After taking a train up to Boston’s Back Bay Station and back from Connecticut I was able to witness first hand how bad 3G has gotten. I have taken the train for many years and have watched every wireless technology come out, work great and then become saturated with users and slow to a crawl. 1xRTT for example – when it came out it seemed so fast but over time it slowed as more laptops invaded the train.
Yes, there used to be a time when you got rapid access to the net for hours at a time.
But today, Verizon’s network has many choke points. I was on an Acela train by the way which is fantastic way to travel and now includes free WiFI. The problem is, it’s so slow it is virtually impossible to use. And on the way up to Massachusetts it didn’t work at all. But on the way back it was sometimes better than Verizon and sometimes worse.
Amazingly, I was streaming news on the iPad the whole train ride using AT&T’s network and it worked great almost the entire time. I had a few points where I needed to close out and restart the stations but overall it was a solid connection.
In hindsight it may have been smarter to stream the news over my iPhone and use the iPad for email. Next time, I’ll bring my iPad keyboard as well and see if that is a better way to work.
Interestingly I have adapted my work style to deal with the speed of the connection. This is something I learned I had to do using WiFi provided on today’s airplanes.
With a fast connection I use Remote Desktop as I love how productive I can be tunneling into another computer. If things slow a bit I try using IMAP with a local laptop copy of Microsoft Outlook. If both of these turn out to be unusable I default to OWA which with the security we use at TMC does not allow me to see graphics in email. I consider this is a terrible compromise for security purposes but when it is a last resort, you can’t complain much.
When I finally move to 4G on Verizon or Sprint, etc, I expect it to clog a few years later as well. And it should be noted the train is an extreme example of connectivity issues because such a massive number of devices are in close proximity.
Thankfully, that is the good news.