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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Community

The Middle East region didn't get 3G modems. I'm thinking retrofitting one should be an easy setup. Does anyone know how exactly the OEM modem connect to the car and where it gets its power? I bet it's an Ethernet modem and socket with 2 wires. Any pictures would be highly appreciated.

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I would expect this is not possible. Even if you were able to jury-rig plugging in a 4g piece of hardware, the software components would require hacking level expertise. The modem is one of the most tightly integrated components of the telematics and infotainment system. It is configurable via the Sensus panel. It has a firewall to prevent unauthorized hacking. It is linked to Volvo on call functionality and remote start. It may or may not contain the HW and software for the wifi hotspot. And on and on.

This is NOT like plugging in an new modem at home or a new stereo in cars of earlier days.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My understanding is that the modem only provides access to the Internet. Similar to how you hotspot from your phone or tether via USB. All the firewalling and telemetry and so on is done on the Sensus level. Also, I understand from other threads that this modem is for entertainment use only. VOC (also not provided in the Middle East) is done via another internet connection that is subscribed to via Volvo in partnership with local carriers and uses a different SIM.


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In the world of computer software, a different cellular modem needs different driver software to work in the OS. Most likely the OS behind Sensus does not have driver software for a new 4G modem. So not possible...

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1) Find a parts diagram from say a USDM or EDM XC90
2) Locate modem and location of the modem
3) Order and install modem
4) If plug and play, then great. If not, it probabaly needs a service center with access to Volvo software to code said module on main ecm

E-SYS is BMW software to code modules and software. Readily available on the coding bmw forums, dont know what the volvo software would be
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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I don't think Ethernet requires drivers. Is Sensus is connected to existing modem via Ethernet, then I would assume it would assume it would connect to any modem with Ethernet. If it uses another protocol, then it's a different story
http://www.microchip.com/pagehandler/en-us/press-release/volvo-cars-selects-microchips.html

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The article reinforces my point. It clearly states the physical layer of the network stack is optical. A standard Ethernet jack would never meet the Saftey and environmental requirements of an automotive application.

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I don't think Ethernet requires drivers. Is Sensus is connected to existing modem via Ethernet, then I would assume it would assume it would connect to any modem with Ethernet. If it uses another protocol, then it's a different story
http://www.microchip.com/pagehandler/en-us/press-release/volvo-cars-selects-microchips.html

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A common way to describe this is called the "OSI stack". To do what you are suggesting requires a very specific hardware and software architecture of at least the lowest 4 levels of the stack, each being engineered with protocols, drivers, and custom low level software.



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A common way to describe this is called the "OSI stack". To do what you are suggesting requires a very specific hardware and software architecture of at least the lowest 4 levels of the stack, each being engineered with protocols, drivers, and custom low level software.



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You seem very well informed on the issues, xo lt me ask you a somewhat related question/

Is there any way to "manipulate" things so that the cell phone screen can be displayed on the Sensus screen. That would meet all my needs, and many others' needs I suspect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So how is the OEM modem connected to Sensus?


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You seem very well informed on the issues, xo lt me ask you a somewhat related question/

Is there any way to "manipulate" things so that the cell phone screen can be displayed on the Sensus screen. That would meet all my needs, and many others' needs I suspect.
Thanks. In a prior life I led the wireless telecom practice for a major consultancy, including the innovation labs....

Apple provides this type of capability with AirPlay, where you can send your screen to a tv via Apple TV.

For a car, the short answer is no. The functionality designed for this purpose is CarPlay. Carplay lets you take the UI of the phone, or a least an approximation of it, to the car. CarPlay, as a Gen 1 product is far from perfect, but they have addressed the myriad of issues relating to User interface standards, security, app distribution, etc. theoretically apps like radar, Mail etc should be able to be developed using the CarPlay developers kit. At this point, these are very carefully vetted due to liability due to distractions in the car, legal concerns, and automakers not wanting to give too much to apple, Google.

Apples long term answer is the Apple car.....

Automakers are still trying to differentiate their infotainment and telematics solution as value added differentiators.

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So how is the OEM modem connected to Sensus?

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Think of Sensus as a stand alone computer. In this sense, iat a software level I t just needs an IP address to access the WAN for internet connectivity. Volvo provides a modem. And contracts with a telco provider (in the us att) for a certain quality of service (at this time 3G).

The problem is that because this modem and the software integration is so tightly integrated with their solution, you would be trying to decouple a witches brew of components. One of the strategies Comanies use to keep their products differentiated is to tightly bundle as much as possible in their chips. Think trying to remove the "modem" from your phone.

I may be mistaken, but I would be very surprised it this was a modular solution that was at all plug n play with different modems.

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Think of Sensus as a stand alone computer. In this sense, iat a software level I t just needs an IP address to access the WAN for internet connectivity. Volvo provides a modem. And contracts with a telco provider (in the us att) for a certain quality of service (at this time 3G).

The problem is that because this modem and the software integration is so tightly integrated with their solution, you would be trying to decouple a witches brew of components. One of the strategies Comanies use to keep their products differentiated is to tightly bundle as much as possible in their chips. Think trying to remove the "modem" from your phone.

I may be mistaken, but I would be very surprised it this was a modular solution that was at all plug n play with different modems.

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Look at the 3G/4G modem hardware in PC and Mac, they use different driver software.
The 3G/4G modem in Android Phone and iPhone, again use different driver software.
Sensus is running on an OS that could be something like QNX, or Linux, or WinCE, or even iOS, who knows. But a 3G/4G modem needs the matched driver software to work with this OS.

Unfortunately, it is not a unified modular world like you can swap a video card in your desktop PC (btw, they come with driver software too), but this is the reality. Ethernet looks simple because it has become standard and everyone just follow it, and virtually don't make any money from it. 3G/4G modem is not like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I think we are talking about different modems.
As I understand there is VOC modem which is integrated into Sensus and is most likely part of the chipset and the subscription is handled by Volvo. There were several threads about the SIM being installed the other way around and only the dealer could fix it. Then there is also a physical 3G modem in the back of the car under the carpet with a SIM slot where you could install your own SIM from your provider of choice. That modem is connected to Sensus by hardwire for sure at least due to its placement in the car. That's the modem I'm interested in retrofitting. My first instinct was it would be ethernet but you are saying that is not durable enough and very unlikely. So now I'm curious, what protocol is used to connect that modem to the rest of the system?


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I think we are talking about different modems.
As I understand there is VOC modem which is integrated into Sensus and is most likely part of the chipset and the subscription is handled by Volvo. There were several threads about the SIM being installed the other way around and only the dealer could fix it. Then 3here is also a physical 3G modem in the back of the car under the carpet with the SIM slot where guy could install your own SIM from your provider of choice. That modem is connected to Sensus by hardwire for sure at least due to its placement in the car. That's the modem I'm interested in retrofitting. My first instinct was it would be ethernet but you are saying that is not durable enough and very unlikely. So now I'm curious, what protocol is used to connect that modem to the rest of the system?

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Interesting. I'll take a look and see. I am also visiting my dealer Tuesday aNd can ask him if he knows of any retrofits, but to date they have acted like the cars are mysterious black boxes.....

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I think we are talking about different modems.
As I understand there is VOC modem which is integrated into Sensus and is most likely part of the chipset and the subscription is handled by Volvo. There were several threads about the SIM being installed the other way around and only the dealer could fix it. Then there is also a physical 3G modem in the back of the car under the carpet with a SIM slot where you could install your own SIM from your provider of choice. That modem is connected to Sensus by hardwire for sure at least due to its placement in the car. That's the modem I'm interested in retrofitting. My first instinct was it would be ethernet but you are saying that is not durable enough and very unlikely. So now I'm curious, what protocol is used to connect that modem to the rest of the system?

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That is a good question.

But would it work just as well for you if you could uses the Sensus screen to display your phone's screen?
 

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That is a good question.

But would it work just as well for you if you could uses the Sensus screen to display your phone's screen?
Then what does the home button do? How to get to temperature button in one click? These are question immediately pop up if the entire screen displays your phone.

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Again, unless Volvo decided to steer away from modularity, the XC90 system runs some version of flex ray/Canbus/ethernet. Almost all new vehicles (at least luxury) run this system organization.
Sensus is just a user interface method for the non-critical functions of the car. The modem OP is a module in the network. Again the idea here is back in the old days, modules were plug and play. I could purchase and attach the BT module in a car not factory equipped with it. Nowdays, everything needs to be coded (99% of the time) to the main ECM. Build information (which is similar to a factory build sheet), is coded onto the car, and when a non-coded module enters the communication network, it will lock it out for security purposes. Hence why i explained earlier, if you intend to do the retrofit, you most certainly need access to a dealer willing to flash the main ECM to enable the module to function properly. They can code the build sheet.

This is called coding. If you have access to the Volvo software, you can code anything from adding software-based features that are offered by Volvo but not selected at the time of purchase. You can customize entry and exit commands. Even access hidden features that did not make the final production cut, due to develop issues or other issues.

The main barrier to entry is the volvo specific vehicle software.
 

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Again, unless Volvo decided to steer away from modularity, the XC90 system runs some version of flex ray/Canbus/ethernet. Almost all new vehicles (at least luxury) run this system organization.
Sensus is just a user interface method for the non-critical functions of the car. The modem OP is a module in the network. Again the idea here is back in the old days, modules were plug and play. I could purchase and attach the BT module in a car not factory equipped with it. Nowdays, everything needs to be coded (99% of the time) to the main ECM. Build information (which is similar to a factory build sheet), is coded onto the car, and when a non-coded module enters the communication network, it will lock it out for security purposes. Hence why i explained earlier, if you intend to do the retrofit, you most certainly need access to a dealer willing to flash the main ECM to enable the module to function properly. They can code the build sheet.

This is called coding. If you have access to the Volvo software, you can code anything from adding software-based features that are offered by Volvo but not selected at the time of purchase. You can customize entry and exit commands. Even access hidden features that did not make the final production cut, due to develop issues or other issues.

The main barrier to entry is the volvo specific vehicle software.
You're essentially describing a 'jailbroken' automobile!

That's actually quite scary considering how much damage a programmer could do if they didn't understand the unintended consequences of their code, esp. if it affected the engine or drivetrain in some way.
 
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