What Solutions Have You Found to Get WiFi on the Road?

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barjohn

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#1
Just completed a 6500+ mile road trip and could not find a way to get WiFi while traveling. I tried using my phone as a hot spot, but it will not stay connected to it and it has a hard time connecting to it at all. I tried parking close enough to the hotels to use their WiFi but could never get that to work either. It could not obtain an IP address from their server. Is it worth while purchasing a separate mobile hotspot from Verizon or At&T (or whatever carrier you use) and connecting the car to it? Will it stay connected while driving or only while parked? I obviously can't use my phone while parked overnight as the car would be unlocked. I welcome ideas that have worked for others.
 

JasonF

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#2
It's probably not worth it to give the car wifi access while traveling unless you're on the roads for months at a time. If there are any updates, you can get those when you get home.
 

barjohn

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#3
I just completed a one month trip and it would have been nice to have the opportunity to see improvements in NoAP not to mention helpful. I am getting ready to leave on another 3,000 mile trip and being able to test and use the latest improvements to auto pilot are always welcome. Further, when for some reason they do push an LTE update and something goes wrong you frequently really need the ability to complete the update to not have a crippled car.
 

SoFlaModel3

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#4
I just completed a one month trip and it would have been nice to have the opportunity to see improvements in NoAP not to mention helpful. I am getting ready to leave on another 3,000 mile trip and being able to test and use the latest improvements to auto pilot are always welcome. Further, when for some reason they do push an LTE update and something goes wrong you frequently really need the ability to complete the update to not have a crippled car.
It is for this exact reason that I came to the conclusion I would not ever install an update while on a road trip.
 

garsh

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#5
I tried using my phone as a hot spot, but it will not stay connected to it and it has a hard time connecting to it at all.
Strange. I wonder why.
What make/model of phone do you have?
And which wireless service?
 

Bigriver

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#6
I believe that in one of Bjorn Nyland’s YouTube videos, when he was traveling a lot in his X, that he would find a Tesla service center, park outside, and connect to their WiFi to get updates.
 

FRC

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#7
It is for this exact reason that I came to the conclusion I would not ever install an update while on a road trip.
On a recent road trip, I met a guy who installed an update on the road. It was not a fully successful install and he was limping 1500 miles home with limited functionality. So like you, @SoFlaModel3, I will never download an update on the road.
 

GDN

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#9
I have an iPhone X. I've turned it's hotspot on and connected and downloaded a release, all while driving. There is no reason your phones hotspot shouldn't work, but could likely be a million reasons why it doesn't. I won't even mention phones and brands, all I only say it likely isn't an issue with the car.

You noted not leaving your phone in the car, you can. Turn the Auto Unlock off, hide the phone and lock with your card. No reason that can't work if you really want it connected.
 

JasonF

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#10
I have to reverse what I said above, because “I just returned from a (month long trip) and I’m just about to go on another one” sounds an awful lot like the exception of someone who’s away from home for months at a time. It’s practically someone who lives out of hotels!

The solution is going to take a little planning. Figure out which cell provider has the most reliable signal AND speeds at your most common stop-for-the-night spots and get a wifi hotspot from one of them, and connect the car to it. Turn it on only when you’re stopped for the night, because eventually the car will go into deep sleep, and then the hotspot will shut off for inactivity. That should be a large enough window to capture any updates.

If you would rather use your cell phone, choose a cell provider who might not have the best signal overall, but has the most stable throughout the trip. You CAN lock your cell phone in the car, just put it in the charging station and close the door so no one can see it. I would personally turn off Bluetooth before doing that to make sure a sudden BT transmission from the phone doesn’t unlock the car.
 

garsh

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#12
My phone is an iPhone XS Max on Verizon. It works just fine as a hot spot with my laptop but fails to connect or stay connected to my model 3. Why that would be the case I can't ascertain.
I found this troubleshooting guide on Apple's website:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203302

Which Verizon plan do you have? Some of them have strange restrictions on hotspot usage.
 

MelindaV

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#13
there are also wifi sniffers in the apple app store, so you can find available (public) wifi signals that are within range. In the past I'd tried a couple, and they work fine - but I've had unlimited data on my phone(s), and rarely am without a cell signal so haven't really had a need, so haven't used them except to try it out.
 

barjohn

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#14
It connects just fine to my laptop while sitting in the car. I am on VZW unlimited plan. I frequently use the hotspot for my laptop when traveling as sometimes it is faster than the local wifi hotspots.
 

garsh

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#17
Since the hotspot works just fine with my laptop it isn’t an issue of the hotspot
Probably not. But in the past, I remember having some weird limitations for hotspot usage. I think maybe it would only allow phones and tablets to use the hotspot, and not other computers.
 

Gatica

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#19
I have had no issues using my iPhone XS Max (AT&T) as a hot spot for my Model 3, driving or parked. @barjohn maybe try changing the hotspot password and try connecting it again.
 

barjohn

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#20
I did try that and tried it again yesterday. I was able to connect to it, though often it doesn't show up as a WiFi access point, but as soon as I started driving it disconnected from it. My car is an April 2018 build on 2019.28.2. Maybe one of those strange bugs that appear on some cars and not others.