Will we be getting 4G?

Will we be getting 4G?

Will there be an upgrade to 4G anytime in the near future?

EssDub | 17 februari 2014

service center hinted last week that something should be forthcoming REALLY soon on this..

tesla.mahedy | 17 februari 2014

4G HSPA+ or LTE?

judimasters | 17 februari 2014

LTE I assume. I am not a techie so I don't even know what HSPA+ is.

tesla.mahedy | 17 februari 2014

LTE is true 4G while HSPA+ is merely "turbocharged" 3G that just sneaks in to the lower qualification of 4G. I hope you're right.

J.T. | 17 februari 2014

@Essdub Has there been any official word from Tesla as to real world differentiation between "soon" and "REALLY soon?" :-)

zwede | 17 februari 2014

I asked my SC, but they said HQ is very tight lipped regarding 4G.

carolinagobo | 18 februari 2014

4G is not fast enough to keep the maps ongoing for the GPS satellite mode, LTE is the way to go, however I don't think the cars have the hardware nee it, perhaps the new models.

kcf2 | 18 februari 2014

Elon mentioned once that Model S has a chipset which supports HSPA+, what AT&T calls 4G, and that a hardware upgrade would be required for 4G LTE.

Joshua Burstyn | 18 februari 2014

So far as I've heard there is no LTE modem in the carputer of the 'S. This means HSPA+ is what we should likely expect. HSPA+ is commonly up to 42/22 Mbps - pretty good really. What's the issue?

dmunjal | 18 februari 2014

I've been tethering my Model S to my smartphone which has LTE. To be honest, I can't tell the difference in map, Slacker, or any other application.

judimasters | 18 februari 2014

What do you mean "Teather"? I really don't know techie stuff!

Captain_Zap | 18 februari 2014


I saw your car again yesterday in Oly.

Sweetride | 18 februari 2014

Tethering in this case would allow a Tesla's communications system to use a cell phone's 4G connection instead of its slower 3G.

Bighorn | 18 februari 2014

Instead of using the car's 3G connection, you can use the signal from your cell phone (tether) which has a faster service, much like a wireless device in your home uses a signal from a router.

sosmerc | 18 februari 2014

So, for example, if I have a Verizon 4g Jetpack, the Tesla S can use it to access the internet while on the go? (since the Tesla can pick up a wi-fi signal from the Jetpack). I would think this would apply to most any cell-phone/tablet/laptop that can be set up to be a hot-spot for wi-fi. So if you have the "tech package" would not necessarily have to use the AT & T connection??

Sweetride | 18 februari 2014

@sosmerc, yes if I understand Jetpack correctly. However, dmunjai above says a faster connection is apparently not helping speed Tesla's apps, that the browser seems to be the bigger bottleneck.

I.C.E.Stalker | 18 februari 2014

If you're already paying for data service on your cell phone and your wireless provider doesn't require any extra fees for using your cell phone as a modem for your laptop, tethering can also save you money, since you won't have to pay for separate mobile broadband service or buy additional hardware just to get your laptop connected.
Keep in mind, using your cell phone's data service for in-car usage will, however, drain the phone's battery more quickly, especially if you're using Bluetooth to connect your phone and laptop. If you have a USB port on your laptop that can charge devices, tethering via USB would be a better way to connect than doing it wireless, because of that battery issue.
Use of Mobile Hotspot; WiFi or USB is the preferred method.

judimasters | 18 februari 2014

Captain_Zap That wasn't me! My beautiful car is dark blue and is BZZZZT I think the other one is Red or Maroon and is BZZZZZT.

judimasters | 18 februari 2014

So Guys... Tell me how to do this please! And since we are here can I do this for at home use for my laptop rather than using WiFi? | 18 februari 2014

LTE requires both a new radio and antenna. So, I would expect us all the to get 4G/HSPA+ which is usually a SW update from 3G. 4G/LTE will likely be VIN-specific to Tesla should probably upgrade their servers to prepare for LTE-gate which will inevitably follow on the heels of parking-sensor-gate and 120kW-gate.

A retrofit is likely doable but also likely $$$, since if I rememberer correctly a lot of those communications electronics bits (GPS, BT, cellular) are in the same module and there is still the matter of the antenna. Not sure its worth it--probably a smarter move to tether for most folks.


Pungoteague_Dave | 18 februari 2014

Tethering requires using the car's wifi, and having your cell phone set up as a wireless access point. I implemented that as soon as it was rolled out last fall, and found zero speed increase. We immediately experiences lots of communication drops, as well as huge drain on my Motorola Maxx battery, as it then uses the phone for Internet radio on navigation/mapping. That takes a lot of the phone's resources and slows down or stops multitasking for things like on-phone instant messaging and email. An incoming phone call would interrupt all other communication functions on the car, such as mapping.

If you do tether, the car and phone will be separately communicating with each other through both Bluetooth and wifi simultaneously. Tethering is also a real pain because you have to do setup on your phone every time you get in the car, or else leave it on as an access point all of the time, not something anyone would want to do. As mentioned above, it appears that the bottleneck is in the screen processor speed, not the phone speed, so an upgrade to faster phone service probably will get us nothing in the current version of the car. Wireless tethering is a technology that isn't ready for prime time yet. Not Tesla's fault, more a limitation of today's wireless phones. Given current technology, we have concluded that separating the car's Internet communication from our personal phones except for hands free through Bluetooth is the way to go. .

Arxcis | 19 februari 2014

HSPA+ should really not be called 4G. In Norway its not. Its just a fast version of 3G. The difference between HSPA and LTE goes beoynd speed. They are fundamentally different technologies. LTE is a data only network, which supports much lower latencies and can handle much more people at the same time.

David Trushin | 19 februari 2014

PD, using your phone as a mobile hotspot for the car is indeed a bad idea. However, if you use a jetpack mobile hotspot instead, most of the problems you mentioned go away. You can leave it plugged in to the usb port so that it charges all the time, you can turn it off when the car is garaged, and it will always autoconnect when on. Also, since it doesn't involve the phone, you have no conflict problems with calls, text, and data. As far as the screen speed, if you don't see an improvement with the phone, you probably won't with the jetpack either. Hopefully new software will fix. Oh, and Verizon will give the jetpack away free but there will be a subscription fee to add to your family plan.

David Trushin | 19 februari 2014

judimasters, setting it up is really simple. Just acquire the jetpack router at your verizon store, charge it up, then plug it into your usb slot in the car. Once you turn it on, look for the network on the MS screen and connect it. You will have to enter a code that the jet pack provides, so ask at the Verizon store how to get the code. You could probably get one of the Verizon techs to help you with this if you show them the car.

Mathew98 | 19 februari 2014

I have a dedicated 4G mobile hotspot for my MS. I haven't noticed any increase in speed for browsing nor navigation. The NVIDIA chips may not be powerful enough to handle these functions swiftly.

Joshua Burstyn | 19 februari 2014

Very cool info, omarsultan and arcsis. Thanks!

In Canada HSPA+ is often called 3.5G.

Joshua Burstyn | 19 februari 2014

Sorry - should've written it "Arxcis" - my bad.

AmpedRealtor | 19 februari 2014

Question for those on AT&T... I see that I can purchase a dedicated LTE hotspot for $50 and add it to my shared data plan. Has anyone used this unit in their Model S, and does it work? I was considering getting the LTE hotspot for my client appointments and leaving it in the car. The idea is that the hot spot will provide me with LTE internet access to my iPad or MacBook when I'm in the field as well as allow the car to tether to the faster LTE network.

Has anyone tried this, and how has it worked out for you? Can these portable hot spots be charged and kept powered via the USB port in the car?

Mathew98 | 19 februari 2014

@AmpedRealtor - I have a similar unit from Clear. It has an internal battery that will last up to 8 hours or so without plugging in. It will go into sleep mode to conserve battery after 10 or 15 minutes.

If you leave the hot spot in the car, you'll have up to 50 - 75' of coverage. However, the signal will decrease the further you are from the hot spot.

I leave my device plugged into one of the USB ports at all time. The Wifi in the car will sync with the hot spot every time after you set up the hand shake the first time.

AndersOlsen3000 | 19 februari 2014

I wonder how difficult it is for Tesla to upgrade the NVIDIA chipset in model S.
NVIDIA has made more powerful and energy efficient chipsets since the one installed in the model S.
If that is really a bottleneck for running the browser faster.. Why not upgrade it? | 19 februari 2014

No need for hardware upgrade, the bottleneck is the browser software. Tesla has already stated it is replacing it with Chrome which should be dramatically faster. No time frame has been given by Tesla for Chrome, but perhaps in v6?

I believe the primary display's Nvidia CPU can be upgraded with a new module, but in addition to new software, it would require removing the main display and pulling it apart - a multi-hour job. I don't see it happening, but if so, expect it to cost more than $1000 (and maybe a lot more)!

AndersOlsen3000 | 19 februari 2014

It makes sense replacing the software browser with Chrome, as it would be less expensive and a less difficult undertaking - compared to upgrading the hardware Nvidia chipset.
However, upgrading the chipset would also boost the overall system performance - making apps etc. run faster. Maybe Tesla will upgrade the chipset, when they give the car a small overall facelift in the future.

David Trushin | 19 februari 2014

The 4G chipset for the tegra motherboard comes in two varieties: a chipset and a paddle board. If the designers used the paddle board design, then it is likely that the LTE hardware can be changed out. Otherwise, fuggetaboudit. It really doesn't matter since, I have been told by a service tech, the motherboard is in a factory sealed box and is considered a field replaceable unit. So no one is going to be taking them apart and putting in new chips (except maybe PD). So, the upgrade is easy: just replace the motherboard. It is costly, though, maybe $7500. Oh and don't forget the antennas. The mobile hotspot solution is cheaper and quicker. However, as has been pointed out, until a quicker browser is available, it hardly pays.

BTW, how can AT&T get away with charging $50 for something that Verizon gives away free?

redacted | 19 februari 2014

$7500 for a motherboard? Is it made out of mac pros?

David Trushin | 19 februari 2014

I suspect that it is hardened a la military grade hardware. So that doesn't sound unreasonable to me.

Pungoteague_Dave | 19 februari 2014

@DavidTrushin, trying to figure out what we'd gain by adding a semi-permanent hot spot to our car, except the ability to use other wifi devices in the car, especially now that we have four more years Tesla-paid wireless for free? As you said, the speed limitation is in the car's browser and hardware.

ColonyGolfer | 20 februari 2014

I have the Verizon family plan that has unlimited talk, text and one gig of data for aprox. $145 per month. Last week, Verizon upgraded my plan for no additional cost, and increased my data to 2 gigs and included use of my phone as a "hot spot". This tethers to my Tesla and it used to be a $25 monthly charge, now free! I didn't ask for these upgrades, they just came in the form of an email, so you may want to inquire at Verizon.

Disclosure: I do own a small amount of VZ, but I don't think your talking to them will affect the stock price LOL.

dmunjal | 21 februari 2014

For those who are tethering their MS to their Android Smartphone, check out the AutoTether app which turns on the hotspot functionality on the phone automatically every time your phone connects to the car's Bluetooth. Y0ou don't have to manually turn this on or off every time.

As others have said, there doesn't seem to be any perceptible performance improvement. And with built-in 3G free for four years, it probably doesn't matter.