Virgin trains west coast WiFI

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by mrmartin, 24 May 2015.

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  1. mrmartin

    mrmartin Member

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  2. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Well was on one in First yesterday, absolute crud. Phone kept disconnecting 'this network is too slow' - and when it did connect it was pathetically slow just at email / facebook. Imagine if you paid for it :o
     
  3. Carlisle

    Carlisle Established Member

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    I tried wifi on a FGW HST last Monday, I guess it's still under test or something right now as it's barely any use at present being so slow, Virgins was better
     
    Last edited: 24 May 2015
  4. mbreckers

    mbreckers Member

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    Once when I was on a ScotRail Class 380, I was able to do some digging on the WiFi provided by Nomad Rail.

    It was nothing spectacular to say the least, the access points were actually provided by a cheap Chinese electronics provider that I have never heard of before and don't actually have much of a internet presence.

    I cant speak for other contracts, but the Class 380 WiFi upgrades seem to have been done on the cheap
     
  5. 1e10

    1e10 Member

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    I regularly use XC Wi-Fi and today for the first time used Virgin Trains Wi-Fi. Virgin are definitely several steps ahead of XC.
     
  6. bungle965

    bungle965 Established Member

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    Cross Country is very bad i go from Mancehster to Birmingham each friday and i have given up with buying it because from stockport to wolverhampton you get almost nothing.
     
  7. fairysdad

    fairysdad Member

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    Strange that, I've used FGWs WiFi on several occasions in the past few weeks and it's been fine for most things like Facebook, email, Skype, some forums, etc. I didn't use Virgin's when I was on a WC service a couple of weeks back to be able to compare to theirs, but comparing it to SWTs WiFi on the 444s it's pretty much the same experience, although logging in to FGWs seems easier than SWT!

    That said, I think it does depend on which coach you're in, and I think it will depend on the number of people connecting - there doesn't seem to be any advertising on FGWs services that WiFi is available; perhaps this will be coming with the new livery refurb.
     
  8. misterredmist

    misterredmist Member

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    Oh G*d, don't remind me, I remember trying to send a one page attachment on a Pendo a couple of years back , started at around Leighton Buzzard, the consignee confirmed receipt to me as we pulled into Macc , I hope things have improved since then......

    I try not to use "wifi" on trains as I know the frustration will get the BETTER OF MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE !!!
     
  9. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Given there's no film blocking out the signal, and coverage on Three is excellent in the south west, I've always used mobile data on FGW and not been disappointed.

    On a 390, it's somewhat more useful to have Wi-Fi.
     
  10. Hellfire

    Hellfire Member

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    I don't use VT Wi Fi because it is slower than 3G in most places. In fact, I find their Wi Fi actually hinders the 3G signal. Turn Wi Fi off and the 3G massively improves.

    In fairness to the TOC it is difficult maintaining a signal in a metal tube travelling at 125 mph and I think sometimes people expect too much. What is unforgivable is the complete lack of any 3G signal in large chunks of Staffordshire and Northamptonshire, despite being close to urban areas.
     
  11. Starmill

    Starmill Established Member

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    Typing now through Virgin Trains East Coast wifi - works like a dream :D
     
  12. matt

    matt Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Virgin wifi seems intermittent on my Voyager between Euston and Rugby at the moment.
     
  13. mrmartin

    mrmartin Member

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    3G/4G/WiFi is SO much better on the East coast than the West coast. I've pointed this out many times - I think it's the combination of terrian and the 390s.

    I wish Network Rail/DfT/TOCs would put more effort into this. Solid 3G/4G (or equiv WiFi) means I am as productive if not more so (less distractions) than when I'm in the office. On the East Coast, this is usually rock solid until Berwick from London.

    On the West Coast it's a complete shambles, with huge patches of no coverage. No coverage = no work getting done.

    As far as I know there is fibre optic cables owned by NR the entire length of the WCML. And obviously there's electricity. It literally requires someone building masts every 1-5km along the route. NR are doing this but it won't be until 2018ish, some 6 years after they started it. Not good enough. 800MHz LTE is likely to make this a lot better before then.
     
  14. mbreckers

    mbreckers Member

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  15. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    I think the planned work by Network Rail should be the best solution, as even the roll out of 800MHz LTE nationwide isn't necessarily going to mean blanket coverage for rail, or even the speeds people want.

    After all, 800MHz isn't going to offer the same speeds as 1800, 2600 or the even higher frequencies that will be auctioned in the coming years.

    The best train system was the WiMax based offering used by Southern, but that required ground based sites every mile or so and obviously limited the areas where the trains could offer the service, but it did mean coverage could even penetrate tunnels and offer blanket coverage. But WiMax never took off, and it wasn't ever likely to be something anyone would fund on all lines, or to provide the necessary backhaul connections and upgrades to keep the speeds up as demand increased.

    Modifying trains to offer better reception inside is one solution, but that's also very expensive. It's ironic that Vodafone is so poor in rural areas, at least until the sites are upgraded (so many rural sites have such poor backhaul, and Vodafone seems to be taking ages to get fibre to the sites to add 4G and improve existing 2G and 3G speeds), and has invested in these modifications. Perhaps there was some value in a proof-of-concept for the companies providing the equipment, or a grant or other investment that Vodafone could secure?

    For now, even on a 390, I can usually get a pretty good data signal on EE or Three, so it's not too bad. In 18-24 months, Vodafone and O2 should have improved immensely too, and by then we might be nearing the time that Network Rail can start to offer these networks access to its sites to provide LTE to fill in the blanks.
     
  16. andrewkeith5

    andrewkeith5 Member

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    My primary phone is on Vodafone and I rarely have any major problem that lasts too long, although it does get a bit patch in rural areas where the signal is really only up to voice and texts. I also have an EE mobile broadband account which is good but still far from perfect in the rural world.

    4G rollout is making a big difference in some areas though, the only problem being that the 2/3G networks are still required for voice and texts (which the UK's 4G networks don't carry)
     
  17. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Virtually all MBNL (EE and Three) sites will have been upgraded to have fibre backhaul with BT or Virgin, and be capable of providing decent speeds on 2G, 3G (and 4G where enabled).

    Vodafone and O2 is still using a lot of legacy connectivity, and microwave links, which might be fine for voice and text - but useless for data. Even GPRS and EDGE may fail to work on many sites, and they're not even isolated to rural areas either.

    Vodafone is wishing to use its own supply of fibre and has had lots of problems and delays, but once sorted it will be almost like a brand new network. Much of London now has LTE-A support, with speeds of 150Mbps being possible (out of 300Mbps theoretical) but it seems that Vodafone is prioritising London and the City of London over a lot of other places.

    O2 only has 800MHz LTE and got its licence cheap, but must reach a certain percentage of the UK population in a certain time (I forget exactly when, but probably about 2018) so will also be a massive change - but speeds will be WAY down on what EE and Vodafone can (and is already) offering.

    Obviously not everyone wants or needs 150-300Mbps, but '4.5G' coming next year will also have even lower latency, which people who are mainly browsing will definitely want!
     
  18. mrmartin

    mrmartin Member

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    Any more news on this? They promised summer 2015, is it any closer?
     
  19. mikestone1952

    mikestone1952 Member

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    Recent work on 221s seems to have seen the WiFi in coach D made payable - is there a switch or do passengers get a given a free code?
     
  20. ag51ruk

    ag51ruk Member

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    Virgin don't use coach D as First Class anymore, as far as I know - two of the northbound Chester trains which used to have two First coaches now only use coach E
     
  21. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I believe Coach D will be converted back to "normal" Standard, including on the one set that has two of them, though I don't know when. Personally I think they should keep it - brand it a family carriage or something - those tables are a good thing for some and it only loses a few seats.
     
  22. ScouserGirl

    ScouserGirl Member

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    They have been saying this for ages and the summer has been and gone and the wifi is still a shambles, I use VTWC a lot and I've now given up with the wifi it just boots you off and it's utterly slow yet Virgin are still happily charging over the odds for us to use the wifi...
     
  23. Hellfire

    Hellfire Member

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    Totally agree. I am a regular traveller on VTWC, usually in First where the Wi Fi is free but the signal is appalling. I've experimented a bit on various journeys and found the Wi Fi is actually slower than the normal 3G signal. The problem is there are large lengths of line, particularly in Staffordshire were there is no 3G.

    I thought there was some plan to put transmitter/receivers on the pylons holding up the knitting. Has anything come of that? On the Virgin site when you log in, there is a message saying they know the WiFi is not good and that they are working to improve it. I think that message has been there for at least two years.
     
  24. ScouserGirl

    ScouserGirl Member

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    The wifi on Virgin West Coast is shocking! They have been saying the wifi will be sorted by the summer and it hasn't, yet they have the cheek to charge you to use it in standard class, the wifi just cuts out all the time it's stupid!
     
  25. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

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    Latest update on national rollout of train wi-fi is the Government has realised its going to have to intervene in some form.

    At the moment around 70% of the rail network is covered by 4G networks that can be piggybacked to provide Wi-Fi broadband, where this isn't possible train operators have to fall back on carrying satellite uplinks as on board the Pendolino. By the end of the decade coverage should be around 80% but the phone networks have basically told the Government they wont be able to provide 100% trackside coverage as its not financially justifiable to do, there is also the issue of tunnels which would require repeaters to be installed just for trains. All together the infrastructure would require huge investment for little return, the Government are throwing the money they have received from Network Rail fines at increasing coverage but its nowhere near enough.

    So now the Government has privately accepted its going to have to contribute financially either by underwriting the capital cost or by having Network Rail install the equipment to support 100% train coverage and leasing it back to the phone networks.
     
  26. mrmartin

    mrmartin Member

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    This was promised when their franchise was extended in 2014. It's nearly 2 years after that now: http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.ph...free-superfast-wifi-west-coast-customers.html

    Free wifi for all was promised - that hasn't happened.

    The contractor which was meant to install it said it would be ready by Summer 2015. http://nomad-digital.com/latest/pre...tal-passenger-wifi-upgrade-for-virgin-trains/

    Note that they said that this is future proofed for when NR upgrade trackside masts to 4G. So that shouldn't be holding it up (though I understand that is also running well behind schedule).

    Do VT get some sort of penalty if they promise this in the franchise agreement and then don't deliver? Bit of a joke really.
     
  27. Hellfire

    Hellfire Member

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    Where does that figure of 70% come from? It's not even possible to get 3G on long scratches of the WCML let alone 4G. Indeed, there are significant lengths of track where 3G is not present either.

    Mobile phone coverage in the UK is a joke. That's due to the failure of politicians to regulate the system effectively. Naturally, the mobile phone suppliers cherry pick the densely populated areas. I live within a mile of a town of 30,000 people and 3G is intermittent to say the least.No wonder TOCs struggle
     
  28. jon0844

    jon0844 Veteran Member

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    Sounds like you're either on O2 or possibly Vodafone. I'd guess O2, or an MVNO using O2.

    I can get 3G almost everywhere I go and usually pretty decent speeds. The WCML is probably the worst of all the lines I've used though, but part of that is down to the trains themselves.

    We now have some of the fastest 4G speeds in Europe, if not the world, and soon they'll be increasing further. I should be testing 600Mbps over 4G in the next few months, but for now EE is rolling out speeds that will approach and exceed 100Mbps throughout the UK, not just city centres and other profitable places. 800MHz 4G will give amazing levels of coverage in rural areas.

    Even on 3G, if I did a speed test at any random location I'd be surprised to get lower than 3 or 4 megabits, which would still let me stream a film in HD. I'd more likely exceed 10 and have had over 27-28 - on 3G! It all comes down to the network and backhaul, and also the device.

    The investment in the UK right now is huge, and has been from Three and EE for years, but two networks sat back and thought 2G was fine for far too long. But Vodafone is rapidly catching up at last, and O2 has to cover almost everywhere with 4G as it's a condition of their 4G licence.
     
    Last edited: 29 Dec 2015
  29. ScouserGirl

    ScouserGirl Member

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    I use first quiet abit and the wifi is still dreadful sometimes you can get lucky and get a train that has good wifi but not all the time... I've seen that message aswell for the past two years! Yet the east coast gives out free wifi in cases of disruption yet when disruption on the WCML they don't bother...
     
  30. hacman

    hacman Member

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    It should be pointed out that satellite links are rarely used.

    Virgin WestCoast, EastMidlands Trains, CrossCountry, SouthWest Trains, ScotRail and Great Western have no satellite connectivity. Heathrow Express makes use of WiMAX in part, but is something of an exception due to the tunnel.
     
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