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Direct Wifi Access to Car from SmartPhone

martinwinlow

Member
Jun 18, 2012
360
-28
Isle of Colonsay, UK
Hi,

I was out demo-ing the new SuC at Birchanger Services, Bishops Stortford (M11, UK) to a friend today and he asked rather pointy question.

Having shown him how the Tesla app allows the car to remotely notify you of charging status (etc) he said "So does the car talk to the smartphone directly or over the internet?" Internet. "So what happens if you have no internet connection?" You don't get a notification. "So you can't unlock the car or anything else using the app either, then?" Err... no.

Given that you have your £50k Tesla sitting there with enough energy to run a typical (UK) house for 4 days and a wifi system built into it on the one hand and on (in) the other hand a £700 smart phone with wifi builtin to it, why on earth isn't there a way of connecting the 2 without the flaky interweb? Or is there a way? Seems a bit crazy to me if there isn't! MW
 

msnow

Active Member
Jul 14, 2015
4,951
2,236
SoCal
The device talks to the Tesla servers which talks to the car so it's indirect. Also, it can connect via Wifi or cell so there's some redundancy. Finally, if you want to avoid the remote connectivity altogether and unlock your car you have your keyfob.
 

SteveS0353

Member
Aug 23, 2014
365
54
San Diego, CA
Hi,

I was out demo-ing the new SuC at Birchanger Services, Bishops Stortford (M11, UK) to a friend today and he asked rather pointy question.

Having shown him how the Tesla app allows the car to remotely notify you of charging status (etc) he said "So does the car talk to the smartphone directly or over the internet?" Internet. "So what happens if you have no internet connection?" You don't get a notification. "So you can't unlock the car or anything else using the app either, then?" Err... no.

Given that you have your £50k Tesla sitting there with enough energy to run a typical (UK) house for 4 days and a wifi system built into it on the one hand and on (in) the other hand a £700 smart phone with wifi builtin to it, why on earth isn't there a way of connecting the 2 without the flaky interweb? Or is there a way? Seems a bit crazy to me if there isn't! MW

The Model S can be a node in any WiFi hotspot. You can connect the car WiFi to your phone if that phone has a personal hotspot capability. Use the phone to create a personal hotspot in the car, then touch the 3G/LTE icon at the top of the 17" display, and connect the car to the phone WiFi hotspot. All data between the car and the mothership will pass via the WiFi zone and your phone 4G/LTE network.

Don't confuse this with the car creating a hotspot and passengers connecting their phone or tablets to the car hotspot -- that's not supported.
 

green1

Active Member
Mar 25, 2014
4,548
1,121
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The lack of ability to work without cell service is unfortunate, I really think the best solution would be to have a bluetooth option as a backup to cellular, but until that happens, I don't think I'll ever intentionally leave the house without the fob.
 

SteveS0353

Member
Aug 23, 2014
365
54
San Diego, CA
The lack of ability to work without cell service is unfortunate, I really think the best solution would be to have a bluetooth option as a backup to cellular, but until that happens, I don't think I'll ever intentionally leave the house without the fob.

I don't understand your reference to Bluetooth, which has a range of a couple of hundred feet and limited data bandwidth. Bluetooth is fine for headsets / audio, and human interface devices (mice...) between devices and phones in close proximity. Bluetooth is not a backup to cellular.

If the car is running 3G, it's possible your phone with 4G or LTE can maintain a cellular connection when the car can't. In that case, using your phone to create a WiFi hotspot to which the car can connect, will provide the car with a network connection.
 

martinwinlow

Member
Jun 18, 2012
360
-28
Isle of Colonsay, UK
But in the context of a reply to my original post, a BT connection would work just as well and might be easier/more secure (?) to implement. It really seems like a total no brainer to be able to 'talk' directly to your car with a smart phone app when you are standing in front of it - especially if you have lost your key (but have a spare one hidden in the car with a detached battery ready to go) and have no GSM/GPRS signal. MW
 

SteveS0353

Member
Aug 23, 2014
365
54
San Diego, CA
But in the context of a reply to my original post, a BT connection would work just as well and might be easier/more secure (?) to implement. It really seems like a total no brainer to be able to 'talk' directly to your car with a smart phone app when you are standing in front of it - especially if you have lost your key (but have a spare one hidden in the car with a detached battery ready to go) and have no GSM/GPRS signal. MW

Oh, green1 meant making a short range bluetooth connection to the car from the smartphone, without the involvement of the cellular connection to the mothership servers. Sorry, I misunderstood. When the car is off and locked, currently the Bluetooth radio in the car is not powered. Neither is the WiFi radio. The only powered radios are the fob transponders and the cell radio. It would increase the vampire drain to have either powered when the car is off, and a modified smartphone app and car firmware, but it's technically possible.
 

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