Why doesn’t Amtrak have wireless?

Just wondering. EVDO saves the day, but in general, wireless connectivity on the Amtrak like from Boston to NYC is terrible, with cell phone coverage spotty at best. But why can’t the train have a 802.1G signal?

Don’t get me going on the deplorable state of rail travel in the US. Two years of riding the Swiss train systems completely spoiled me to the possibilities.

Beautiful morning though, first true winter morning of the new year, with temperatures in the teens, but a bright orange sun flashing over Long Island Sound through the port-side windows of the Acela.

[update: four dropped calls on the train this morning. Yo, Sprint, build some towers along the tracks!]

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Why doesn’t Amtrak have wireless?”

  1. I use Verizon EVDO Rev A and it works well enough for me (and I’m a big kvetch in general).

    Some taxicabs in NYC are offering 802.11 b/g service by using Kyocera KR1 EVDO Wifi routers (see http://www.evdoinfo.com ). Just plug your EVDO wireless card in the router and you get Wifi service. Apparently Google runs commuter buses from SF that have a similar setup so everyone on the bus has wireless. The trains should do the same and with the right booster antennas and amplfiers would not lose service. Also consider getting a booster antenna for about $70 if you have the port for it (again see http://www.evdoinfo.com ).

    You can also buy antennas and amplifiers for your car.

    David, in fact, Lenovo should offer an antenna port on the built-in EVDO units so that one can plug in the booster antenna and they should sell the booster as an option. It really makes a difference.

  2. BTW, with the Verizon EVDO Rev A (not yet officially released but up and running n much of the country including Manhattan — see http://www.evdoinfo.com for a map also there is a forum thread with the various sitings) using the Sierra Wireless Aircard 595 PCMCIA I’m getting 1200 bps download (measured by downloading 20 MB file off MS website). Even with almost no signal (0 bars on VZ Access Manager) it is 720-800.

    Uploads tested with speedtest.net are in the 500-700 range and some of the pings are in the 75 ms range, good for VOIP which I haven’t yet tried on the EVDO. I also have yet to try the webcam with the faster upload speed. Overall, I really love the new, increased performance of the EVDO Rev A. and it feels *just fine*. 🙂

  3. Of course now that the FCC has pulled the code requirement for novice ham radio, you could all just migrate to 2 meters and use the repaters here on the CA coast for connectivity from Cabo San Lucas in Baja Sjud to Los Estancia de Mota y Sesimeilla in Humboldt County.

    Argh, matey
    Jim Forbes

  4. If you’re doing boston to NYC, do Limoliner — http://www.limoliner.com/. So the wireless is more dial-up mode than broadband, but it’s better ‘n nothing. And, as one of your shorter cohorts, I must say the seats are designed for giants (ie, you!).

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