Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Borrowing Public WiFi...

Type1

Member
Oct 27, 2019
46
6
Madison, WI
Where do those of you who don't have WiFi in your apartment garage or whatever your situation is go for a good public WiFi connection? Running through a tethered connection to my phone, but that will kill my data plan long term.

Tried Whole Foods this morning but their signal doesn't seem quite strong enough. Any staples y'all fall back on? Thanks!
 

srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,262
1,557
Woonsocket, RI
I'm not in your situation, but I'd expect the answer to vary so much from one site to another that you won't get useful answers, at least not in the way you phrased the question. That is, the Whole Foods you tried might not have worked, but a Whole Foods two towns over (or several states away) might work fine, because of site-specific issues with the WiFi installations. It would also, obviously, vary depending on where you park -- the closer to the WiFi base station, or whatever repeater may be in use, the better; and the fewer obstacles (walls, etc.) between your car and the base station, the better. This suggests that you look for a location with parking very near the building, and you may need to check multiple parking spots to see where the signal strength is best.

Also, Tesla software updates seem to be about 500-600MB (see this thread, for instance). TeslaFi reports that my car receives an average of one update every two weeks, although there's a lot of variability in that. This suggests the car will be consuming about 500MB to 2.4GB of data in software updates per month. I tried a Web search to figure out what a "typical" cellular data plan provides. Most were either "unlimited*" (with "*" leading to a wall of text, typically saying that if you exceed a limit you'll still get data, but at limited speed) or somewhere between 3GB and 8GB. I have no idea what your plan provides, of course, much less how much data you use. I just checked my own plan, and it's "unlimited*" with a 3GB cap before throttling. I happen to be one day away from the end of my billing period, and so far I've used 237MB of data. Thus, if it were me, and if that 237MB figure is typical, I'd be able to handle four or five Tesla software updates per month over my cell phone without hitting the throttling limit. If your situation is similar, it might work out fine for you, especially if you put off Tesla updates until late in your cell phone's billing cycle. If you try this, be sure to disable the option in the Tesla UI to upload driving data, since that will use more data.
 

640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
929
693
Cincinnati
honestly i don't think the updates are frequent enough to worry about your cell plan, unless you're still on an older GB restricted plan. i think you're in a tough spot, TBH. best case is to have overnight access to WiFi whenever possible.
 

Mishakim

Member
Apr 4, 2016
149
131
Boston, MA
Note that in general, public WiFi requires you to log in / accept terms using a web page interface, which the Tesla UI doesn't support. You need to find a public wifi that uses a simple WPA2 password.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: UnicornDriver

srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,262
1,557
Woonsocket, RI
Note that in general, public WiFi requires you to log in / accept terms using a web page interface, which the Tesla UI doesn't support. You need to find a public wifi that uses a simple WPA2 password.

I've never tried it, but in theory, you should be able to use the Tesla's Web browser for this. (IIRC, though, the SR/SR+ lack this feature, so this approach might not work for them.) I've also heard of people who record the Tesla's WiFi MAC address, disable the Tesla's WiFi, and then use MAC address spoofing on a cell phone or laptop to authorize use of a WiFi network. Reverse the process, and the Tesla should be able to use the WiFi network. This dance is a bit of a nuisance, but if you really need to use that WiFi network, it may be worthwhile.
 

640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
929
693
Cincinnati
I've never tried it, but in theory, you should be able to use the Tesla's Web browser for this. (IIRC, though, the SR/SR+ lack this feature, so this approach might not work for them.) I've also heard of people who record the Tesla's WiFi MAC address, disable the Tesla's WiFi, and then use MAC address spoofing on a cell phone or laptop to authorize use of a WiFi network. Reverse the process, and the Tesla should be able to use the WiFi network. This dance is a bit of a nuisance, but if you really need to use that WiFi network, it may be worthwhile.
SR/SR+ was given the web browser with v10, so it should be possible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: srs5694

focher

Active Member
Oct 15, 2013
1,172
1,952
Bay Area
I've never tried it, but in theory, you should be able to use the Tesla's Web browser for this. (IIRC, though, the SR/SR+ lack this feature, so this approach might not work for them.) I've also heard of people who record the Tesla's WiFi MAC address, disable the Tesla's WiFi, and then use MAC address spoofing on a cell phone or laptop to authorize use of a WiFi network. Reverse the process, and the Tesla should be able to use the WiFi network. This dance is a bit of a nuisance, but if you really need to use that WiFi network, it may be worthwhile.
That won't work. Teslas will not stay connected to a wifi network that doesn't have a valid Internet connection. So the wireless will never stay connected in that scenario for a user to open the web browser and authenticate at the application layer.

You can see this by taking any wireless access point and ensuring it does not have an Internet connection. Then try to connect to the access point with the car. It's a no go.
 

FFR6288

Member
Nov 5, 2019
95
116
Mesa, AZ
A lot of places that require that you "accept terms" use 192.168.1.1 as the starting page. Try typing that into the address bar. It works for my old Android tablet, which also doesn't automatically start on the terms page. I can't try it in my P3D yet - still 5-7 weeks out!
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,181
Vernon, BC, Canada
Does your internet service provider have public WiFi hotspots? These are what we semi successfully used (longer story). Normally it presents a login page so the car won't accept it, but we can log in to the account elsewhere and add the MAC address for the car manually (it shows this on the WiFi selection page I think, can't recall) and then after waiting a few hours for stuff to sync on the provider's side, our car was able to connect to these hotspots run by our provider.

A lot of places that require that you "accept terms" use 192.168.1.1 as the starting page. Try typing that into the address bar. It works for my old Android tablet, which also doesn't automatically start on the terms page. I can't try it in my P3D yet - still 5-7 weeks out!

Doesn't work, the car will refuse to use it long before you can enter an address.
 

Dan203

Active Member
Jul 10, 2019
1,420
1,022
Northern Nevada
Beware of wifi pineapples. They're basically fake networks that use SSIDs that seem legit, like someone sitting in their car with an open network called Starbucks. Once you join their network they can track everything you do and even spoof HTTPS to crack your passwords. In the case of your Tesla it might even allow them to control the car and steal it. (not sure if that's actually possible, but it could be)
 

JulienW

Active Member
Jul 7, 2018
2,742
3,326
Atlanta
There is a LA Fitness that has a dentist office near it that has an open WiFi. I go to that LA Fitness on update days and park near (behind) the dentist office. I have also gone to the Marietta Tesla Service Center and park in the rear close to building and go for a run while it updates.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Type1

srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,262
1,557
Woonsocket, RI
Beware of wifi pineapples. They're basically fake networks that use SSIDs that seem legit, like someone sitting in their car with an open network called Starbucks. Once you join their network they can track everything you do and even spoof HTTPS to crack your passwords. In the case of your Tesla it might even allow them to control the car and steal it. (not sure if that's actually possible, but it could be)

Here's a YouTube video demonstrating how to steal a Tesla by using this method, in conjunction with flaws in Tesla's security protocols (which Tesla says they'll be fixing soon). I don't know of any real-world cases of this sort of thing happening, but this proof-of-concept video shows that it is possible.

 
  • Like
Reactions: Type1

eclipse

Member
Sep 10, 2019
23
3
NYC Metro
For those wifi hotspots that require a login/accept term, if you have an android phone that has the latest Android OS (Pie?), you can share your cell phone wifi connection to your Tesla. iPhone may have it too but I haven't had an iPhone since iPhone 3G.

So you connect your phone to the wifi hotspot first, then set up your phone hotspot sharing that wifi connection to your Tesla. I do this all the time when on plane sharing the gogoair connection to family members.
 

camalaio

Active Member
May 28, 2019
1,483
2,181
Vernon, BC, Canada
Beware of wifi pineapples. They're basically fake networks that use SSIDs that seem legit, like someone sitting in their car with an open network called Starbucks. Once you join their network they can track everything you do and even spoof HTTPS to crack your passwords. In the case of your Tesla it might even allow them to control the car and steal it. (not sure if that's actually possible, but it could be)

Spoofing/man-in-the-middle HTTPS isn't really a thing in 2019 anymore on a reasonably up-to-date device. You cannot steal Tesla credentials simply by monitoring their internet traffic in 2019 -- everything is encrypted, and older methods (like SSL splitting) simply don't work anymore because the clients use things like HSTS and a trusted list of certificate authorities.

Here's a YouTube video demonstrating how to steal a Tesla by using this method, in conjunction with flaws in Tesla's security protocols (which Tesla says they'll be fixing soon). I don't know of any real-world cases of this sort of thing happening, but this proof-of-concept video shows that it is possible.


This method demonstrates a social engineering problem, not a technical one. The user, at minimum after joining this network, must navigate to a non-secure website (of which there are very few of in 2019) and enter their Tesla credentials, which they've never had to do on their car before. Is it a problem? Sure. But it's not a technical problem, it's entirely a user issue.

But of course, I agree with the early statement that multi-factor auth would be great. Implementing OAuth would be even better so that we never need/want to hand out Tesla credentials to third party services (e.g. TeslaFi). Neither of these would help the above case though.

For those wifi hotspots that require a login/accept term, if you have an android phone that has the latest Android OS (Pie?), you can share your cell phone wifi connection to your Tesla. iPhone may have it too but I haven't had an iPhone since iPhone 3G.

So you connect your phone to the wifi hotspot first, then set up your phone hotspot sharing that wifi connection to your Tesla. I do this all the time when on plane sharing the gogoair connection to family members.

Actually, yes, this works! I forgot I tried this prior to the other method I mentioned. Make sure you turn cellular data off while you do this so you don't accidentally burn through that. WiFi sharing is a fantastic feature.

EDIT: Regarding all the security stuff above. If it were so trivial to scrape account info (bank, store, car, etc.) simply by monitoring and augmenting traffic in 2019, don't you think theft would be much more common with all the public WiFi that people use? It's more or less safe, folks.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: focher

Dan203

Active Member
Jul 10, 2019
1,420
1,022
Northern Nevada
Spoofing/man-in-the-middle HTTPS isn't really a thing in 2019 anymore on a reasonably up-to-date device. You cannot steal Tesla credentials simply by monitoring their internet traffic in 2019 -- everything is encrypted, and older methods (like SSL splitting) simply don't work anymore because the clients use things like HSTS and a trusted list of certificate authorities.

That's good to know. It's been a while since I read up on this stuff.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top