Main menu: Home Features 3D Maps User Guide Support Buy Now Disused Tube Blog

Stop meddling with the WiFi

When TfL introduced WiFi to the tube all those months back, it was rather tedious to use at first because – like most people – if we’re on a journey through several stations underground it’s fun to connect to the WiFi at the station that you’re passing through and check Twitter, your email, etc.. as you travel.  Even message people to tell them what station you’re at and how far away you are!

WiFi advert

WiFi advert

But to begin with, the service was really tedious and it had caveats.  If you wanted to load a webpage, or see a picture on Twitter (but, interestingly not the tweets themselves) you had to always load up a browser, choose a bookmark and instantly be presented with an advert page (which you had to skip), which would then take you to a menu page, and you’d be properly connected, and THEN you had to select your bookmark for your webpage again to finally read it.

WiFi Menu

WiFi Menu

A few months into the service though – it changed! Someone must have finally got through to them on how annoying it was, and you only had to tell it to connect ONCE at any ‘Virgin Media WiFi‘ SSID, and then for the rest of your journey it would just auto-connect.

Well … not anymore, last week it had switched back, meaning that you have to do through the tedious advert and menu screen every time you want to access the internet fully, which is rather annoying to say the least.


30 Oct 14

Three Wi-Fi

Network provider Three have announced that they are joining the ‘Wi-Fi on the underground’ party!, and that in the coming weeks those on the their network can also get free Wi-Fi at Underground stations.

Three WiFi

Three WiFi

Full announcement here.

18 Jul 14

VirginWiFi now VodafoneWiFi

Vodafone WiFi

Vodafone WiFi

We noticed the other day on a Vodafone device that at stations that have VirginMedia WiFi, you now also get the choice to connect to Vodafone WiFi.

In fact, we didn’t even have to manually choose to connect to it – our iPhone just connected automatically to the network and WiFi started working just as if we had connected to Virgin Media!

A little technical digging later, and it turns out that Vodafone identify and authenticate you using the IMSI number (your unique SIM card number) and are able to tell if you’re a Vodafone customer who has the right package, and will allow you to connect.

Using the Vodafone connection instead of the Virgin one gives you a level of encryption too (whatever the value of secure WiFi is today!) but better than the “none” on the Virgin Media network (where your connection could easily be eavesdropped by a malicious third party).  It also means you don’t see the “captive” WiFi portal that you see when you first connect to the VirginMedia WiFi, although Vodafone have published some help that states that you might see a captive portal every 45 minutes if you open your browser.

This is a great way of getting more people on-line on the Tube with zero-configuration and we hope to see the other operators adopt the same EAP-SIM and iOS carrier bundle settings system that Vodafone have in the future.

01 Jun 14

Updated WiFi Map

With TfL now proudly proclaiming that WiFi is available at 137 Underground stations courtesy of Virgin Media and 56 Overground stations supplied by The Cloud we thought it was about time that we updated our WiFi map, as we like the ‘spread’ look that it has as opposed to the official TfL version.

The four ‘black holes’ remain in Zone 1 of Edgware Road and the three Crossrail stations – Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Moorgate, but it’s nice to see places like Monument, Baker Street and Southgate finally getting it.

West Ruislip is an oddity – no other stations out west on that branch have WiFi, no DLR station has it, but there are also reports of other stations (such as Brent Cross) having the tell-tale ‘BBConnect‘ named wireless network which is where the equipment is in place, but hasn’t been activated yet.

WiFi Map April 2014

WiFi Map April 2014

Click on map for full size (and now further updated/edited version that includes Surrey Quays).

Note: The blue coloured area at Heathrow 5 shows that there is full mobile coverage there from the major networks, despite the station being underground.


25 Apr 14

Wi-Fi Map 2013

WiFi Map 2013

WiFi Map 2013

So there’s a new poster being displayed on the Underground at the moment, telling you there are now 121 Tube stations which have W-iFi.  Although we have counted (three times, just to be sure) ourselves, we made the total to be actually 122 stations that have got Wi-Fi, so TfL aren’t entirely being accurate.

So we thought we’d help clear up what stations do and don’t have, along with our Wi-Fi map which we’ve now updated.

The red shaded areas show where there is Virgin Media installed at that station, the grey areas are those stations that are underground and have no Wi-Fi or cellular reception, and the white areas show which stations are out in the open and you can use your normal mobile phone connectivity.

Heathrow Terminal 5 is a special cases station (Coloured blue), as it’s the only Underground station that does have full cellular network coverage – even deep underground!

WiFi on the Underground

Wi-Fi on the Underground

16 Oct 13