Now more Wi-Fi on Sounder trainsRouters installed on all 58 Sounder cars for improved internet service
Sound Transit has installed wireless routers on its 58 Sounder train coaches, improving Wi-Fi coverage for thousands of weekday riders who use Sounder to commute to Seattle from as far south as Lakewood and as far north as Everett.
With the upgrade, passengers are now able to board any car on a Sounder train and access Wi-Fi coverage. The additional routers also allow for faster download speeds, since the data travels along a greater number of Wi-Fi connections.
Sound Transit began offering Wi-Fi on Sounder in 2009. Technology and funding available at the time restricted installation of modems to 18 cab cars. Passengers wishing to connect to the internet needed to be in a cab car to obtain a cellular signal, which was often spotty due to the limited number of modems serving multiple-car trains.
Sound Transit began testing new Wi-Fi routers in April after receiving rider requests to improve Sounder Wi-Fi connections. Tests showed improved functionality with upgraded equipment that included replacing interior antennas with external ones.
Wi-Fi access will still be limited by service provider coverage range. High cliffs along the north line Sounder route will continue to block internet and cellphone connections, for example, and some areas along the south line route may still occasionally experience spotty service. More users logging on to Wi-Fi may also hamper throughput.
Equipping all Sounder train cars with routers is good news for the increasing number of riders using Sounder for their weekday commutes and game-day travel. Second quarter boardings were up 13 percent to the same period last year.
A complete schedule of Sounder service is available at www.soundtransit.org/schedules.