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WiFi Guide and Troubleshooter for Tesla Vehicles

by Moderator

Our Tesla WiFi guide shows you the why and how of WiFi along with troubleshooting tips and tricks. (Oct-2019 update).


Why Connect to WiFi?

Tesla recommends connecting to WiFi while at home if you have a network connection available. In some cases, updates through WiFi get priority over those Tesla sends over the cellular connection.  You can also use WiFi to tether the vehicle to the internet through your phone. This can save you money after the 4 years of free cellular connection expires, or if you have a poor cellular connection in your normal travel area and have a better connection via your phone.

  • 2.4 GHz WiFi (All Model 3 and S/X cars built after Feb-2018 have 5 GHz support as well).
  • Must use WPA or WPA2 security, or no security (The obsolete WEP standard no longer works with 8.0 software and later)
  • Allows a VPN with UDP without a short timeout (see technical below for explanation)
  • WiFi must have an internet connection

Making a Connection (S/X)

At the top of the main display, tap on the signal strength indicator. A list of available and previously set WiFi connections will appear.

WiFi drop-down

Tap the one you want and if never accessed before, enter the password for your WiFi router. It will remember the connection and automatically connect when in range.  If you travel to another location and it has WiFi, you can use the same process to add additional connections.

To add a new WiFi connection you can also go into settings and tap Add Network.

WiFi Settings

When you add a network via the dialog, there are a few quirks to be aware of. After you enter the password and press “Enter” on the keyboard nothing will happen. You have to tap “CONNECT”. It usually takes about 30 seconds to validate and connect. If it fails, it usually does within about 1 minute.  In either case, it doesn’t directly tell you if it succeeded or failed. If succeeded, the security and password and a button “FORGET NETWORK” will be grayed out and cannot be selected. If it failed, These options will be available and the “CONNECT” button also remains. You can then try another password.

We’ve also identified a Tesla bug that if your password has a single quote symbol, the password will be rejected. This should be an allowable password character and we’ve laboriously confirmed all other symbols on a US keyboard work fine in a password.

Most Tesla sales offices and service centers have free WiFi. It will connect automatically without needing any entry. If your vehicle is in for service and has an open service order, and the vehicle needs a new update, the update will be downloaded automatically while at service.


The vehicle’s WiFi antenna is in the right side mirror housing on both LHD and RHD vehicles. The best signal strength occurs with a minimum of walls and objects between the antenna and your WiFi router. The image below shows the mirror with the back removed. The smaller rectangular antenna on the left is the WiFi antenna. The larger antenna is for cellular.

WiFi Antenna

Model S/X mirror housing  (prior to March 2018)


The vehicle’s WiFi hardware is located behind the main display. When a connection is made, Tesla uses a VPN (Virtual Private Network) with UDP (User Datagram Protocol). What this means is the data passed through the connection will be secure and low-latency.

Testing in Your Vehicle

When the vehicle is connected via WiFi, at the top of the main display the five-bar cellular signal strength indicator changes to the WiFi icon with arcs for signal strength indication.

You can try any of these three easy tests:

  • Maps – Move the map to a new location or zoom out. The gray areas should fill in quickly.
  • Music – Select Streaming and select a category to play. Confirm the music plays.
  • Web – Select the browser and enter a site like Teslatap.com.  The home page should display.

Testing WiFi

We wrote a WiFi Meter app for Android phones and tablets. While we don’t think you need it (and it costs all of $0.99), it may be helpful to some.  It gives you a far more precise indication of signal levels at different locations, a speed test and a number of other WiFi details and helps to explain what it all means.

WiFi Meter


When the vehicle is using WiFi and you drive away outside its range, the vehicle automatically switches to the cellular connection. This switchover can take a few seconds, and if you’re listening to Streaming music, it may force the next song to start playing, even if the prior one was not completed.  It seems more transparent when switching from cellular to WiFi.


Weak signal

Many owners find they get a weak signal in the Tesla from a home router. Typically, the router is far away from the garage and the signal must penetrate many walls, greatly reducing the signal level. If the tests above are slow or erratic, you may want to improve the signal to your vehicle. Solutions to consider include:

  • Move the location of your WiFi Router
    If you can move the WiFi router closer to the vehicle, it should increase the signal strength. Often hard to do, so one of the other solutions may be required.
  • Get a new WiFi router
    If your router is more than a few years old and/or a bottom end cheap router, it likely performs poorly in general.  Most routers that are provided by your Internet provider are also usually bottom end devices that will contribute to the problem. Look for a premium WiFi router that connects to your internet connection. Note that there are different connection types – DSL, cable modem or Ethernet to your internet equipment. See below for our recommendations.
  • Get a WiFi Extender (also called repeater or booster)
    These devices are located halfway between the router and your Tesla. It picks up your WiFi signal and then re-transmits it – extending the range of your WiFi. The device only needs a power plug – no other wires are necessary, although most also provide one or more router ethernet ports. See below for our recommendations.
  • Move your vehicle to a better position
    You may get some improvement by just moving the vehicle.  Position the vehicle so that the right side mirror is closer to your router.

Doesn’t work or you never get updates

Here’s our list of possible fixes:

  • Reboot
    If WiFi had been working fine, but just stops working, try a reboot in the Tesla. Press in both scroll wheels for about 15 seconds, until the main display goes black. A reboot takes less than 60 seconds, but WiFi may take some additional time to get reestablished – less than 2 minutes.
  • Remove and Reconnect
    Go into the vehicle and select the antenna icon at the top of the display and go into WiFi. Remove your current connection, reconnect and enter the password.
  • Use 2.4 GHz WiFi (S/X built prior to March-2018)
    Most WiFi routers use 2.4 GHz or a mix of 2.4 and 5 GHz. If your router is set to only accept 5 GHz or perhaps a setting of “N only”, the vehicle will not connect. Change the router’s settings to allow 2.4 GHz. Newer high-end routers allow both 2.4 and 5 GHz communications at the same time, which may be beneficial for your situation.  Model S and X built after February 2018 include hardware and software to support 5 GHz, as does all Model 3s.
  • Change Router Band
    On your router, check if the router is set to a congested or non-supported band. The Tesla hardware support bands 1-11, the standard in the USA. Some countries allow additional bands that Tesla cannot use, so if you’re outside the USA, be sure to use bands 1-11.  Due to reduced interchannel interference, channels 1, 6 and 11 can often be a bit more reliable than other channels.
  • Use WPA/WPA2
    On your router, confirm your WiFi is set up for WPA or better WPA2.  If you are using the obsolete and insecure WEP standard, the vehicle will not connect.  It will connect if you have no security, but we don’t recommend anyone leave a WiFi router set to No security. It’s not an issue for your vehicle, as all communications are encrypted.
  • Unblock VPN connections
    While most routers have no problems with VPNs, some may have an option to block/allow VPNs or it has a firewall that blocks a VPN. Check your router to see if there is a VPN blocking option and set it so it does not block VPNs.  VPNs use port 1194. Some routers have a firewall that blocks everything other than ports 21, 80 and 443. Allow port 1194 as outgoing. Note this is not the PC’s firewall, which doesn’t matter. This is a setting within the router itself and does not affect the security of your network.
  • Change UDP timeouts
    Some routers have a short UDP timeout that can screw up Tesla updates and downloads. If you can find UDP timeouts (not all routers have this option), for Unreplied and Assured, set the values to 60 seconds.
  • Switch to a Guest Network
    Most routers today offer a guest network option with a separate SSID WiFi Name.  Some complex home systems that have a DLNA server in the network (even if wired), seem to cause connection problems with the Tesla and/or make the Tesla keep connecting and disconnecting. A guest network connection on a separate IP, without any DLNA servers, often makes it all work.

Auto connects at one place, but not another place

For example, it works at home, but will not auto-connect at your summer cabin.  Check if both locations use the same WiFi SSID name. Only the details from one SSID name can be saved. If this is the case, change one of the WiFi SSID names so that they are not the same.

Recommended WiFi Routers

There are hundreds of WiFi routers, but like most products, there is considerable variance in the quality of WiFi supported, features and price. We’ve compiled a list of highly-rated WiFi routers over a range of prices that could enhance your Wifi to your Tesla and other devices in your home.  All support dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, have Gigabit Ethernet ports, and support the standards – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.  Cost is the street price as of Jul-2019 and may change.​

Linksys TRENDnet TP-Link ASUS NetGear
Model EA6350 TEW-827DRU Touch P5 RT-AC88U X10–AD7200
Photo Netgear X10 AD7200
Cost $79 $100 $74 $222 $379
Released May-2014 Jan-2015 Apr-2016 Oct-2015 Sep-2016
Ports 4 4 4 8 6 + 1-10GB
USBs 1 2 2 2 2 – 3.0
MU-MIMO No Yes No Yes Yes
Other Touch-screen Tri-band;
Plex Server

MU-MIMO – allows multiple simultaneous communications on different channels. Especially desirable with 4K video and other devices on the WiFi network.

Recommended Extenders

Use an extender to provide more quality WiFi coverage in your house or garage. There are quite a few low-cost extenders in the $30-50 range, but most lack power and/or feature that you may want for other devices in your house. All those below support dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, have one or more Ethernet ports, and support the standards – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.  Cost is the street price as of Jul-2019 and may change.

TP-Link Linksys Amped NETGEAR TP-Link
Model RE350 RE6500 TAP-EX2 EX7000 RE590T
Cost $46 $70 $46 $110 $55
Released Aug-2016 Jun-2014 Apr-2015 Jan-2015 Feb-2016
Ports 1 4 3 5 4
Other Strength LEDs Audio Jack Touch screen,
Touch Screen


tomsax 4-Sep-2021 - 5:11 pm

We have a Model X built in December 2017. It had been connecting to our WiFi network just fine, the guest network on an Orbi mesh, but stopped a few months ago. I’ve been working with Tesla to figure out what the problem is. It won’t connect to the Orbi, an Apple Airport or even directly to the ZyXEL C2100Z modem/router/AP supplied by our ISP, CenturyLink. I’ve tried disabling all firewall settings and disconnecting everything else from the ZyXEL so it’s just the Model X. It connects to the AP, gets an IP address, spins for maybe a minute, then silently fails. It will successfully connect to my iPhone X personal hotspot and also to a friend’s network using the same Orbi hardware. Tesla gave me list of requirements for the WiFi, all of which I meet, and a vague statement about what it does to test whether it has a connection to the internet (DNS some popular services, ping, port 80 connections). If I hook a laptop up to the ZyXEL exactly as I’ve done the with the X, it can DNS, ping and do port 80 connections just fine. The vehicle logs apparently report that the internet connection test fails, but doesn’t specify what the issue is.

Tesla suggested I should call my ISP, but I can’t say anything other than the X doesn’t like our network connection and Tesla can’t or won’t tell me what the issue is.

I can’t find any sign the ZyXEL is blocking port 1194, VPN or UDP. Is there a way to test whatever it is that the X needs to make the VPN connection?

Moderator 5-Sep-2021 - 3:03 pm

I’ve not used the ZyXEL modem/router, but a couple of things to try. First, confirm you are not using 192.168.20.xx as your local network. Most systems default to 192.168.0.xx or 192.168.1.xx. Tesla uses the “20” address and will conflict if you are using that same IP address block for your local address. If that’s not an issue, I did see this one post about making VPN work on ZyXEL which might be related: https://community.zyxel.com/en/discussion/3356/site2site-vpn-tunnel-inbound-traffic-blocked

tomsax 16-Sep-2021 - 2:30 pm

I believe I figured out what the problem is. The Model X with the December, 2017 Infotainment hardware gets into a mode where it tries to renew a DHCP IP address lease by sending out a confusing pair of messages to the DHCP server. It sends a DHCP Discover request then immediately a DNCP Request. That seems to confuse the ZyXEL’s DHCP server, causing it not to reply. Instead of timing out and trying a fresh DHCP Discover request, the Model X gives up and fails to continue the connection attempt. I have pcap logs of the network traffic showing what happens in a normal fresh connection, a normal lease renewal and this goofy case if anyone wants to see them.

Norman 28-Jan-2020 - 11:15 am

Not sure if anyone can help with what this issue is. The M3 tries to find networks but sees nothing even though my iPhone and laptop detects 10 or more from within the car. It can’t see the phone as a hotspot and can’t see the apple time capsule network when less that 2 feet from the car. Thanks

dropframe 20-Jun-2019 - 8:32 am

I have a EnGenius ECB9500 WiFi router. It has WPA(TKIP), WPA2(AES) or WPA2 Mixed as choices. I use AES. Is that compatible? When I try to log into my network it says to check my server DHCP settings.

Moderator 20-Jun-2019 - 10:39 am

WPA2(AES) is your best choice. Tesla is compatible with WPA and WPA2. Your router should also have DHCP enabled (it’s usually the default).

Dougk71 28-May-2019 - 5:01 am

UDP packets aren’t guaranteed to be delivered unlike TCP packets. UDP has less overhead and is often reliable enough in many applications.
The Tesla mobile app is restricted to newer versions of Android OS so older phones can’t install it.
Third party Tesla Android apps are less restrictive but lack full functionality.

Sean 25-Oct-2018 - 1:21 pm

I read in another forum that on some routers, the default subnet can overlap with the Tesla’s internal network range.
I changed the LAN on my (Australia) NBN router from 192.168.20.x -> 192.168.21.x and the WiFi connected.

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/another-wifi-bad-actor-solved-wink-home-control.103293/#post-2439936 – ShockOnT (Post Dec 2, 2017). Thanks ShockOnT, this has been driving me crazy!

Other details:
NBN router – H268A
Channel = 6
Mode = 802.11b/g (not b/g/n)
Beacon Interval = 100ms
Transmitting Power = 100%

Moderator 25-Oct-2018 - 2:41 pm

Good info – hope it helps others!

MclovinsTesla 24-Mar-2018 - 8:17 am

March 1 build, my model S has 5ghz WiFi enabled.

Moderator 24-Mar-2018 - 9:16 am

Great to hear! 5 GHz is a new feature with the MCU2 unit shipping in new cars built after February 2018.

NewTMan 2-Dec-2017 - 5:01 am

Should add having Wink anywhere on the network (Original Wink as well as Wink 2 connected by Wifi or ethernet) causes the Tesla Wifi to reinitialize. Even with my Teslas isolated on a Guest network and Wink on my primary it still causes the Tesla Wifi to re-initialize. Only completely disconnecting Wink fixes the issue.

Moderator 2-Dec-2017 - 9:37 am

Thanks for sharing. My only suggestion is to check if there is updated software for the Wink. Sounds like they have problem that trips up the Tesla connection. There also could be a bug in Tesla’s WiFi, so perhaps a future Tesla update will improve it for you.

NewTMan 15-Nov-2017 - 5:38 pm

After many tries I can still not get my 2017 Model X or 2017 Model S to remain connected to Wifi at my home. I have an Orbi router system and have the Teslas on their own Guest network with no other devices. They both connect for a period of time (up to 30 minutes) and then drop or renew the connection. I have tried everything at this point, not sure what the issue is.

Moderator 16-Nov-2017 - 8:44 am

It seems the Orbi is known for having problems with dropping WiFi connections. You might check to be sure you have the lastest software in your Orbi. This thread may also be helpful: https://community.netgear.com/t5/Orbi/Orbi-dropping-internet-connection/td-p/1316164

NewTMan 7-Jun-2018 - 3:28 am

It turns out the issue was a compounding one. Wink conflicts with the Tesla WiFi in the same way DLNA servers do. This has been confirmed by many users.

In addition the Orbi WiFi system does not completely segregate the Guest WiFi network so even if the Teslas are on the Orbi Guest Wifi, Wink still causes conflicts.

The solution ended up being setting up a completely separate WiFi network with a separate router just for my Teslas.

Moderator 9-Jun-2018 - 2:05 pm

Thanks – it is sure to be helpful to others!

Focusp 23-Aug-2017 - 2:37 am

You don’t mention using Summon over WiFi in your article. I cannot get it to work reliably, it keeps saying lost connection if it starts at all, even though streaming music and maps work well and I get several bars on the WiFi icon in my Tesla. I use a TP-Link Powerline Wi-Fi extender in my garage with the Powerline sender plugged into my router, because I found the range extender didn’t work well with my Tesla. With WiFi off the Summon is slightly better, but the mobile signal is very weak in the garage, so it is still not reliable.

Any suggestions on getting Summon to work reliably over WiFi?

Moderator 23-Aug-2017 - 8:52 am

My guess is there are too many delays in the data between your phone/WiFi/router/ISP and Tesla, and it sees the delays as a lost connection. Not sure what can be done to fix this.

AbouHaRga 16-Jul-2017 - 12:29 am

I can’t see the AP network i using Engenius ENS620EXT outdoor
i try to use B/G/N and B/G but still not work
but i can connect from my iPhone and my laptop without any problem

Moderator 16-Jul-2017 - 10:38 am

See the troubleshooting notes above. WiFi might be in N only, or 5 MHz only (neither will work with the Tesla). If you’re near a sales or service center, you can confirm WiFi works as it auto-connects at those locations.

Whitmarsh 1-Mar-2017 - 12:14 am

You never mention differences between LHD and RHD cars: for example, you say here that the antennae are in the passenger-side mirror and show the LH mirror – but, for RHD cars, are they still in the LH mirror or are they moved to the RH? It would help if you used the terms ‘left-hand’ and ‘right-hand’ rather than ‘driver’ and ‘passenger’.

Moderator 1-Mar-2017 - 8:41 am

A fair issue. We don’t have access to RHD cars, so we don’t know if Tesla elected to swap item positions or keep them the same as LHD cars so we only report what we know. Generally you can assume all our talks are based on LHD cars. We estimate 98+% of all Teslas are LHD.

Whitmarsh 6-Mar-2017 - 6:02 am

OK – though I don’t think the 98+% will hold good for much longer: UK, Ireland, Hongkong, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa ……

Anyway, I can confirm that the antennae are in the RH mirror (passenger for LHD cars, driver for RHD), so it would be clearer to say that so as to cover the world.

Something else that it would be useful to add: Tesla’s wifi supports only bands 1 – 11; I understand that these are the bands used in the USA but, in Europe (at least), we also use other bands and, if someone’s router is set to use one of those, the wifi won’t work.

Moderator 6-Mar-2017 - 8:34 am

Thanks for the notes – I’ll update the text with this info!

Whitmarsh 13-Mar-2017 - 11:08 am

Thanks for adding those notes but you now say: The vehicle’s WiFi antenna is in the passenger side mirror housing on both LHD and RHD vehicles..

That is not so; as I said before, on RHD cars, it’s in the driver’s side (RH) mirror.

Moderator 13-Mar-2017 - 12:59 pm

Yep, I screwed that up! Now fixed. Thanks for the additional note.

David 23-Feb-2017 - 4:54 am

Can’t connect to WiFi
Got a new router, bought an extender, the router is in the garage, still I get a very low signal ( hardly one bar)
Anyone with suggestions?

Moderator 23-Feb-2017 - 8:39 am

One bar may be fine. The signal indicator is not all that sensitive, but the real test is if it works well enough for streaming. If music streams fine (go through at least one song), your signal is fine and I wouldn’t worry about it. At some locations I get zero bars, yet the signal is still fast enough to handle maps, streaming, etc. as if it were on LTE.

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