Virgin's Wi-Fi on the Tube: How good is it?

Virgin's Wi-Fi on the Tube: How good is it?

Summary: Six London Underground stations now have free Wi-Fi access for the summer, provided by Virgin Media. ZDNet UK went down in the Tube stations at midday to find out whether the service works and what kind of speeds can you expect

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TOPICS: Networking
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  • London Underground Virgin Wi-Fi speeds range between 7Mbps and 34Mbps

    ZDNet UK performed Wi-Fi speed tests at each of the six stations. The best download speed was at Green Park, with a maximum of 34.4Mbps. The station also scored a touch above 10Mbps upload speed and had a ping time of just 37ms.

    The worst rates were seen at King's Cross, which had a download speed of 7.6Mbps, and upload speed of 7Mbps. The other four stations returned download speeds of between 19Mbps and 33Mbps.

    Credit: Ben Woods

  • London Underground Virgin Wi-Fi service can easily stream iPlayer content

    Virgin's Wi-Fi service will be free for all customers over the summer, becoming chargeable after the Olympics have ended. It is clearly intended for social networking and emailing, despite the impressive download speeds, as there is typically not much time to do more between Tube trains.

    Nevertheless, in our testing Virgin's service had no problem dealing with tasks such as running Flash-heavy websites or watching Coast on BBC iPlayer.

    Credit: Ben Woods

  • London Underground Virgin Wi-Fi is under publicised

    This commuter was spotted working away while waiting for a train at King's Cross, but was unaware of the free Wi-Fi network until we spoke to him.

    There are no signs or advertising visible on the platforms to indicate that the service is live and free to use. Virgin has not revealed what it will charge non-customers for the Wi-Fi after the free use ends after the summer.

    The operator hopes to have the service live in at least 82 stations by the end of July, and in a total of 120 by the end of 2012. 

    Credit: Ben Woods

Topic: Networking

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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