TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Should I upgrade cellular antenna from 3G to LTE?

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by Galve2000, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    962
    Location:
    NYC
    My Model S was built in May 2015 and was probably one of the last ones that shipped with 3G instead of LTE cellular service...

    I am finding that I am having trouble connecting to the car about 80% of the time -- particularly around my home and I suspect the problem is AT&Ts very poor HSPA service (3G but marketed as 4G on most smartphones by AT&T usually) which I know form experience on my iPhone is only suitable for basic texting.

    what's more... the streaming audio won't play a song for the 1st 15 minutes or so that I am driving my car. I haven't really noticed this too much in the past year b/c I generally listen to audio books from my phone, but once in a while when I have passengers in the car its embarrassing to have to try to reset everything so that music will play... the music often comes on when I am parking my car at my destination... then later when I am ready to leave said destination the last song will replay (I assume b/c it was already downloaded from before) but then I will have several minutes of dead air until the 3G service "wakes up" and plays another song. forget changing the station.. dead air.

    My car goes in for 36,000 miles service next monday and I am having them check the 3G stuff but I inquired about the upgrade and was told it's $500.

    I figured at some point during my ownership that Tesla would start charging for cellular service and if I had to pay for an extra service I might as well bring my own.. but my car often has trouble connecting both to my iPhone for tethering and random hotspots around my neighborhood.

    ever since Tesla changed things so that the car would not connect to wifi while in motion, I have had a really hard time getting wifi to tether.. so I don't know that bringing my own cellular service will be viable -- especially since Tesla said they will be charging "roughly $100" for this service any stand-alone data service for the car that I will find will most likely be more expensive that "$100 per year" so there is that to think about. but I don't want to pay Tesla this money if the 3G service is the culprit if it is unusable.. if they ever do start charging us, that is.

    still I don't know if $500 is worth it. I told service I would wait on the upgrade this time around so they can check everything but i'm kind of leaning towards biting the bullet b/c not having the connectivity is frustrating.

    That said, I am still getting software updates even over 3G.. so I know some things are working correctly..

    as an aside, I even feel like I can "force" an update by connection to wifi and hanging out in the car listening to music for 5 or 10 minutes.. connecting to wifi and leaving the car immediately won't do it b/c the car will go to sleep soon after you exit... but if you hang out a bit it will may start downloading something and even complete the download while you are in the car if WiFi is fast enough. and then it will prompt you to update next time you go to the car...

    what should I do?
     
  2. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    11,739
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Do it. It's worth it. I've done it in both cars I've owned. Maps tiles load A LOT faster. I don't use streaming that much, so I can't really comment. But in general connectivity is just better with LTE than 3G especially in metro areas where 3G is getting phased out (or at least phased down).

    Also, it's not the antenna that gets replaced, it's a daughterboard radio (and SIM card) in the MCU they swap out.
     
  3. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    962
    Location:
    NYC
    That's what i meant by antenna -- tho I wouldn't have thought the SIM was different between HSPA and LTE...
     
  4. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    11,739
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I believe there's different network provisioning on the SIM card. On every work order for the LTE upgrade, they include a new SIM.
     
  5. glide

    glide Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    925
    Location:
    USA
    Yes you should upgrade immediately. 3G with Slacker is rough.
     
    • Like x 1
  6. Bueno

    Bueno Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Fontana CA
    Didn’t know an upgrade was possible, are all 3g MCU’s upgradable? I have a 12/2014 P85D coverage is ok but I do experience random drops about twice a week.
     
  7. Barry

    Barry Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,463
    Location:
    Colorado
    I have 3G. Last time I was in for service I got a loaner with LTE. I didn't notice a significant difference. I see no reason to do the overpriced upgrade.
     
    • Like x 3
  8. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    11,739
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yes, all 3G radios are upgradable to LTE. I upgraded both my 2013 P85+ and my 2014 P85D. Well worth it, in my opinion. Sure, not everyone will see the same gains, but I sure did, especially in nav map tile loading... like night and day.
     
  9. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    962
    Location:
    NYC
    when I able to tether my iPhone (which uses AT&T LTE) to the car the Nav tiles load only slightly faster.. I would definitely not say there is a "night and day" difference..

    I don't know guys. originally the only benefit of tethering was that some of my Tune-In stations would only play when the car was on wifi (regardless of the data speed of the wifi connection -- I tested it -- and I guess I was assuming it was a bandwidth/speed issue which it may not have been) but eventually after a few software updates this wifi requirement went away and all stations would play over the 3G connection.

    I like Tune-In bc you can listen to local radio stations in other countries with it.
     
  10. nybw51mr42

    nybw51mr42 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Messages:
    286
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Did the upgrade in my 12/2014 P85D. Very noticeable difference for me, especially since I park in a garage with no service. Before leaving the garage with 3G would take up to 7 minutes to get connectivity. Now it connects before I even get out of the garage. Streaming is much faster too, as are maps. The web browser still sucks however.
     
    • Informative x 1
  11. dark cloud

    dark cloud Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2018
    Messages:
    929
    Location:
    BC
    I have been thinking of it as well. Streaming cuts out driving in various areas as BC's geography is not a very friendly place for cellular wavelength propagation. 4G may be faster but there are actually more areas that have 3G coverage than 4G coverage so I don't think service will cut out any less going to 4G LTE.

    Map loading has never been an issue for me, usually it is fast enough, although I have seen the difference between my Dec 2014 car and a 2018 MCU2 car and I would describe this as night and day difference in loading speed. Still undecided....

    BC coverage: dark purple is 4G lighter purple is 3G

    Screen Shot 2019-01-04 at 7.03.09 AM.png
    3G coverage: highway 5 is the Coquihalla
    Screen Shot 2019-01-04 at 7.08.11 AM.png
    4G

    Screen Shot 2019-01-04 at 7.08.31 AM.png
     
  12. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    1,600
    Location:
    Greenville Wisconsin
    When I did the upgrade 2014 P85 while in for other service, the tech was adamant that I would not see faster speeds but might see better coverage which is going to be completely dependent on towers where you travel, nobody can answer that one for you.

    There are certain podcasts I like to listen to that 3g or LTE will not load till a day or two old, I know that sounds strange but it is a non-service related bug, I can pick the three day old podcast from the same person and it loads go back to the new one and it wont. Is that part of your problem?

    I don't regret the upgrade but think it is more of a "for the future" kind of thing rather than an of benefit now thing.
     
  13. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    962
    Location:
    NYC
    See that's just the thing i'm talking about -- except I had the reverse problem for a long time.

    for a very, very long time there was very poor LTE service in my garage. this is a 7 level above ground garage in lower Manhattan where the cars are basically parked outside although it is covered unless you park on the roof. But for the longest time if I wanted to use the Tesla App while standing next to my car (in order to use Summon, or to unlock the doors, vent the roof, etc etc) I had to disable LTE on my phone and drop to 4G (really 3G HSPA) in order to connect. there was (almost) NO LTE service.

    the app might connect to Tesla servers or to the car but it would take a VERY long time.

    yet once I turned off LTE it would connect to the car very quickly.

    unfortunately.. this is no longer the case. There is still 3G HSPA service in the garage, but there is now also usable LTE service.

    It's really the one thing that is pushing me to upgrade -- the fact that i feel the old 3G HSPA network is being slowly dismantled by AT&T or that Apps are being written with LTE speeds in mind and are basically unusable in 3G HSPA

    if the upgrade was $300 I wouldn't be here asking for advice. i would have done it over a year ago. but at $500... i know its only an extra $200 but really i think of it as $500 extra b/c I know cars were delivered before mine w\ LTE antenna. at the time I didn't so much,, but now when push has finally come to shove... i don't know anymore.

    as an update. my tesla App has been connecting to the car with much more success in the mornings (at home, where I usually park on the street) and at the office. music has been loading more immediately as well although there is sometimes silence when I 1st switch to Slacker.
     
  14. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    11,739
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Just so you know, the app never connects directly to the car. Both car and app communicate with the Tesla API server(s).
     
    • Informative x 1
  15. vickh

    vickh Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2018
    Messages:
    1,232
    Location:
    az
    After reading this thread I think the answer depends on local 3G vs LTE coverage in the drivers area . Are there any good street level maps with Tesla service in mind? I will do a Wifi extender for the garage regardless.
     
  16. kaidou

    kaidou Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2018
    Messages:
    159
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    Can you elaborate this? I did not know that I would be charged later. Thought 3G service is indefinitely included. Even delivery advisor told me that it’s not going to be charged.
     
  17. SSedan

    SSedan Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2017
    Messages:
    1,600
    Location:
    Greenville Wisconsin
    Believe they gave a date of sometime last winter which things were guaranteed free till, everything since has been gravy.
    In practical terms I think they have so far to go with FSD that it will stay free while they collect data and release frequent updates.
     
  18. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    962
    Location:
    NYC
    Just an update on this:

    My car was in for service yesterday and they gave me a loaner which I had for about 24 hours.

    the loaner was a 90D with the LTE hardware. Honestly tiles on the main Nav screen did not really load much faster with LTE than my 3G. also I noticed on Nav map to the left of the steering wheel that these tiles were also not populated and took a while to load. I have never seen such behavior before. I do not remember the Nav tiles on the driver's screen ever being unpopulated in my own car but I was driving in a path where the Nav had me going down the same road for over 2 miles and the drivers side nav was showing a large portion of the island of Manhattan -- which i don't often see on this little screen.

    still I thought it was strange -- and i'd hoped that with LTE these tiles would populate quickly. they did not, unfortunately.
     
  19. HankLloydRight

    HankLloydRight No Roads

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    11,739
    Location:
    Connecticut
    That could have easily been a GPS reception problem which is quite common in NYC.

    And again, everyone's experience with the LTE upgrade is different. It works extremely well for some people (like me, for two different cars) and for other people it does not. No one person is right or wrong.

    It's also 90% a human perception issue. Some people might not see any improvement when there is, and other people might see huge improvements when there is not.

    If you're debating getting the upgrade, you're just going to have to weigh the evidence and judge for yourself. If you don't do it, you'll never know if there could have been a big improvement. If you do, your perceptions might cloud whatever improvements there are (or aren't).

    Finally, LTE reception, just like 3G is dependent on dozens of external factors influencing the outcome. It's not just black or white. LTE might work like a dog in some areas, and 3G in others, and vise-versa. Maybe the tile loading isn't perceived to have any improvements, but from what a lot of people say, just maintaining a cellular connection is greatly improved with LTE, and that's only going to get better as cellular providers drawn down their 3G footprints.
     
  20. PhilDavid

    PhilDavid Active Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Messages:
    1,768
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    For those of you who claim the map tiles load quickly, perhaps it is because they are cached locally. When those tiles need to be updated or you are traveling somewhere you will notice a big different with the 4G upgrade.

    I feel it is $500 well spent and really very grateful that Tesla offers this upgrade ta all.
     

Share This Page

  • 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