3G Commuting – Southern is better than South West Trains


My experiences to date on the SWT route between Havant and London Waterloo have been quite variable, including what seems like problems with hand-offs between network cells, meaning a loss of signal can mean not getting a connection back for some time.


This weekend work have moved to an office just around the corner from Victoria station (we were previously down near St James Park), so I figured I would try the Southern service from Victoria tonight.  The train journey is basically 2 hours total, but I don’t have to suffer the underground getting to Waterloo.


Initial results are very promising – signal level is generally slightly higher than on the SWT route, but more importantly, hand-offs actually work, as does re-acquisition of a connection after moving out of coverage.

I have basically clicked Connect once, just after leaving Victoria, and left it alone since.  Tunnels, dead-spots, etc, are all dealt with seamlessly.


So what is different?


The geography / topology of the route and surroundings is flatter, and I guess maybe the Three network coverage is generally better along the route.

That’s about it really.  The train is similar – 12 coaches in length, electric pickup from a 3rd rail, similar construction internally and externally.  Similar number of passengers.


Interesting comment from Les, who has found that the diesel powered trains provide a better 3G experience between Woking and Waterloo.  I believe you may have something there.  Construction and power source may well play a part, although I suspect its actually construction more than power plant.  If there was that much interference generated by the electric pickups / motors, nothing RF related would work at all, and the trains would probably be banned!


A thought to leave you with – would anyone be interested in a UK 3G Commuter Forum, for exchanging experiences of routes, providers, dongles, etc?  Let me know.


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2 Responses to 3G Commuting – Southern is better than South West Trains

  1. Les Smithson says:

    I’d like to see a 3G forum.

    BTW, I’m not so sure about the diesel vs electric argument. After 3 months of struggling with 3G on SWT, I don’t think it makes any difference – there both equally as bad.

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