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LTE CarFi / Mifi / Hotspot talk

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by noobey, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. noobey

    noobey Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi everyone!
    Before beginning, just wanted to state;
    • I did a search before posting, but found no relevant hits.
    • I'm from and in the UK, but thought the technology being discussed was fairly global so put it in this section. Feel free to move this thread if it offends the forum police.
    So, in my model S, I had minor data gripes;
    1. I hate that I don't have LTE in the Tesla. This is because it's not available in the UK through Tesla yet, but given this thread I don't think I need it anymore.
    2. My kids also hate that their iPads don't work on long journeys.
    3. I have a Blackvue 650 2 channel DVR, and the internet functionality on it is GREAT! Even though the GPS on it has never worked for me on it.
    4. I'm a streaming music fanatic/loser. I'm that guy that subscribes to every service but then has to listen to Dora the Explorer songs because my 2 year old daughter says so.
    5. When using a supercharger I typically tend to work and hold video conference calls using my laptop from in my car. 4G is essential for this.
    To keep everyone happy I decided to get a MiFi unit in the car.
    This is the UK bit. Due to my line of work, I managed to get free LTE data sim cards for both Vodafone and EE fully paid for by the networks and with "unlimited 4G data". For each bit of hardware discussed below, I tried both sims in each and the EE 4G coverage and general speed was significantly superior. The Voda coverage had me really annoyed at times, particularly in Essex where I live, and central London where I work.

    1. So I initially tested the Verizon Jetpack Mifi 6620L whilst I was in San Francisco for work. This is the device that gave me the original idea. It wasn't really that great, but worked better than my colleagues Mifi devices. When driving around it would constantly lose signal for long periods of time, and the only fix was often a reboot. This did not occur if I was stationary.
      [​IMG]
    2. So when I got back to the UK the first one I bought was the Huawei E5573 due to the really good reviews. Overall though there were two problems.
      2a-The signal management whilst moving isn't too great, neither is the performance on the whole in a car. It sounds dumb, but using this thing whilst sitting at a desk is a way greater experience than sitting in a car with it.
      2b-This unit doesn't auto power on/power off if using the USB cable for power with the battery removed. In fact it doesn't work at all with the battery removed. The other thing to note here is that the Tesla USB ports are always on and supplying juice, I didn't know this before. This isn't a huge issue and is kinda beneficial for some people.
      [​IMG]
    3. I then tried the Huawei R216 and it had identical results to the E5573. So much so, that I think they're the same unit rebadged.
      [​IMG]
    4. Then I tried the EE Buzzard, which is advertised as being an in-car wifi unit. To be fair, it was ok and pretty cheap. Power management on it was great, it would turn on and off with the car, just like a DVR. But signal on it was probably on par with the Verizon unit.
      [​IMG]
    5. So I went away, and found this diamond! The Huawei E8377 CarFi, this thing has been amazing on all networks I've tried it with, but has been really strong on EE. Signal is brilliant on it as is the management app and interface, if you have a data cap it lets you set one with warning in the mobile app. This device is really a 9/10 but has a fundamental flaw...... It doesn't auto turn on with with car. Yep, this sounds minor, but the manual step means that you cant use an extension cable to hide this thing, or if you don't drive a Tesla using the 12V socket in the boot/trunk would be a pain.
      [​IMG]
    So........
    I'm kinda back at square 1 and need your help guys.
    I'm happy to spend my own money to test a viable device, but I'm not sure which of the top reviewed devices to try?
    Netgear AC810
    [​IMG]
    TP-Link M7350
    [​IMG]
    Something else?
    Really I'd like at the bare minimum for the unit to turn on and off with the car, or better yet, have an inbuilt battery to stay on after the car turns off but then shut itself down if there is no activity.
    Signal if obviously hugely important too, which is why I'm prepared to spend more than people do on normal MiFi units.
    If possible, I'd prefer to use USB power as well. I know that vampire drain might be a real issue (which is why I want the Mifi to auto power off on no activity), but currently using a 12V splitter for my DVR and CarFi and am not sure how safe it is. USB also means I can hide the cables a bit better.

    Anyway, as always, appreciate any advice, input and feedback.

    Peace out!
     

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  2. siai47

    siai47 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Deland, Fl.
    The Jetpack and AT&T's Unite series are made by Netgear. I use a AT&T branded Netgear 815S called the Unite Explore. Works very well for me. Long battery life, several options for setup. There is an App from AT&T to set up some functions that cannot be set up on the unit itself. Provides A or C signal or both if needed. The explore is in a rubberized case to help prevent damage and is water resistant (whatever that means). Software seems to be a little different with the AT&T speck model, but similar features to the 815S. Walked into Best Buy and bought it off the shelf, put a phone sim card from my carrier (not AT&T) in and it works. I just turn it on, throw it in the back of the car and forget it. It will provide active Wi-Fi operation for about 22 hours and standby for several hundred hours between recharges that can be done through a USB port. Uses a micro sim card like the newer phones to enable it. Depends on your carrier and I have no knowledge of UK cell phone carriers but this has worked out well in the model S for me as an alternative to the $500 LTE upgrade to the vehicle.
     
  3. noobey

    noobey Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    London, UK
    Thanks, question here, does it auto power on if you plug in a USB cable? If so then it's pretty much perfect for my needs!
     
  4. siai47

    siai47 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2014
    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Deland, Fl.
    The short answer is yes it auto powers on. It will also charge if needed and broadcast the WI-FI signal without any interaction. However it will not shut down once turned on--even if you remove the USB cable. You must either manually shut it off or set a time out. The time out period that you can set starts when the last Wi-Fi connected device is no longer in range of the hot spot.
     
    • Like x 1
  5. noobey

    noobey Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Location:
    London, UK
    Perfect, that sounds like it'll do exactly what I need it to, AND i can couple it with these antennas!
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/NETGEAR-6000450-Antenna-Aircard-Hotspots/dp/B00DN3J03O/ref=sr_1_4?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1472930409&sr=1-4&keywords=netgear+aircard
    Thanks
     
  6. tmarcc

    tmarcc Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2016
    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    That's really interesting. So the AT&T Unite Explore device you bought from BestBuy was actually unlocked? What carrier sim card did you try? If it's unlocked I'll buy one too.
     

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