WiFi Rail Works Great – When You Can Find a Hot Spot

Anyone that rides BART knows that getting Internet connectivity can be a pain, especially if your cell phone doesn’t support tethering (another reason AT&T is terrible).  Even when I borrowed a Blackberry with tethering support enabled it wasn’t that fast.

WiFi on BART would rock if it were available.  It’s now starting to be deployed due a contract BART signed with WiFi Rail recently.  They’ve been testing their hotspots in the main 4 downtown stations for a while now and a few weeks ago I noticed that I could keep connectivity partially through the TransBay tube.  The speed and consistency in the tube is not that great but in downtown I was able to get upwards of 400-500 KB/s (yes, bytes, not bits) from Powell to Embarcadero even while moving between stations.  It was enough bandwidth to download the latest version of Sun VirtualBox.   I do wonder if the speed in the tube is the issue since I don’t know how well WiFi will roll over from one hot spot to another.

All I want to know is when are they going to put the WiFi on the rest of the Pittsburg Bay Point line?  That’s the busiest line in the system (hint hint WiFi Rail).  My advice, fix the TransBay tube and extend through Oakland next.  The longer it’s available continuously the more use it will be to people and the more willing they will be to pay for it.

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