Why Amtrak’s 4G upgrade isn’t likely to make on-train Wi-Fi any more reliable

Amtrak (STOCK)

Amtrak this week announced plans to upgrade its on-train Wi-Fi backbone to 4G, claiming the improved infrastructure will offer faster speeds and a more reliable connection for travelers. The first half of that seems reasonable enough; LTE from Verizon and AT&T (Amtrak relies on both carriers to achieve nationwide Wi-Fi) will undoubtedly boost download speeds for those using smartphones, tablets, and laptops aboard the company’s trains. But as The Atlantic points out, reliability remains another matter altogether — one that won’t necessarily be solved by 4G.

The intermittent connection hiccups commuters regularly complain about are more likely the result of cell tower placement instead of any deficiency with the technologies Amtrak…

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