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Contemporary Wi-Fi and upgrades

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by SeanTek, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. SeanTek

    SeanTek Member

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    What are the Wi-Fi capabilities of Model S vehicles that are currently being built? When did it change? Any specs on the chipset?

    I have a June 2013 S and it is stuck in the 802.11 b/g 2.4GHz stone age. I asked about upgrading it, but my local service center responded in the negative. I did not get a clear picture, however, of how Wi-Fi has evolved for newer builds, if at all.
     
  2. Mediocrates

    Mediocrates Member

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    I have a Model S that I took delivery on 22April. The 802.11 in it is G, which was surprising to me that it didn't have at least 802.11n. I don't know if newer vehicles have been changed to 802.11n or 802.11ac.
     
  3. SeanTek

    SeanTek Member

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    Thanks. And does anyone know the specific chipset?
     
  4. SeanTek

    SeanTek Member

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  5. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    Note that 5GHz for a car requires a nontrivial amount of regulatory considerations. Only a handful of non-DFS channels are available for outdoor use in most jurisdictions, and DFS channels are often not supported by consumer grade hardware. Furthermore the outdoor 5GHz channels are actually terrible channels to use indoors because they share spectrum with certain long range DECT cordless phones.
     
  6. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    Can you elaborate on 'outdoor'? Isn't the car 'indoor' when in your garage and that's the intended use of wifi? Or are we talking about different things?
     
  7. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    Well now you have to detect whether or not it's indoor. I actually don't have Wi-Fi in my parking garage and get Wi-Fi when parking outdoors at work.

    Giving the user manual control over channels could do some pretty bad things. For example I live near an airport and run an outdoor AP. If I wanted to use certain channels shared with weather radar I am supposed to register with the government.

    And that's just the US. 5GHz spectrum rules get even more complicated internationally.
     
  8. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    Good grief. Wasn't aware the FCC (I assume) had different allotments for wifi based on 'environment'. Seems counterproductive, to say the least!
     
  9. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    What would the advantage be to upgrading the wifi capabilities? I did upgrade my 3G to LTE and I am not sure that it was really worth the cost, although you do get a speed increase for Slacker songs and maps. Maybe it will also help browsing if the long-overdue browser update ever happens.
     
  10. doubleohwhat

    doubleohwhat Supporting Member

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    I had a loaner for a couple of weeks that had a 3G modem. The tile loading had a hard time keeping up with the map movement. My car with the LTE modem has zero issues with this. So, in my area (wireless coverage/speeds vary by area), the LTE modem would be worth it.

    I'm not sure about the need for a upgrading the wifi to have 5GHz though
     
  11. Mediocrates

    Mediocrates Member

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    The wireless antenna in the Model S has fairly poor reception, which means fairly low throughput. Upgrading to at least 802.11n would allow for better bandwidth (likely double) for given signal strength. It would also not require owners to configure home networks to support 802.11g.

    Also, 802.11n can be run in the 2.4Ghz band, so there is no concern of 5Ghz usage.
     
  12. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Well-Known Member

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    Is there a reason why any of this matters? All routers support legacy technology, the vehicle doesn't need the latest wifi tech in order to facilitate what it needs to do. This is an area where good enough is all that's needed.
     
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  13. Mediocrates

    Mediocrates Member

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    In order to support "legacy" standards (such as 802.11b/g), that tends to degrade the performance of the network for devices that are not "legacy." An 802.11n router that must also support 802.11b/g devices is a common example of this.

    802.11n is also not "the latest" standard. It was standardized in 2009 and has been in common consumer electronics for most of this decade. The successor to 802.11n (802.11ac) was standardized in 2013 has been common in consumer electronics for a few years.

    From a philosophical standpoint, Tesla pushes the notion of being a cutting-edge technology company, which is inconsistent with the use of a dated standard.

    802.11g was standardized in 2003. The first iPhone was released in 2007.
     
  14. bmah

    bmah New Moderator, Model S / Model X Forums

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    i don't dispute the dates of introduction of 802.11n and/or 802.11ac, but the gist of @AmpedRealtor's comment is that what's there is "good enough". I happen to agree. Improving the 802.11 capabilities of the car probably isn't a high priority for Tesla, nor IMHO should it be. Especially not for purely philosophical reasons...it costs money to rev the hardware and I'm not sure it would result in a significant amount of new sales.

    The other consideration is that there may or may not be other, more recent wireless chipsets that fit the various requirements of price, performance, compatibility with the rest of the vehicle hardware and software, etc. Hopefully someone within Tesla engineering is following along with developments In this area. It would be interesting to see what's in the Model 3.

    Bruce.
     
  15. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    I typically have about 35-40 wifi devices on my LAN and often a few are connected via 802.11g - I don't know that it is wise to totally shut off 11g support as there may be devices that need it - such as IoT devices that are using older or cheaper chipsets. I have to think that the same thing will happen with services like 3G - it will be harder to shut this down as there will be millions of IoT devices that only support 3G.
     
  16. Mediocrates

    Mediocrates Member

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    802.11g "works" for the purposes of what the vehicle does, although my position was never that 802.11g somehow "doesn't work" (careful of the Straw Man there). I would also contend the price point of Tesla vehicles is not aimed at a demographic that thinks of vehicle features in the "good enough" category.

    The questions that struck me when I realized that my 2017 Model S came with an 802.11g adapter were, "Why did Tesla initially decide to use outdated technology for 802.11 connectivity? Why is Tesla still outfitting vehicles today with such outdated technology?"

    The price difference of 802.11n hardware versus 802.11g hardware is negligible, as the price of both is negligible. Effort to update the OS for the different hardware is negligible. I'll agree that there's not much motive to target this change in and of itself, as it's not a selling point and isn't pervasive like the 3G->LTE advancement. It seems like the kind of thing that could have easily been incorporated in the facelift revision though.

    But, again, purporting to be a company about driving technology (double meaning intended) makes me wonder how this decision was made and perpetuated. If the Model 3 comes out and still has an 802.11g adapter, I'd consider that ignorance of technology.
     
  17. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Well-Known Member

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    You didn't answer my question. What is it about the Model S that would require a newer wifi chipset that isn't already being adequately accomplished by the current chipset. Just because you want something doesn't make it necessary. Has nothing to do with image, most owners couldn't care less. If Tesla has to incur an additional cost to install components that don't materially improve the experience makes no sense.
     
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  18. chillaban

    chillaban Active Member

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    Sigh, the wifi's primary job today is to deliver 300-500MB updates that come every few months to cars that don't need to get the update in a very timely manner unless it's owned by one of us OCD firmware trackers. G or N, it's not a big difference. I don't think Tesla needs to get terribly excited about updating the wifi technology, nor do users need to feel like somehow updating to an OFDM-capable chipset (e.g. 802.11n) somehow dramatically improves their user experience.

    Every change like that comes with some amount of risk. Wifi hardware on an embedded Linux product is not just magically plug and play, and of all things I want their teams focusing on at the moment, marginally faster wifi is not on top of that list.
     
  19. Mediocrates

    Mediocrates Member

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    Nothing about the Model S requires use of a newer 802.11 standard.

    The rest of your post is tangential to what I've said, so I can only assume it's not in response to my comments.
     
  20. cynix

    cynix Member

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    It would improve the user's experience by not degrading the performance of other devices on their network.
     

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