Posts Tagged ‘Wi-Fi service’

NEC Wi-Fi Getting an Upgrade

May 15, 2018

Amtrak is upgrading Wi-Fi service in the Northeast Corridor by installing new equipment on its passenger cars.

In a news release, the carrier said the upgrades will provide a more reliable and easier connection to high-speed broadband.

The cars will receive upgraded processors and modem cards, and new antennas that will improve speed.

Amtrak said this will allow for quicker loading times for webpages and other content, the ability to send and receive files faster, and improved video streaming and audio performance.

The carrier said that passengers cars used by Acela Express trains are already benefiting from performance tuning, including improved stability and reliability of VPN connections for passengers accessing corporate networks.

Later this summer, Amtrak will roll out a new, simplified Wi-Fi home page.

Amtrak said that on average, there are 20,000 Wi-Fi sessions daily on NEC trains with more than 70 percent of devices aboard Acela trains connected to Amtrak’s Wi-Fi network.

The average session time on Northeast Regional trains is 1 hour, 41 minutes, while on Acela it is 2 hours and 9 minutes.

Amtrak is also upgrading Wi-Fi at 29 stations throughout its national network.

Baltimore Joining Chicago Union Station in Pilot Program for Upgraded Amtrak Wi-Fi Service

February 4, 2017

Amtrak said this week that Baltimore Penn Station will join Chicago Union Station in receiving enhanced Wi-Fi service.

Amtrak 4The pilot program includes increased connectivity and reliability, as well as two new 30-inch high-top work stations that host charging outlets for laptops, tablets and cell phones.

In a news release, Amtrak said the upgrade will replace technology installed in 2010.

“These improvements are a much-anticipated boost for our customers as the wireless connectivity in-station should be similar to what customers experience on their home networks, and will ensure they stay connected throughout their journey,” said Jason Molfetas, Amtrak’s executive vice president of marketing and business development. “Baltimore Penn is the eighth busiest station in our national network so it was a natural fit to pilot the Wi-Fi improvements to the city’s thousands of daily commuters and local students.”

Amtrak said that Northeast Corridor passengers and those aboard trains in the Midwest will be able to access through the Wi-Fi network The Washington Post, which is now the exclusive news provider for Amtrak.

Previously Amtrak only provided free Washington Post content on Acela Express trains.

Amtrak Turns on Wi-Fi Service in Midwest

February 11, 2014

Amtrak announced that complimentary cellular-based Wi-Fi service is now available on eight Midwest corridors.

These include routes linking Chicago with Milwaukee;  St. Louis; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Detroit (Pontiac); Port Huron, Mich.; Quincy, Ill.; and Carbondale, Ill. Wi-Fi is also available on trains between St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.

The service, known as AmtrakConnect,  uses multiple cellular carriers, and 4G technology where available.

The equipment is installed under contracts with the states of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin as part of their sponsorship of Amtrak service.

Amtrak said that about 85 percent of its passengers across its national network now have access to Wi-Fi. The railroad said that on routes already enabled, it routinely supports between 30 and 50 percent of passengers on any given train.
AmtrakConnect restricts such data-intensive activities as streaming video and music.

To promote the service, specially dressed “AmtrakConnect Ambassadors” will be riding some trains during the first week of Wi-Fi service.

Wi-Fi Installation Set for February Completion

December 21, 2013

Amtrak expected to roll out its AmtrakConnect cellular-based 4G Wi-Fi service on Midwest Corridor trains by early February 2014.

Amtrak is installing Wi-Fi equipment on railcars under contracts with the states of Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin. AmtrakConnect will be provided on these routes:

Lincoln Service (Chicago-Springfield-St. Louis), expanding to all four round-trips).

Illini/Saluk (Chicago-Champaign-Carbondale)

Illinois Zephyr/Carl Sandburg (Chicago-Galesburg-Quincy).

Wolverine Service (Chicago-Ann Arbor-Detroit-Pontiac)

Blue Water (Chicago-East Lansing-Port Huron)

Pere Marquette (Chicago-Grand Rapids).

Missouri River Runner (St. Louis-Jefferson City-Kansas City).

Hiawatha Service (Chicago-Milwaukee).

Passengers on these trains will start seeing the availability of the Wi-Fi service as the railcars are deployed.

“AmtrakConnect capitalizes on multiple cellular providers to provide the best mobile experience possible, taking advantage of 4G technologies where available,” said Amtrak Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Matt Hardison. “We are continually looking to improve customer satisfaction, and this service is yet one more way to do so, while also delivering the speeds and connectivity required to maintain a competitive position among transportation providers.”

There is no charge to use AmtrakConnect. Amtrak officials say that in locations where the service is now available that it is routinely used by between 30 to 50 percent of passengers on a given train.

Data-intensive activities such as streaming video and music, and large file downloads will be restricted.

Amtrak said about 75 percent of its passengers nationwide currently use AmtrakConnect. The addition of Midwest corridor trains will increase the coverage percentage to approximately 85 percent.

The Midwest corridors  collectively, carried nearly 3.3 million passengers in Amtrak’s Fiscal Year 2013.

Wi-Fi Coming to Hiawatha Service Trains

November 23, 2013

Wi-Fi is coming to Hiawatha Service trains between Chicago and Milwaukee. Amtrak and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently signed an agreement to add Wi-Fi to the route.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that WisDOT will spend $300,000 to cover three-fourths of the cost of adding Wi-Fi to the Hiawatha route..

Spokesman Marc Magliari said Wi-Fi is available to about three-fourths of Amtrak rides in the United States, but only some Chicago-St. Louis trains now have it. Trains between Chicago and Michigan points are scheduled to get Wi-Fi in early 2014.

Magliari said Amtrak’s Wi-Fi provider combines cell-based service from several carriers. It provides general Web browsing but does not allow large downloads or live streaming.

Neither Wis DOT nor Amtrak would say when the service will begin.

Magliari said Amtrak is working with other Midwest states to bring Wi-Fi to the rails and would have details on that sometime after Thanksgiving.

Amtrak expects the Wi-Fi service to increase ridership. Currently, AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi is available primarily aboard trains in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest and in California.

The Wisconsin agreement calls for Amtrak to make Wi-Fi service available in 17 cars used in the Hiawatha  service.

The $400,000 cost will be shared between Wisconsin and Illinois in a 75 to 25 percent ratio. The service is expected to cost $86,500 a year.