to cruise ships and aircraft are neglecting one point: trains travel on dry land, on a continuous ROW. I am not suggesting that running their own WAN with periodic POP/routers would be cost-effective in the short term, but it is a solution that isn't available to sea or air travelers. It could even be an aspect of an FCC-led nationwide broadcast broadband project.

OTOH, has anyone experimented with IP via CWR? :D
I suspect that "IP via CWR" would cause a lot of radio interference just like broadband-over-powerlines does. The unshielded powerlines (or in this case rails) would act like a giant antenna, broadcasting interference to shortwave and CB radios. I realize you're probably joking, but I think thats why it wouldn't work.
Also, I heard that the FAA has a specific rule against airline pay toilets, but I'm not sure if thats really true.

michaelk
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by michaelk » Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:45 pm

markhb wrote:...

More on-topic for this thread: regarding the availability of connectivity for a trainset, the comparisons to cruise ships and aircraft are neglecting one point: trains travel on dry land, on a continuous ROW. I am not suggesting that running their own WAN with periodic POP/routers would be cost-effective in the short term, but it is a solution that isn't available to sea or air travelers. It could even be an aspect of an FCC-led nationwide broadcast broadband project.

OTOH, has anyone experimented with IP via CWR? :D
Didn't sprint (the long distance company) start out as a railroads private network and then expanded from there?

Even today tons of fiber is run along row space leased from the railroads.

Problem with Amtrak is they don't own any significant long distance right of way do they? So the freight folks would need to be the ones to do it and is there a snow balls chance in hecthey could even break even? Doubt it.

In any event I think LTE changes everything in a few years anyway. Once ubiquitous (before Amtrak is likely to have wifi on all its equipment)- if I was addicted to bandwidth why would I want to bother with shared wifi (most likely powered off lte) i when I could have lte of my own?

Best play is maybe amtrak to just equip there stuff with LTE ready recievers and make the deal with verizon or att requiring them to add X towers needed by Amtrak ld trains each year. Whoever will commmit to the best coverage wins.

n2cbo
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by n2cbo » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:44 pm

michaelk wrote:
Didn't sprint (the long distance company) start out as a railroads private network and then expanded from there?
Yes Sprint was originally part of Southern Pacific. The name is actually an acronym for Southern Pacific Railroad Intelligent Network of Telecommunications.
michaelk wrote: In any event I think LTE changes everything in a few years anyway. Once ubiquitous (before Amtrak is likely to have wifi on all its equipment)- if I was addicted to bandwidth why would I want to bother with shared wifi (most likely powered off lte) i when I could have lte of my own?

Best play is maybe amtrak to just equip there stuff with LTE ready recievers and make the deal with verizon or att requiring them to add X towers needed by Amtrak ld trains each year. Whoever will commmit to the best coverage wins.
Not everyone is willing to pay the monthly charge for 3g or 4g data service for a laptop. Most laptops have WiFi built in.

trainmaster611
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by trainmaster611 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:05 pm

markhb wrote: More on-topic for this thread: regarding the availability of connectivity for a trainset, the comparisons to cruise ships and aircraft are neglecting one point: trains travel on dry land, on a continuous ROW. I am not suggesting that running their own WAN with periodic POP/routers would be cost-effective in the short term, but it is a solution that isn't available to sea or air travelers. It could even be an aspect of an FCC-led nationwide broadcast broadband project.
Am I missing something? Why not just use onboard routers and a satellite antenna?

michaelk
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by michaelk » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:12 pm

n2cbo wrote:
michaelk wrote:
michaelk wrote: In any event I think LTE changes everything in a few years anyway. Once ubiquitous (before Amtrak is likely to have wifi on all its equipment)- if I was addicted to bandwidth why would I want to bother with shared wifi (most likely powered off lte) i when I could have lte of my own?

Best play is maybe amtrak to just equip there stuff with LTE ready recievers and make the deal with verizon or att requiring them to add X towers needed by Amtrak ld trains each year. Whoever will commmit to the best coverage wins.
Not everyone is willing to pay the monthly charge for 3g or 4g data service for a laptop. Most laptops have WiFi built in.
Exactly. Its not critical enough for them to spend 30 a month to have wireless broadband. Wireless internet is nice to have when its free for sure but most don't want to pay for an anywhere connection.

Anyway since like the dawn of the 20th century communication prices have dropped and always headed towards unlimited. Happened in local phone call, long distance, dial up, wired broadband, and wireless broadband. Will be interesting to see if the 21st century paridigm will really wind up different or not. In other words will these new pay for use plans really wind up costing more or not for consumers as a whole. Personally I'm sure that wireless will continue to get more ubiqutious and faster and cheaper per bit to the consumer. What's weird now is that we use so much more all the time so while the cost per bit will drop for sure can it drop enough that total bills will also drop. If total bills continue to drop then wifi becomes less relevant and I'm not sure its a great investment.

markhb
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by markhb » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:52 pm

trainmaster611 wrote:Am I missing something? Why not just use onboard routers and a satellite antenna?
There was criticism in the thread that satellite is slow and unreliable. It occurred to me that the advantage trains have is that they are terrestrial in nature, and running miles of fiber on those thousands of largely idle telegraph poles would hardly be unproven technology. Expensive, yes, but I simply mentioned it as an option that could be explored in the future. (And yes, IP over CWR was a joke.)
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MattW
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by MattW » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:03 am

If you're going to the trouble of running fiber along all the Right of Ways, the better solution is to run the fiber to transceivers set up along the tracks with their antenna patterns designed around the terrain and track path (not omnidirectional in other words). Then you don't run into the problems of running a data network on top of whatever electronic signals the railroad uses in its tracks, and avoid the broadband over powerline issue alluded to up a few posts.

David Benton
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by David Benton » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:02 am

Amtrak does not own the row in the majority of routes . so it would be paying the freights for the access .
on the other hand , this may be a way of sharing the costs of a ptc control system , if this level of communication is required for that .
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Kilgore Trout
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Kilgore Trout » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:24 am

Even if new signal lines are required for PTC it still won't be cheap to run fiber at the same time.
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Oldsmoboi
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Oldsmoboi » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:02 pm

Wi-Fi/3G access is how I convinced my employer to let me take Amtrak instead of flying. Takes longer, but cheaper than flying (even with Roomette on one route for me) and I can work from the train if need be (I monitor remote servers... it's not like I'm just sitting there typing)

Ken W2KB
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Ken W2KB » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:20 pm

In many cases for the long distance routes, Interstate highways are parallel within cellular range. Most Interstate highways have good cellular coverage. As mentioned in an above post, there will be dropouts, some for several minutes, but the potential is there for a value added service for many passengers.
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JimBoylan
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by JimBoylan » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:16 am

South Eastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority did use closed circuit radio over 3rd rail, and later, over trolley wire. The disadvantage - trolley poles come off wires more often than 3rd rail shoes break off.
The Martz Trailways Amtrak Thruway bus operated by 1st Class that ran as trip 6091 from Tampa to Ft. Myers, Fla. on 7/11/11 touted "WiFi inside".
I counted 119 passengers boarding Train 91 that day, including some last moment ticket sales. The train lost 5 minutes because the crowd couldn't board from the low platform in the allotted time.

michaelk
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by michaelk » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:10 pm

From Forbes article 10 tips for Acela:

http://blogs.forbes.com/bethgreenfield/ ... a-journey/
forbes wrote: Consider using your own wireless device.

Though all Acela trains now offer free WiFi (a wonderfully welcome addition, to say the least), the service is spotty, weak, sometimes filtered and generally less than reliable—something acknowledged by Amtrak, which carries this advice on its website: “AmtrakConnect is a shared Internet connection that works best when browsing basic content or reading email. We ask that you refrain from playing streaming video or downloading large files so that we can provide all our passengers with the best network experience possible. Amtrak may restrict access to those individuals who are found to be utilizing high-levels of bandwidth. Amtrak will also restrict access to some websites deemed to have questionable content. If you have encountered a website which you feel has been incorrectly blocked by our automatic filter, let us know.” If you absolutely must have strong, constant service, you’re better off traveling with your own wireless internet card.

Suburban Station
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Re: This Wi-Fi Stuff

Post by Suburban Station » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:02 am

so no sooner did we have the bags uptop than our 12 yo niece says "i dibt ubderstand why they dont have wifi"

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