Tesla Wifi Causes Local Internet Congestion

Tesla Wifi Causes Local Internet Congestion

Our Model S Wifi connection has lately been causing our internet to slow to the point of unusability, and the problem seems to be getting worse.

For months, I have been experiencing an issue with our internet connection sometime slowing to the degree that it is unusable. We finally made the association that it seemed to occur minutes after I arrived home in the Model S, presumably when the car connects to our wifi. To address the issue, I would reboot our DSL modem, and the issue cleared.

Our wifi router (different than our DSL modem) provides some visibility into local traffic, including its wifi connection. When the apparent congestion occurs, the router traffic viewer indicates a lot of incoming wifi traffic. When I disabled wifi in the car, the wifi data from the car stopped, the congestion stopped and "normal" internet access returned. However, a minute or two after disabling wifi in the car, it RE-ENABLED ITSELF, the incoming wifi traffic resumed from the car, and the congestion and associated lack of internet access again occurred.

Thinking that the car was uploading autopilot telemetry to Tesla, I called Technical Support (who returned my call minutes later) for insight. (I have never had the major issues contacting technical support that seem to often be reported here.) TS said that autopilot telemetry is uploaded via the cellular network and not via wifi. He accessed our vehicle and said that it was up-to-date and could not see it doing anything unusual. He did say, however, that there used to be a way to disable wifi autoconnect that was no longer implemented. So, unless I tell the car to permanently forget the wifi connection, there is no way to conveniently prevent the car from accessing our wifi connection.

The router statistics indicated that the data originating from the car was in excess of our provisioned internet uplink rate, which is probably the root of the problem. Tesla TS suggested that I try to limit the device connection rate at the provider's end by using our provider's online tools. However, there is no immediate solution other than again rebooting our DSL modem which evidently somehow breaks the particular session in a way that the car understands. But, I don't want to have to reboot our modem every time I return home.

Based on my current understanding of the issue, and assuming that the car is generating legitimate data to wifi, I wish that Tesla would do one of the following:

1) Provide a way to limit the wifi upload rate so that it did not overflow my internet upload, or
2) Provide a way to turn off wifi without forgetting the connection entirely, or
3) Figure out and address what is going on that would cause so much upload activity

Frank99 | 2019年3月9日

Hmm, I've had some unexplained slow WiFi, maybe I'll investigate. Thanks.


carlk | 2019年3月10日

That's strange. Can't believe Tesla uses that much bandwidth unless if your internet or router speed is really low. I have two Tesla parked in the garage plus Roku and many computers and mobile devices in the house. I've never had the problem even when two TV's are watch UHD Netflix movies at the same time.

carlk | 2019年3月10日

How about using an extra router or hotspot device to set up a unique WiFi access point for the car? That way it will not upset your other internet functions even when there is a problem with the car connection.

jordanrichard | 2019年3月10日

The cars don’t use anywhere near the amount of bandwidth that you are suggesting. Even if you were using the browser which is slower than mud, it wouldn’t slow down anything else.

NKYTA | 2019年3月10日

@jr, +1

DSL, well, there is your problem. ;-)

jerrykham | 2019年3月10日

Yes, I guess those of us that aren't stuck with DSL would never see an issue. In fact, I see pretty much the opposite issue. I don't know what spec of 802.11 the Tesla Model S has - but it seems to act like 802.11b (the old slow kind) and I've never seen it go over 12 Mb/s (which would be 802.11b). I had it on Google Wi-Fi which has a function to test the speed from the router to any specific device and to the car it would always come back at 12 or less. That is with a Google Wi-Fi puck about 3 feet from the Wi-Fi antenna in the car (which is in the right side mirror) and that puck wired with CAT 6 to the main router. Other devices (like phones) in that same area would get 155 Mb/s or higher. So it seems like the Model S has some pretty outdated Wi-Fi tech in it. It would never be able to saturate our 250 Mb/s cable connection. But DSL? Yeah, I guess it could if it was downloading a map update or something.

mcdonalk | 2019年3月10日

Unfortunately, DSL is the only internet access in our area.

The data that the car is generating and sending via wifi appears to generally exceed our provisioned upload rate. The car's transmit data often exceeds 1.3Mbps. Since our internet connection is not symmetrical, our maximum upload rate is much lower than our maximum download rate.

car -> wifi -> router -> modem -> internet

What is our car transmitting? And for how long will it do so (I have observed this condition continue for an hour before I finally interrupted it be resetting the DSL modem.)

SCCRENDO | 2019年3月10日

I run my life off Wi-Fi. I also have multiple people doing stuff that requires large bandwidth. I saved myself a lot of worry by getting the fastest internet I could find. I use Spectrum cable 300 gigabytes with google mesh routers. Find the best you can get and you will stop tormenting yourself trying to troubleshoot junk

mcdonalk | 2019年3月11日


Thanks for your constructive suggestions, but in all likelihood, the bottleneck is my limited internet upload rate which is part of asymmetric DSL; I don't believe that wifi bandwidth is the problem. (The upload limit of our main internet connection is much smaller than the download one.) I sure would like to understand what the car's wifi link is doing, which could be the first step to a solution.

Roger1 | 2019年3月11日

Some wifi routers have the ability to deny connected devices access to the internet on a scheduled basis. The capability is intended to keep kids from using computers and gaming devices when they should be doing something else. You might be able to block the internet connection for the Tesla for most of the day and only allow access when you are not using data yourself, perhaps in the middle of the night.

SCCRENDO | 2019年3月11日

I have 4 google mesh routers and they are great. Cost about $100 each. You can get them in packages of 3. These solved my router issues.

johnse | 2019年3月12日

One thing many people do not know is that hogging the uplink will ALSO slow the downlink to other devices. This is because all transfers rely on handshaking that requires uplink commands to control the downlink.

Since you have a separate router vs the modem anyway, I would suggest upgrading to one that gives you control on a per device basis. Or, as Carlk suggested, get a second, cheap, WiFi router that you can set as a different network and only give the car that password.

blue adept | 2019年3月12日

>>> "I sure would like to understand what the car's wifi link is doing, which could be the first step to a solution."

I'd like to suggest that you instead focus your attention on securing your devices' connection to your router by setting up a 'private network' by programming your router to interact only with your modem and your computer/laptop(s) by inputting their MAC addresses and blocking all others...

This would effectively limit ALL traffic through your router EXCEPT the devices you've programmed it to interact with, which should also help increase your overall speed as well!

Problem solved!

mcdonalk | 2019年3月12日

blue adept:

All wifi security features (including MAC filtering) have been in place for years, with this router, and previous ones. I do not believe that the issue is a result of a limit of our LAN, but instead with our WAN. I believe that johnse above understands the issue. The Tesla transmission congests our internet uplink, therefore severely slowing the protocols of the other devices on our LAN which access the internet. All traffic of all devices on our LAN must share the uplink data capacity.

Roger1: You suggestion is an interesting one; I need to consider this and evaluate the capabilities of our router for implementing what you have suggested.

blue adept | 2019年3月14日

IDK, it might be your WPS (which allows non-network devices, like a friend's phone or laptop, to make use of your WiFi connection) that's active and needs to be deactivated"?"

Granted, there are certain bandwidth limitations, but you usually manage to avoid overlapping by using 5Ghz as opposed to 2.4Ghz, but I've never encountered a problem with a closed network regardless of whatever devices that might be in range inasmuch as you're isolating your connection solely to your selected devices.

mike | 2019年4月17日

I am experiencing the same issue. Basically when I arrive home, my son immediately complains about the ping in Fortnite shoots up. Originally thought it was my phone, but ruled that out by the problem persisting even if I turned my phone off before arriving.

I have eero routers, and there is no per device QoS. I have limited internet options, and my upload speeds on my plan are limited to 2Mbps, which may be getting flooded by Tesla when it connects to WiFi, pushing up my ping. I am trying some experiments stuff in eero, but wondering if the OP was able to resolve this through something on the Tesla side of things.

mcdonalk | 2019年4月17日


This issue has not yet been resolved on this end. Fortunately, it does not occur daily, but did occur as recently as three days ago. Tech support indicated that there was no short term solution since in recent months, the ability for the user to override the car's wifi autoconnect is no longer implemented. They suggested that if it became a major problem to "forget" the wifi connection in the car, and to reinstall it when needed, which I prefer not to do at this time.

A few nights ago, on arriving home, the car again congested our uplink with an excess of 1Mbps of transmit data. (Our maximum uplink rate is 1Mbps.) I disabled wifi in the car several times, reset our DSL modem (which has worked in the past to erminate the "session"), but the car insisted on having its way and resumed transmission and congested our uplink. We had to just wait for about 60 minutes for the car to finish whatever it was doing with the wifi connection before we could use our internet.

I have not tried Roger1's excellent suggestion yet, because there are few times in the house where internet is not in use.

reed_lewis | 2019年4月18日

Some facts about Wifi.

802.11b is rated for about 12 Mbps, but in actuality, can only transfer about 5.5 Mbps because only one side can transmit at the same time. The raw signal rate is 12 Mbps, but that does not include packet headers, acknowledgements, etc.

If the OP is using DSL which only has 1 Mbps upload speeds, then I can pretty much guarantee that the issue is not with the WiFi signal, but is with the upload channel being overloaded. You could put 5 WiFi 5 Ghz access points, but with the slow 1 Mbps upload speed it will be pegged by any WiFi device uploading. A device will send data as fast as it can. It has no concept of throttling the uploading data speed.

Keep in mind that 98% of internet traffic has very little upload data, and most is download. When browsing a web page for example the request is typically 1 Kb, and the response is much larger. When watching video, again the request and acknowledgements are very small compared to the video coming in.

To say that someone else is browsing the web, and watching three video streams and it works fine means nothing in this case because the internet connection is much faster so there is much less of a bottleneck.

There are routers which allow bandwidth control both for WiFi and wired connections.

Here are examples on how to set bandwidth for specific routers.

You would want to set the Tesla to 100 Kbps to allow other devices to be able to use the 1 Mbps upload connection.

dj | 2020年4月8日

This is happening with my Model 3. For the past couple of days, the internet has been exceedingly slow. At home in OR I have fiber with 25Mb symmetric. I am in a second home in AZ which has asym 40Mb/2Mb DSL. Ping times to my home server are normally 60 ms. They were bouncing anywhere between 900ms and 1500ms. The DSL modem's lights were flickering as fast as they could on the wifi. Having turned every device on and off in the house I finally turned the wifi off in the car and it fixed itself. This is new - it hasn't done this before. We've been here (in DSL land) for 3 weeks, holed up due to covid. I understand how WiFi works (I'm one of the authors of the 802.11 standard) and I understand how DSL works. Uplink congestion is real in DSL, but that doesn't explain why the car started doing it in the past two days, especially since it seems to have been happening for others at since march 9th, 2019. The crappy centurylink DSL modem doesn't do mac based rate limiting, but I have a ubiquity router in a box and I'll try putting that between the DSL modem and the LAN and use a proper AP, turning off the wifi in the DSL modem. Beyond isolating and limiting the car's traffic, there really should be some scheme to have the car behave better with its network use.

blue adept | 2020年4月9日

I do not understand why so many are having the sort of problems mentioned in these replies other than their being due to a general unfamiliarity with the technology which, admittedly, is typical for most any every day homeowner.

If you read up on and follow the steps outlined in these articles anyone should be able to troubleshoot their WiFi's reception and security issues as well as assign a dedicated "channel" for their Tesla to interact with their home WiFi securely and without interfering with their other WiFi devices:

Learn and enjoy.

justobjective | 2020年4月9日

I don't think this issue is so simple. Understanding basics of WiFi reception and basic operation will not necessarily uncover a culprit, nor a solution. I observed a similar problem with the limited capacity/capability of DSL, mostly on the Upload side of the service. And please don't say "why do you have DSL" just because you think people are just stupid and always have other options. Instead, suggest if other (ie.Cable) services are available at affordable prices they might be a better choice, but please don't be so judgmental, and do understand many do not have other options.

blue adept | 2020年4月9日

The limitations of DSL have already been covered by others so I thought that the best advice that I could offer anyone at this point was to provide instructions on how best to troubleshoot and secure their network as, afterall, we're all well aware of the limitations of a DSL connection.

Good luck.

EVRider | 2020年4月10日

TeslaTap wrote an article to help with these issues:

reed_lewis | 2020年4月10日

@blue adept - Again. The issue is not with their local WiFi. The issue is when the data travels outside their house to the provider. The WiFi is working as it should and is saturating the outbound connection. This is the same as if all devices were wired. When one device is transmitting, it saturates the connection so that no other data can get out.

Many places do not have access to multiple providers, so saying that someone should switch is pointless.

The people who have issues need to find a WiFi access point that allows QoS capabilities for connections.

Securing the network will do absolutely no good because when the car arrives, it will saturate the outbound connection, blocking all access for other valid devices.

reed_lewis | 2020年4月10日

I own a Engenius Tech Wifi Access point EAP2200 which has traffic shaping capabilities, but the minimum it allows is 1 mBps which is what your DSL line is. I am sure that there are other access points that allow lower bandwidth settings.

justobjective | 2020年4月10日

@blue adept, I did not mean to denigrate your advice nor your attempt to help, and I apologize it may have come off as such.

As you said, DSL is in fact a problem, but surprisingly a predominant mindset seems to be DSL users choose that while having other viable options. For many or perhaps most who have it, it is the only game in town, and you just can't do much to help that outbound pipe.

I suspect Tesla was of similar common misconception regarding DSL use and "choices" and never entertained the idea of this being a problem, or perhaps they consciously decided it will be a relatively short lived and shrinking issue going forward as hopefully new technology brings other options, like Starlink maybe?

rlwrw | 2020年4月11日

Me thinks that once more SpaceX Starlink satellites are up and running, the cars might start to communicate through that system.
Another batch scheduled to launch on April 16, 2020.

blue adept | 2020年4月11日

@reed_lewis & @justobjective

Perhaps what it is that I am misunderstanding is why local network "saturation" would be an issue for a protected VPN connection inasmuch as, regardless of however powerful of a transmitter, it would still not be able to disrupt the connection because it is "secured"/ hasn't been allowed access to it...?

justobjective | 2020年4月11日

While there COULD be cases where network management would help mitigate a competition problem, it certainly appears the OP had a maximum bandwidth issue as stated back in 2019 -
"Unfortunately, DSL is the only internet access in our area.The data that the car is generating and sending via wifi appears to generally exceed our provisioned upload rate. The car's transmit data often exceeds 1.3Mbps."

Typical forum type "Noise" following the OP's question brought all sorts of what appears to be just that... noise unrelated to the actual OP question or problem, that being the unrelated Network Management talk and NOT the problem queried, which seemed to be DSL upload limitations. (except I suppose the potential to selectively lock out one device so as to streamline another's ability to complete a task, but that is not a solution to stated DSL bandwidth limit issue)

More recent topic rejuvenation by @dj re-addressed the OP's issue and that is still bandwidth limitation, not network management as I read it. Perhaps I am wrong regarding the questioned problem but it does not appear I am, and to that stated problem there is NO solution unless other more bandwidth rich internet access options are available to users.

BTW, my personal experience/problem when I had no choice but DSL was even more severe, as I had upload capped at .67MB! It's not network management nor security, nor any of the rest of the noise, it's strictly the size of the pipeline.

blue adept | 2020年4月12日


"'s strictly the size of the pipeline."

Yes, I got that which is why I suggested limiting their interweb traffic to only what device(s) they wanted to optimize via privatizing their network ('VPN'), particularly since the original OP (@mcdonalk) was troubled by "network congestion" from (according to them) their Tesla attempting to contact the mothership for updates or what have you, due to the sort of limited "bandwidth" commonly associated with a DSL connection which resulted in "queuing delay", "packet loss" and, ultimately, the blocking of new connections because the network's "throughput" was maxed out, hence my suggestions.

They could also try regulating "packet size" or slowing the "packet delivery rate", but that's a bit more involved and wouldn't stop their car from forcing a connection to their network.

justobjective | 2020年4月12日

Right, I agree none of those things are truly helpful because they don't address the issue, and their infinitesimal benefit would not improve upload speed nor tangibly solve or improve the DSL inherent problem.

Thanks for your clarification. As this topic has adopted the attributes of a dead horse, I'll now leave it to it's natural end.

blue adept | 2020年4月12日

Other than what's already been suggested, all anyone can do is switch to a cable or fiber optic service provider. In otherwords, get rid of their DSL connection...


They could disable their car's WiFi overnight while they're home to prevent it from interfering with their internet connection.

steve0001 | 2020年5月17日

I would just buy another wifi router and connect it to the one I use inside the house and have the car forget the house wifi and use the new wifi. I would then just turn it off until I wanted or needed the wifi. Not elegant but it would work.

reed_lewis | 2020年5月18日

Even with another router, the issue is the data going out of the person's house. You could have 10 access points in the house with one device on each access point and it will not help the issue. The issue is the size of the 'pipe' from the house to the internet. If one device sends lots of data out to the internet, it will saturate the outbound connection.

The only way to prevent this is to have an access point with some sort of QoS.