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.