WiFi on the move

This isn’t particularly new technology, but last week’s trip to Newcastle was the first time that I tried using a WiFi network on a moving train.  It proved very easy to sign up and make the initial connection to the network on board the train, and the ‘landing page’ which you reach when you first connect includes a small map showing your current location – which is a nice touch.  But (on my limited experience) the connection was slow and very uneven: apparently the system uses a combination of satellite and 3G mobile networks and cleverly routes data over whichever network offers better coverage.  I guess the considerable variation in speed that I experienced occured because one of these networks was working much more smoothly than another.

Despite this new technology, the East Coast main line under its current ownership (it was in effect nationalised after National Express bailed out) has some retro touches: many of the staff wear peaked caps of the sort that I thought went out with Dr Beeching, and the announcements on board the train are made by somebody describing themselved as a ‘guard’, not as a ‘train manager’.


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