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SWC / Smartphone Hotspot Experience

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Joined
Jun 17, 2017
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Leaving soon on the SWC #6 & know there is no wifi. Has anyone gotten enough phone signal to create a hotspot for internet use on their laptop? No heavy bandwidth use like watching video, just email, maybe FaceBook & general light web-surfing.

Thanks in advance,

Frank
 

AmtrakBlue

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Leaving soon on the SWC #6 & know there is no wifi. Has anyone gotten enough phone signal to create a hotspot for internet use on their laptop? No heavy bandwidth use like watching video, just email, maybe FaceBook & general light web-surfing.

Thanks in advance,

Frank
You mean #3, not #6, right?

The sleeper car attendants on the SWC have hotspots set up for their cars so I'm guessing it gets decent signals where there are signals.
 

zephyr17

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SWC has a decent signal where it is close to Interstates. Where it wanders off, less so. However there are very long stretches where it is close to I-40 and I-25.
 

SarahZ

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The SCA hot spot can be hit or miss, as heavy traffic from multiple users can make it maddeningly slow.

If you have good service (Verizon seems to do great in the more remote areas of the SWC), then I'd say it would be worth setting up your own, personal hot spot.
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
Messages
12
Leaving soon on the SWC #6 & know there is no wifi. Has anyone gotten enough phone signal to create a hotspot for internet use on their laptop? No heavy bandwidth use like watching video, just email, maybe FaceBook & general light web-surfing.

Thanks in advance,

Frank
You mean #3, not #6, right?

The sleeper car attendants on the SWC have hotspots set up for their cars so I'm guessing it gets decent signals where there are signals.
Opps! Absolutely #3, not #6! My bad. Sorry.

Looks like I might be able to count on, at least, good intermittent reception.

Thanks,

Frank
 

PVD

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also, different carriers and plans have differing rules for tethering, although in general they have become more reasonable about it....
 
Joined
Jun 17, 2017
Messages
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also, different carriers and plans have differing rules for tethering, although in general they have become more reasonable about it....
Yeah, went into the store the other day & made some changes to accommodate using the phone as a tethered hotspot for my trip. Good-to-go.

Frank
 
Joined
May 13, 2019
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This thread is a little old, but since I'm quite happy with my current hotspot internet access on the train, I thought I'd post here in case others are interested.

I use a laptop tethered to a WiFi / Cellular iPad Mini. For me, T-Mobile was the best carrier option, the plan I have is "North America Simple Choice Mobile Internet UNL Data with 2GB 4G LTE" which is described here: https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-24314. Coverage has been good so far on the Pacific Surfliner, and also on a recent trip to Boston. I'm paying $10 per month for 2GB of LTE data, which is about half the cost of what I had before with a hotspot from Walmart and a StraightTalk Wireless plan. There are plans with more bandwidth, some with unlimited streaming from content providers like Netflix.

To help stay under my 2GB of data, I'm using a great utility on the laptop called TripMode from a company in Switzerland, described here. It can be set up to block unwanted network activity when on a hotspot - it's amazing how much goes on behind the scenes, with various apps and services 'phoning home' and chewing up lots of data. There are versions for both Macintosh and Windows and it costs $7.99.
 
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