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WiFi on the Amtrak Silver Star Service 92


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#1 Donnylad

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:12 AM

Hi

 

I understand that WiFi is available on certain Amtrak services across the US.

 

can anyone confirm (or otherwise !) please if I can expect it to be available on the Silver Star up to NYP?

 

If not, how feasible would it be to "hop-off" at any stations along the route (preferably without risking the train leaving me behind !!!) to establish a quick connection for sending/receiving e-mails?

 

Thanks in advance folks

 

Donnylad


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#2 John Bobinyec

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:24 AM

The Silver Star does not have wifi.  It's not practical getting off the train to establish a connection - going north.  Wifi is available at some of the bigger stations on the NEC, but in that part of 92's schedule, the stations are "discharge only".  The train can leave as early as it wants as soon as the station work is done.

 

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#3 SubwayNut

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:31 AM

Donnyland,

 

I see your in the UK. I simply check my e-mail on trains like this using my iPhone with a data plan. If you have an unlocked smart phone perhaps you could buy a US Sim card with a data plan for your time in the US.

 

During a station stop in a place like Washington if the train is stopped near a Northeast Regional or Acela train that has wifi you might be able to get a quick connection to check e-mail from those cars that are wifi enabled. 


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#4 xyzzy

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:50 AM

Some of the countryside through which 92 operates has little or no mobile coverage. Your chances are good, however, of connecting via Wifi at the Raleigh, NC station -- where 92 often stops for a lengthy period because Raleigh is one of the stations where the schedule is padded for catch-up time. 



#5 VentureForth

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:37 PM

I don't understand why Wifi isn't available on 91/92, 97/98. It's available from Savannah to NYP on 89/90.

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#6 jis

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 02:08 PM

Wi-fi equipment has been installed on Amfleet I consists and not in Amfleet II consists. Try getting Wi-fi on the Amfleet II cars on 89/90 and you'll see what I mean. Wi-Fi is available only in the Amfleet I cars on that train.

 

In particular the master unit is installed in the Amfleet I Food Service cars. If a train does not have one of those it does not have the master receiver unit.



#7 AlanB

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:44 PM

And it is only because the Palmetto shares those Amfleet I cars with the general pool that the Palmetto even has any WiFi access at all. And south of RVR, that WiFi is spotty at best in many places.

Amtrak actually tested the system on the AutoTrain and it failed miserably because in far too many places the cellular data signals simply weren't strong enough, if they existed at all, to service the train.
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#8 xyzzy

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 04:31 PM

Amtrak actually tested the system on the AutoTrain and it failed miserably because in far too many places the cellular data signals simply weren't strong enough, if they existed at all, to service the train.

 

Ding ding ding. When the train happens to be within a mile or two of I-95 (or possibly the old U.S. routes that I-95 runs parallel to), there could be signal. But in a lot of places, the ex-ACL track runs through the middle of swamps or farmland. The constant drop-outs take a while to recover from.



#9 AlanB

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:02 PM

Amtrak actually tested the system on the AutoTrain and it failed miserably because in far too many places the cellular data signals simply weren't strong enough, if they existed at all, to service the train.

 
Ding ding ding. When the train happens to be within a mile or two of I-95 (or possibly the old U.S. routes that I-95 runs parallel to), there could be signal. But in a lot of places, the ex-ACL track runs through the middle of swamps or farmland. The constant drop-outs take a while to recover from.


Well that is indeed part of the problem. Another part of the issue is that in many places, while the cellular modems are picking up data signals, they're simply not strong enough.

When I travel the AT and Silvers, I can usually manage to stay on line for much of the run; at least when I'm not asleep. However, I'm often making do with only 1 or maybe 2 bars worth of signal on my phone. That's OK for just one person, if a bit slow. But try splitting that weak signal up for 100 users and the WiFi quickly becomes totally useless.

Along the NEC, the modems largely maintain 4 bars or more of signal strength, and the system automatically switches to the service providers that currently have the strongest signal to further improve overall performance. But when every provider is only providing 1 bar of strength, switching doesn't help much.
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#10 battalion51

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 08:04 PM

I'd venture to guess part of the challenge also has something to do with the differences in clientele. For the most part the folks that travel on trains like the Palmetto, Carolinian, and Regionals are making short hops of a few hours and are checking e-mails, doing work related items, etc. However the clientele of Silver Service, Lake Shore Limited, Crescent, etc. are taking longer trips and are going to be looking to the internet for entertainment. Even on my home network sometimes sites like Facebook, Buzzfeed, and others can take awhile to load simply because they're very heavy on graphics which requires a lot of bandwidth. Four coaches and two or three sleepers even with 25% usage is going to require a whole lot of data moving.


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#11 Beth2013

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 09:55 PM

Go to radio shack and get a Verizon jetpack pre- paid style. It works in a lot of place nirmal data service doesnt. I'm on the zephyr and have had service the entire time. People have been going crazy asking me how I had service. For 15$ for 250 mb pr one week, its well worth it.

#12 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:47 PM

I don't even consider the Internet when I travel. I can always wait until the end of the trip. Don't worry about it unless you are expecting very important e-mails. If you are deparate for Wi-Fi, you can ride the Palmetto from Savannah. What I ride has Wi-Fi too.


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#13 pennyk

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 05:23 AM

I routinely travel on the Silver Star and Silver Meteor from Orlando to the Northeast, and use a Verizon Mi-Fi hotspot.  I am able to connect to wi-fi most of the way.


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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:03 AM

However, I'm often making do with only 1 or maybe 2 bars worth of signal on my phone. That's OK for just one person, if a bit slow. But try splitting that weak signal up for 100 users and the WiFi quickly becomes totally useless.


Are you using LTE? LTE speeds aren't as affected by signal strength, which is why I ask.

#15 AlanB

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 09:12 AM

However, I'm often making do with only 1 or maybe 2 bars worth of signal on my phone. That's OK for just one person, if a bit slow. But try splitting that weak signal up for 100 users and the WiFi quickly becomes totally useless.


Are you using LTE? LTE speeds aren't as affected by signal strength, which is why I ask.


I've got an old iPhone 3GS using 3G.

However, Amtrak had far more modern equipment when it did the testing on the Auto Train, and even today they still see what happens on the Palmetto.
Alan,

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