Verizon LTE signal on Sunset Limited

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by iliketrains, Jun 19, 2019.

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  1. Jun 19, 2019 #1

    iliketrains

    iliketrains

    iliketrains

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    Has anyone with Verizon taken the Sunset Limited lately and can comment on the signal strength onboard the Sunset Limited? This train does not have Wifi; so, I'm wondering if it's worth temporarily modifying my Verizon plan to the more expensive unlimited highest speed LTE plan just for a trip on the Sunset Limited. I would be using streaming services like Netflix and YouTube TV. With the train being a moving target, how strong of a signal would I get (how may bars?).
     
  2. Jun 19, 2019 #2

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

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    You didnt indicate what part of the Route you will be on but between Palm Springs and Maricopa, Tucson and El Paso, and El Paso and San Antonio there are not many people and ALL Cell Service is Weak to Fugitaboutit!

    I wouldn't pay the money,just relax and enjoy the trip without being "connected" for a couple of days.
     
  3. Jun 19, 2019 #3

    iliketrains

    iliketrains

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    Uh oh that does not sound promising. However, Verizon has surprised me a lot. I've been in some rural areas where there were far more animals than people and the signal strength was at least 3 bars. I was hoping the same for some of the areas you mentioned.
     
  4. Jun 19, 2019 #4

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

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    The Sunset Ltd is like the other western trains. Sporadic coverage by cell phone companies. There's no reason whatsoever for cell phone companies to build a tower when there's 50 or less houses within the range of the tower (8-10mi?). So there's no towers in the barren desert areas, so there's no cellphone coverage. Check the coverage area along the Sunset route for Verizon at their site to see where the gaps are. Obviously, within 20 miles of so of major metropolitan areas like Houston or El Paso, coverage is great.
     
  5. Jun 19, 2019 #5

    drdumont

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    Bob Dylan is right, going through the desert, even between cities elsewhere, you might have fair signal in the clear or maybe in a car. But the metal shell of the railroad car plus the movement (I'll not get into Doppler phase shift, multipath or any of the other technical issues) degrades the signal. No matter the advertising puffery, 4G and LTE protocols are really stuffy about signal quality. And streaming needs a solid two way connection. I'm a Verizon 4G/LTE customer, and it doesn't work all that well in metropolitan areas. It's pretty persnickety.
    I have found that when aboard Amtrak, if you have enough signal to make a call, email and light browsing will work. I don't stream, so no help there. I carry movies on my tablet or a portable drive. Google "torrent file downloading". Nuff said...
    However <and here's the message> I'm on the train to relax and kick back a little, and to enjoy the Amtrak experience while it lasts. I can't remember getting all the way through a movie when on Amtrak, unlike when I was flying so much and I burned through movies and TV shows like crazy. the temptation to nap is overwhelming, especially to us Senior Citizen types.
    So Ol' Doc's advice is to take a couple of books or a Kindle, a firkin of your favorite strong beverage (Jack Daniel's or Famous Grouse for The Doc), some comfortable shoes, sit back and relax. Enjoy the view. You will be surprised how much time you will spend just looking out the window and letting your mind run in neutral. Only thing missing is a good cigar, but Amtrak and three Widowmakers have put the kibosh on that,
    I either use my GPS program on my laptop, or the one in my phone just to see where I am at any given time, listen to the radio comms JFTHOI, and gather memories.
    OBTW-When you go near the border such as at El Paso, make sure your phone is off or roaming is defeated. I happened to make some calls from El Paso a while back and didn't notice my phone was locked on to the Mexican cell provider. Cost me about $150 in roaming charges.
     
  6. Jun 19, 2019 #6

    iliketrains

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    Sounds like great advice!!! I definitely will turn off roaming on my phone!!. That's for sure (thanks again!!!). I will learn how to load some movies on my USB drive.

    You caught my eye with the strong drink comment!! I did not know I could take alcoholic beverages on the train. I'm sure they must be unopened. So I can take a bottle with me????
     
  7. Jun 19, 2019 #7

    drdumont

    drdumont

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    As I understand it, bringing alcohol aboard in coach is a nono, but in First Class (Sleepers), I have never had an issue with bringing a jug (sealed or otherwise) aboard, and consuming it in my room. The attendants bring ice and water, with the jug in full sight. I have carried a drink with me to the diner, but have not had any issue. I think they might have an issue if I were to put the jug on the table. After all, they sell wine and beer
    in the diner and in the snack bar.
    Their tolerance for inebriates is very low, by the way, I've seen drunks put off the train at a crossing in the middle of nowhere, met by a local gendarme.
    Bottom line - if you are in your room, enjoy. Drink responsibly.
     
  8. Jun 20, 2019 #8

    pennyk

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    Coach passengers are not permitted to consume their own alcohol on the train. Sleeper passengers are permitted to consume their own alcohol only in their roomette/bedroom. Sleeper passengers are not permitted to bring their drinks with them to the dining car, cafe car or any other location on the train. The alcohol may be consumed only in the passenger's sleeping compartment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  9. Jun 20, 2019 #9

    iliketrains

    iliketrains

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    Party Pooper!
     
  10. Jun 20, 2019 #10

    Devil's Advocate

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    In my experience the Sunset Limited sees periodic cellular coverage appropriate for short asynchronous messages like text and maybe email. Audio streaming and phone calls are sometimes possible in the moments when the tracks are close to Interstate 10. I would not expect to stream movies or television unless you're traveling through a major city.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  11. Jun 20, 2019 #11

    iliketrains

    iliketrains

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    Yes I figured coverage would be great when the train is near I-10. Isn't a great portion of the route near I-10?
     
  12. Jun 20, 2019 #12

    mitako

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    I rode the Sunset Ltd from Los Angeles to San Antonio in May. I have Verizon service but did not stream or watch videos, etc on my phone during the trip. I was generally able to check email and post photos to Facebook, however. Here's one photo I took in Arizona, and it pretty much sums up the view for many, many, many miles:
    54515184_10218963389705092_1649528369517166592_o.jpg
    My guess is not a lot of cellular towers out there, but it's beautiful and interesting scenery. I listened to music on my iPod most of the time, while my hubby read.
     
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  13. Jun 21, 2019 #13

    flitcraft

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    Just because the I-10 is nearby doesn't mean you'll always get good cell service. That road traverses some pretty lonesome countryside. We rode the Sunset Limited two summers ago, and there's no way the coverage would have permitted streaming anything for a lot of the route. Of course, it's possible Verizon has invested in celltowers that were not there then. But then again, think of it as a nice time to unplug for awhile. I think of that as a feature, not a bug...
     
  14. Jun 21, 2019 #14

    iliketrains

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    Wow that is a beautiful picture. I am now super excited about my upcoming ride on the Sunset Limited. I will be on the train over 24 hours and I will see beautiful scenery. Yes I agree. That is a feature not a bug. I will download some good movies and take a good book with me.
     
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  15. Jun 21, 2019 #15

    west point

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    A few years ago was around there. My old analog phone worked where as the digital portion did not. Now that may have changed and analog turned off ?
     

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