GM Volt Forum banner

CarPlay, OnStar 4G LTE, WiFi and Signal Strength

3394 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Wrover
In my Gen1 volt I had a dashboard mount for my iPhone, and I plugged it into power only, not into the USB connector (I put my music on a USB Flash drive and left that in the car, so my music was always there). With my iPhone mounted up on the dash, signal strength was good.

I'm now driving a Gen2 volt and using Apple CarPlay (which I like) but now the phone is sitting down low in the console and I think it gets worse signal strength.

The Gen2 comes with 4G/LTE WiFi and boasts better signal strength - this makes sense as the antenna is on the roof and cars can use higher transmit power than handhelds.

So my question is: if I'm going to use CarPlay and put my iPhone in the console, would it be smart to set my iPhone to use the Volt's WiFi? In other words, rather than going iPhone LTE->USB->Volt, the data pathway would be Volt LTE->WiF->iPhone->USB->Volt.

The OnStar data is normally pretty expensive, but since the Volt and my iPhone both use ATT, apparently I can add the Volt to my ATT MobileShare plan for $10/month.

An alternative would be to keep using CarPlay, but to mount the volt up higher on the dashboard for better signal strength.

Fellow Apple and Gen2 Volt cult members - what's the best answer?
1 - 3 of 7 Posts
You could mount the phone higher up, but in general the newer the phone, the smaller the antenna, and the less power it can use. That's how they keep adding junk to the phone without sucking the battery down. If streaming is important to you, and you can afford the $10/month, using the car's cell phone antenna will definitely be better for data. But when you make calls with the phone it's still going to use it's own cell signal, not that of the car.
Maybe some phones will use the phone's cellular connection for voice phone calls. If you have enabled wifi calling on your phone, if the vehicle has a wifi hotspot and you have purchased a data plan such as the OnStar $20/month unlimited plan, then I believe the phone will use the vehicle's wifi and LTE service before it will use the phone's cellular connection.
Agreed. If you have a phone which bridges to wifi (like a Google Fi phone), or if you use a VOIP app like WhatsApp, then your phone calls will benefit as well.
Further thought - does CarPlay actually work the way I say? If the Volt has its own data service, can it provide that over USB to the iPhone? Or must it go over WiFi?
Over USB? Not exactly. The cell signal will come into the car via the roof antenna. The car's router will provide that signal via wifi to your phone. The phone will provide that signal via Bluetooth to your radio (audio only), or via Carplay and the USB cable to the dashboard screen (audio and video).
1 - 3 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.