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What do you do for WiFi if you live in a condo?

Soul Surfer

Cansurvivor, tech geek & musician
So here's a conundrum. What do you do for WiFi if you live in a condo? Using my phone as a hotspot even though it's 5G is still slow. The building management are being ass-hats about sharing the guest WiFi code for some really lame reason. They think I would access their files. Believe me I could hack into them if I wanted, but that is not the point here.

What do my fellow condo owners do to get their updates? Do you go to a fast food parking where WiFi is free then do your download? That seems to be the best alternative to me so far. What I can't figure out is that if you’re able to stream Netflix or music, why wouldn't they push the updates OTA?

Any ideas out there? Thank you.
 

Soul Surfer

Cansurvivor, tech geek & musician
YMMV, but me thinks that you might get slower rates on many guest networks than on proper hotspots with 4G or 5G.

Have you tried Ubiquiti's stuff? They have some solid solutions especially with their Long Range access points.
I thought of adding a strong AP but we're on the penthouse floor so that is not even in the ranges. the building already uses Ubiquity AP's but like I wrote, they won't share it. I figure at some point, I will find it.
 
Note. Tesla can't support captive portals, so if any Wifi you connect you requires some level of authentication via a captive portal web page, then you're SOL. Tesla will push out emergency software updates that contains critical security pages OTA, however most all other updates are delivered over Wifi becuase of the large size of them (from 1GB up to 6GB). I've down the download through my Verizon LTE Hotspot while driving in the background. Installation can only occur when the vehicle is parked and not supercharging, but downloading can happen while on Wifi while driving using a Hotspot.
 

Soul Surfer

Cansurvivor, tech geek & musician
Note. Tesla can't support captive portals, so if any Wifi you connect you requires some level of authentication via a captive portal web page, then you're SOL. Tesla will push out emergency software updates that contains critical security pages OTA, however most all other updates are delivered over Wifi becuase of the large size of them (from 1GB up to 6GB). I've down the download through my Verizon LTE Hotspot while driving in the background. Installation can only occur when the vehicle is parked and not supercharging, but downloading can happen while on Wifi while driving using a Hotspot.
Thank you for the intel. Very helpful and much appreciated.
 

srs5694

Active Member
Jan 15, 2019
1,620
2,176
Woonsocket, RI
Note. Tesla can't support captive portals, so if any Wifi you connect you requires some level of authentication via a captive portal web page, then you're SOL.
I can't seem to find a reference to a thread in which the option is discussed, but I recall reading of people who get around this by jumping through some hoops. From memory:
  1. Ensure the Tesla is not connected to the WiFi network you want to use; even an unauthenticated connection will cause problems.
  2. Use a MAC address spoofing procedure on a tablet or cell phone to give that device the MAC address that your Tesla normally uses for WiFi. Apparently this is easier with Android than with iOS.
  3. Log in using the tablet or cell phone.
  4. Turn off WiFi on the tablet or cell phone. Be sure WiFi is completely disabled, or there will be a conflict.
  5. Connect with the Tesla.
  6. When you're done, un-spoof the Mac address on your tablet or phone, so as to prevent conflicts in the future.
The idea is that the public WiFi portal will authenticate the table or cell phone and then, when it disconnects and the Tesla connects with the same MAC address, the public portal won't require re-authentication, since it believes the Tesla has already been authenticated. I can't promise this will work, but it's at least cheap to try.

One major caveat is that you need the car's WiFi MAC address. I don't know of a way to find this from within the Tesla's UI. You can usually extract the MAC address from a WiFi router, including a tablet or cell phone when you activate its WiFi hot-spot feature, but details differ from one WiFi router to another. Thus, you may need to do some sleuthing to find this information.

In searching for a thread that covers the preceding procedure, I stumbled across mention of travel VPN routers, like this one. I've never used one, but apparently they can be used to connect to public WiFi networks. They then create a second WiFi network to which your car can connect. The main point seems to be to increase security, by making it harder for other users of the public WiFi network to snoop on your data or break into your devices. You may need to use your tablet or phone to connect to the second network so as to authenticate before the car will be able to use the connection. The device to which I've just linked is only $30, so if you needed to use such networks regularly to update your Tesla's firmware, that's probably be a reasonable price to pay, compared to doing the MAC address spoofing dance every time. As I say, I've never used one of these devices, so I can't promise one would work for you. (The link above was provided in another thread on this forum.)
 
Your Tesla's MAC address is available under Software, then tap on Additional Vehicle Information.

Also - if you need to get around a captive portal, you can setup a travel router like this GL.iNet AR750s unit. It's powered by a micro-usb cable.
I've got several of them that I travel with around the world with. They work great for setting up your own AP and routing traffic through another AP.
To get past the captive portal, you can connect to the travel AP with your phone, have it use the guest WiFi, comply with the captive portal, and then connect the Tesla to your travel AP. The guest WiFi uses the MAC of the travel AP (unless you have it spoof).


tesla-mac-address.jpg
 

moa999

2020 3 SR+ MSM
Mar 4, 2020
2,580
2,797
Sydney, AUS
Hotspot WiFi is what I do.

Typically downloads at 1-2Mb/s on my local network in Australia.

Takes a few minutes to do the first 50%.
Then it stalls for 10+ minutes (I believe this is where Tesla does an error check).
Then the 2nd half downloads.
Then error check again.

And then install which takes 25-30min

Alternatively if you have a Tesla service centre/ showroom near you, most will have a Tesla WiFi that the car will automatically login to.

Otherwise if you do have a portal style WiFi, one of those cheap USB repeaters (TPLink makes some). Hook up to WiFi, login the portal using mobile/cell phone, then connect the car.

Having done over a year of updates that way most updates are 400-800Mb.
That adds up over the whole fleet which I suspect is why they push WiFi.
 
Last edited:
..., so if you needed to use such networks regularly to update your Tesla's firmware, that's probably be a reasonable price to pay, compared to doing the MAC address spoofing dance every time. ...
The MAC address spoofing to get around the capture portal is usually a one-time thing to do - depending on the "lease" time. Often the lease time in those settings are 24 hours or more and if the car connects to the network before the time runs out it will not get a new capture portal.

I did that at a hotel with a gaming console that couldn't handle the hotel's capture portal.

However, I would actually try to come to an agreement with that management company about the "guest" network.
They could simply add the car's MAC address to the list of devices allowed to connect without the capture portal.

That is what the above-mentioned hotel (the Sheraton Anchorage) did for me and my Xbox
 
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