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Sound Transit upgrades Wi-Fi coverage on commuter-rail routes


Sound Transit last week began installing wireless routers on its Sounder commuter-rail cars to improve Wi-Fi service.

The additional routers will improve coverage and allow for faster download speeds, agency officials said in a press release.

When the upgrade is finished by the end of this month, passengers will be able to access Wi-Fi coverage on any Sounder car, according to Sound Transit.

The agency began offering Wi-Fi on its Sounder network in 2009. At the time, funding was restricted to 18 cab cars, so passengers who wanted to get internet access needed to be in a cab car to obtain a signal.

This service was often spotty because of the limited number of modems serving multiple-car trains, Sound Transit officials said.

The agency began testing new Wi-Fi routers this spring after riders requested improved service.

Wi-Fi access still will be limited by service provider coverage range. For example, high cliffs along the north line Sounder route will continue to block internet and cell phone connections, agency officials said.

"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," Sound Transit officials said, noting that second-quarter boardings were up 13 percent compared with boardings during the same period last year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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