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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I enabled the Wifi hotspot function of the Xc90, connected my phone to this network, and ran a speedtest. Interestingly, the speeds were remarkably slow for an LTE network connection. Over several tests, this speed was consistently about 2mbs downstream and 1.25 to 1.5mbs upstream.

As a comparison, my iPhone using VZW's LTE network clocked over 70mbs download and 20mbs upload.

It appears Volvo's MVNO is providing a low speed quality of service, to support as many cars as they can on the bandwidth they have acquired. This bandwidth is at the low end of what is required for acceptable music streaming.

I am going to begin a test to see if using this hotspot provides acceptable bandwidth for music streaming. It may be worth using this network as the norm in the car, as it is free (for now), and saves a bit on cell plan metered data usage.

Make no mistake, at these speeds, no one will be streaming Netflix through this modem!

See screen shots below of the Volvo Wifi hotspot vs IPhone data speeds.



It would be interesting to see if other regions using other carriers offer greater speeds. In many areas of the US, we are a third world country in terms of bandwidth!

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I enabled the Wifi hotspot function of the Xc90, connected my phone to this network, and ran a speedtest. Interestingly, the speeds were remarkably slow for an LTE network connection.
That's because the Volvo is using 3G, not LTE.

Edit: Beaten to the punch again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The reason it's so slow is because its a 3G connection. Not LTE.
Really!? Interesting. I am surprised a 2016 product is using legacy wireless technology! Do you know what carrier and version of 3G in the US?


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Really!? Interesting. I am surprised a 2016 product is using legacy wireless technology! Do you know what carrier and version of 3G in the US?


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AT&T.

And, yes as others have noted, they only enabled 3G, not LTE. Many have asked Volvo reps directly whether this is a software/SIM card limitation or if the chipset they used is limited to 3G (in other words is there any hope for upgrading this later) and Volvo has intentionally declined to answer.
 

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yup 3G. I don't know why more people aren't complaining about this, to me its one of the biggest disappointments with this car. To my mind its a really bizarre move to put out a car that is supposed to have cutting edge tech, and limit it to 3G.

Also, people try to say that Volvo determined that 3G is more than sufficient for the expected use of the car's connection- limited apps, streaming music etc. But then of course since a wifi hotspot for passengers is one of the major selling points, thats total BS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
AT&T.

And, yes as others have noted, they only enabled 3G, not LTE. Many have asked Volvo reps directly whether this is a software/SIM card limitation or if the chipset they used is limited to 3G (in other words is there any hope for upgrading this later) and Volvo has intentionally declined to answer.
Qualcomm and other chip manufacturers have moved to multi mode chipsets that support GSM+ and LTE standards and 4 or more radio frequencies.

This is more a cost vs technology move by Volvo as the GSM market is being cannibalized now. I hope they have not been shortsighted in choosing a path that is not easily upgradable....


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I have ATT with LTE on my iPhone 6. Can someone please help me understand why they would use the cars slower 3G network on a separate plan (as opposed to using the hotspot created by the iPhone on your existing plan?). Other than holding your phone hostage via tether and adding more data usage to your current plan, what are the drawbacks of this?
 

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Yep, a complete joke this is 3G. They may as well have not included it. I will never use it. 3G = Hot Garbage

Most of our devices have built in LTE support and we can use iPhones as hotspots to get LTE speeds if needed, so whatever to this puzzling decision.
 

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I have ATT with LTE on my iPhone 6. Can someone please help me understand why they would use the cars slower 3G network on a separate plan (as opposed to using the hotspot created by the iPhone on your existing plan?). Other than holding your phone hostage via tether and adding more data usage to your current plan, what are the drawbacks of this?
I struggle with understanding this too.

And frankly you're going to pay for the data usage one way or the other anyway. Either it comes from your phone's data allotment or your car's but you're still paying for the usage either way.

I just don't see what the value is for in-car WiFi hotspots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have ATT with LTE on my iPhone 6. Can someone please help me understand why they would use the cars slower 3G network on a separate plan (as opposed to using the hotspot created by the iPhone on your existing plan?). Other than holding your phone hostage via tether and adding more data usage to your current plan, what are the drawbacks of this?
There is no benefit, other than the data is free (for now). If the cars internal modem supports your needs for data streaming, for instance for music, and the data is free, it would be worth it to use the Volvo service. Volvo would be hard pressed to offer this as a paid service. And convince buyers of the value proposition of another paid data plan that only supports 3G. Only the most uninformed would purchase this.


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everyone knows 3G is where its at. LTE is a gimmick and Volvo understands this.
 

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AT&T.

And, yes as others have noted, they only enabled 3G, not LTE. Many have asked Volvo reps directly whether this is a software/SIM card limitation or if the chipset they used is limited to 3G (in other words is there any hope for upgrading this later) and Volvo has intentionally declined to answer.
I can't imagine they even still make chipsets that are only 3G. It's definitely a rather bizarre choice by Volvo. My only guess is that 3G coverage is still more ubiquitous than LTE, so they chose to go with reliability over speed.
 

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Yep. And if you are a very early adopter like some of us, our data plan will stop being free before there's anything to use it on. I have exactly 3 apps -- Here, Weather and Volvo on Call. By the time I get CarPlay or any music streaming app on the car my 6 months will be done. I'll just have to use my phone data plan, which at least is LTE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Think about this. If Volvo opened up unlimited broadband bandwidth via wifi it could turn out to be a very expensive proposition for them People could Abuse this and make it a primary bandwidth source. This is the management thinking behind limits such as this....


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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Yep. And if you are a very early adopter like some of us, our data plan will stop being free before there's anything to use it on. I have exactly 3 apps -- Here, Weather and Volvo on Call. By the time I get CarPlay or any music streaming app on the car my 6 months will be done. I'll just have to use my phone data plan, which at least is LTE.
Actually, you have all the apps on your phone, if you log on to the wifi network!


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Despite my phone having LTE, I've been leaving the car modem on so that the car can be connected without any tethering. Tethering is simple and I did set it up but I really like just leaving my phone separate. For one, there is a huge battery drain on my phone while used as a hotspot.

If Carplay was really going to take over completely, this would be a non-issue since my phone would be plugged in and providing the connection anyway. Since Carplay is looking to be borderline redundant IMO, I'm still interested in keeping sensus connected. I would totally pay for an LTE plan just for the car. Its a dumb expense maybe but whatever, I would do it. But no way am I paying for a 3G plan just for sensus. Just my two cents.

I guess really what I need to find out is how exactly Carplay will manifest, and if the car will ever allow LTE data.
 

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Think about this. If Volvo opened up unlimited broadband bandwidth via wifi it could turn out to be a very expensive proposition for them People could Abuse this and make it a primary bandwidth source. This is the management thinking behind limits such as this....


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well pretty much every other brand offering wifi in their cars has LTE so I don't know about that. Limit the monthly data use or whatever but at least give us LTE.

Haven't looked into the specifics of other plans but I believe they are standard data plans with a fixed amount of data to use each month so you can't really exploit them... plus after 6 months you pay for it, not volvo.
 

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There is no benefit, other than the data is free (for now). If the cars internal modem supports your needs for data streaming, for instance for music, and the data is free, it would be worth it to use the Volvo service. Volvo would be hard pressed to offer this as a paid service. And convince buyers of the value proposition of another paid data plan that only supports 3G. Only the most uninformed would purchase this.
I agree 100% with this. Once my free trial is over, I can't imagine paying an extra monthly fee to Volvo if I can use my phone's internet instead. It would make more sense to use that money to upgrade my data plan with Verizon and take advantage of the faster LTE speeds.
 
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