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Connectivity: service plan/upgradability/speed

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by dsm363, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Maybe some posts from current Sig owners can help clarify this issue. What would also be helpful is to mark the locations of where people are and where they might be having problems.
     
  2. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Completely coverage related for me...map looks great in town, but out in the boonies it either updates slowly or not at all.
     
  3. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    For those interested in cellular connectivity on the Model S, I did a little sleuthing based on some diagnostic screenshots I saw posted on the Telsa Motors website forums (Dev Console | Forums | Tesla Motors). I am reposting a summary of my findings (and some speculation) based upon those findings here for those interested.

    First, all of this information is based upon the attached screenshot taken of a release candidate vehicle (based on VIN) at a test drive event. The screenshot shows all of the key cellular modem identifiers and configuration. There are a number of public sites where you can determine the cellular network operator given a phone number. Punching in the specified number shows that this particular vehicle is on AT&T's network (no surprise there). Likewise, there are a number of sites that can tell you the cellular device type, given the IMEI. This vehicle is using a Sierra Wireless AR8550 chip as its cellular modem (http://www.sierrawireless.com/en/productsandservices/AirPrime/Wireless_Modules/Automotive_1000/AR855x.aspx), based on its IMEI and supported by the fact the screen displays "8550" as the "Model".

    This Sierra 8550 chip is a 3G/GSM/HSPA chipset with a max download speed of 14.4Mbps, max upload speed of 5.76 Mbps. It does not support LTE, and there is currently no automotive grade chip that has been publicly announced by Sierra that supports LTE. The chip has an optional embedded SIM, so there is no requirement to have a carrier SIM card to use this cellular modem. Sierra doesn't currently offer an automotive-grade chipset that supports LTE, but it has announced it is working with Audi on an LTE-based "info-tainment" system, so clearly something is in their product pipeline (http://www.sierrawireless.com/en/Newsroom/newsreleases/2012/06-05-12-Audi_works_with_Sierra_Wireless_to_build_and_test_in-vehicle_LTE_infotainment_system.aspx).

    Those are the facts. Now for the speculation.

    Given this was a release candidate vehicle, I find it highly unlikely Tesla would change their cellular modem technology for production vehicles. So this chipset is most likely what is rolling off the production line today. Tesla is most likely using the embedded SIM to reduce cost/complexity, so there is little chance you could plug in your own carrier's SIM card. Sierra also makes an 8552 chipset for the European/Asian markets with different carrier frequencies, so it is highly likely the cellular modem is on a separate circuit module so it can be easily changed based on the vehicle's target market. The good news is that it may be possible to swap in an LTE cellular modem if one becomes available from Tesla in the future.

    So what about this talk of 4G? The problem with 4G is that it is a marketing term and not a wireless technology. When most people refer to 4G, they are really referring to LTE which is the next generation wireless technology being rolled out by the major carriers. The problem is that AT&T has been using 4G as a marketing term for their "faster" HSPA+ network. They played this trick with the iPhone recently:

    The Ridiculous Trick AT&T And Apple Are Playing On iPhone 4S Owners - Business Insider

    So my guess is that Tesla is negotiating with AT&T on bandwidth and data rate caps, and that AT&T considers certain high data rates to be "4G" even though you are using their older 3G HSPA+ network, and not LTE.

    I would love to be proven wrong on this and be surprised that an LTE chipset is in the first generation of cars, so if you have a Model S production sig and can get a Tesla technician to bring up the diagnostic screen, please take a snapshot of the screen below and post it and we can see if they have changed chipsets for production.

    IMG_0881.JPG
     
  4. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    If you start off with a plotted destination using Google maps, etc., does the turn by turn navigation still work effectively when the maps is slowly loading? (I thought the maps was strictly Google/data dependent whereas the turn by turn display was truely GPS-driven.)
     
  5. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I am not positive; the only time I drove out of cellular range, I had a firmware bug that kept the dash map from showing up at all. A firmware update last night appears to have fixed that bug, but I haven't had a chance to use navigation yet.

    But the turn-by-turn area on the dash supposedly uses a separate in-car database, so I do imagine that the turn-by-turn Garmin map on the dash will work fine when the Google map on the 17" display is still scanning for bits in poorly connected areas.
     
  6. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    PureAmps -

    Thanks for the information, and welcome to the forums! If the chipset has a maximum download of 14.4 Mbps, are you speculating that this "data cap" you speak of is currently regulating download speeds such that it might explain why some people have been experiencing slow Google map downloads and interrupted streaming services? Or, do you think this is a function of coverage?
     
  7. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    I think any major connectivity issues are related to coverage, not data caps. But I have not seen anyone who currently owns a vehicle post bandwidth speed test numbers. So it is hard to tell if the bandwidth is being carrier limited or not. Next time I'm in a Tesla store, I'll try and run some myself if I have a chance. In the meantime, if there are any sig owners who want to run a test, you can try the following link:

    SpeedOf.Me, HTML5 Speed Test

    It is HTML 5 only and doesn't require flash/java so should run in the car's browser. For apples to apples comparison this test should really be run on a vehicle and then on a 3G AT&T phone at the same location for comparison. If the car is significantly slower it may be bandwidth limited by the carrier.
     
  8. contaygious

    contaygious Active Member

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    I didn't think it the browser is HTML 5. Thanks for the info on the card. I hope tesla has a cheap plan for Internet. Otherwise I'll tether.

    14.4 is the max speed for AT&T 3G so that makes sense, but not sure why some delivery people are saying its 4g ready then.
     
  9. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN 65513, Model 3: VIN 1913

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    I think it is; it just can't do HTML 5 video.
     
  10. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    14.4Mbs is "4G" as a marketing term in the USA. It just isn't LTE.
     
  11. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    It should be HTML 5 compatible, it's based on WebKit, same browser engine as Safari and Chrome. There's an easy way to find out. Just hop in a car and bring up this page:

    http://html5test.com

    Anybody with a car want to volunteer and report back the results?
     
  12. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Html5test rates the car at 199/500. Partial scores in most categories; but as suspected it scores 0 in video and audio tests, as well as microdata and location.
     
  13. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    I see the Model S browser as being something functional for on the spot needs when it comes to browsing. For example, when I need to check my email or look up a menu for a restaurant...basic things. I would be quite happy if this was all it ever did. If I wanted power browsing, watching videos or full HTML5 support, I'd sit at home in front of my computer and do this.

    My main concern is the connection speed, and the speed with which it downloads Google map panels is a little concerning. I hope this is purely an issue of location, as this would limit the speed of ANY download. If carriers are capping data speeds with the Model S, I assume that will improve depending upon contracts. But, as it is right now, it seems slow in some of these videos and in personal testing in stores/drives.
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Several states have laws against video being in a position where the driver can see it, so it's not surprising that it's disabled. Of course, the laws are kind of dumb because they don't allow for video watching when the car isn't in motion, but lawmakers typically don't do well when it comes to technology.
     
  15. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    Actually not a bad score, considering the latest version of Safari (6.0.1) on MacOS only gets a 378/500, and 50 points went to audio/video, so Tesla is using a pretty recent version of WebKit.

    Chad, any chance you could try running a bandwidth speed test on your vehicle? Just bring up the site below in the browser and press "Start Test" in lower left.

    SpeedOf.Me, HTML5 Speed Test
     
  16. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I tried the Speedof.Me site. With 3 bars of signal in my car, the shorter download files peaked at 1.4 Mb/s and the 1MB file downloaded at 278 kb/s. The upload seemed to hang or was going to take 20 min so I gave up on that. Maybe I'll try again later.
     
  17. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    To state the obvious, that's pretty slow. No wonder map tiles are loading so slow. My hunch is that the carrier is throttling the connection, since we know the hardware can do much faster data rates.

    It would be useful to have a few more data points. Volunteers?
     
  18. arg

    arg Supporting Member

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    Can you argue that the person sitting in the driving seat isn't a driver when not actually driving?

    I have encountered a Nissan which had video on what was otherwise the satnav display, but only when the parking brake was engaged. The owner thought the video feature was broken (since it was an automatic and he never used the parking brake), and was happy when I 'fixed' it for him! This was a japanese-market car however, so doesn't say anything about what is permissible in the USA.
     
  19. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    You can argue that if the car is in park there is no driving happening.
     
  20. unclfuzzy

    unclfuzzy Member

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    Drop-outs are when using slacker from the car, not via my phone.

    I live in downtown Baltimore and commute about 20 miles south towards DC. I95 and BW Parkway all the way. No reason I should be in an area with poor reception. In fact, there are almost always 5 bars of reception.

    Nav maps are wholly separate from Google maps. I know because when I'm on the ICC (fairly new toll road) it shows up fine on Google maps on the touchscreen, but the nav system doesn't know about the road yet and is constantly trying to recalculate while it shows me driving through fields on the dash display.
     

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