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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dealer showed me how to turn on the WiFi so the system can connect to my WiFi when it's in my garage and do updates to Starlink or Eyesight when needed.

I did set it up to log into my home wifi when it's within range. The first time I got in the car after configuring the WiFi there was a message on the screen when I started the car that said "Update was Unsuccessful" but that's all the info that was there.

The next time I started the car (at home) it said "Update Complete." [The message appears very briefly then disappears]. The third time, a day or two later, it again displayed "Update was Unsuccessful". So I really don't know what's going on.

Surely they would not be updating every day? When I go to the screen that reads "Check for Updates" it only tells me to get a certain app to update the onboard Magellan GPS (which I do not have in this Ascent). I did check the app however and it is a paid subscription app for some kind of radio broadcasts.

Guess I can call the dealer rep if nobody knows about this. They're very helpful at the dealership but I thought I'd check here first.
 

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I could be wrong, but I thought that only units with NAV can get OTA updates for the head unit and I have done that successfully in the past in my Touring. Not sure if they are doing any vehicle firmware OTA yet, either.
 
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I turned off ota updates and use USB. The wifi updates only work with the car running. In range means in my garage. I'm not running the car for 20 minutes or more inside the garage.
 

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I don't have the OEM Navigation and it will do OTA updates for firmware. I do believe we get a different version than what's pushed to the Nav units. I've done the update once or twice now this way without the engine running. Two clicks of the start button and HVAC off is what I did.
 

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Thanks, rock'...perhaps that was something early on I remembered that has changed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I could be wrong, but I thought that only units with NAV can get OTA updates for the head unit and I have done that successfully in the past in my Touring. Not sure if they are doing any vehicle firmware OTA yet, either.
I don't know what gets updated either. I do NOT have NAV in my Ascent, but we went to a one-on-one class at the dealership 2 weeks after driving the car. It was held by a tech representative and she is the one who told me how to go home and activate the WiFi updates so that any time my car is in the range of my WiFi it will do any updates to the "system" that are needed automatically. This is not the hot spot WiFi option, that is separate from WiFi update.

I specifically told her that NAV is not on this model, and asked her how much data it uses on my phone when I use navigation. She said it uses very little phone data (though she didn't have the sound of authority in her answer....lol). She and she said it didn't matter if the car included NAV or not. She didn't clarify and I didn't ask anything more as I "figured" it must update the Eyesight or Starlink system or possibly even the car's computer - what else would it be updating?

It's also possible that she was told to instruct everyone to turn on that option and she didn't really know what it updates. This is a 2021 Ascent Premium.
I turned off ota updates and use USB. The wifi updates only work with the car running. In range means in my garage. I'm not running the car for 20 minutes or more inside the garage.
My wifi is fine in the driveway as well, however this is the first I heard that the motor has to be running. It makes sense, I'm just used to my other devices updating to wifi automatically (phone, watch, tablet, even TV) and didn't even think of that. That could be the answer to the ' failed'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't have the OEM Navigation and it will do OTA updates for firmware. I do believe we get a different version than what's pushed to the Nav units. I've done the update once or twice now this way without the engine running. Two clicks of the start button and HVAC off is what I did.
I am pretty sure that is what the rep was saying as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I turned off ota updates and use USB. The wifi updates only work with the car running. In range means in my garage. I'm not running the car for 20 minutes or more inside the garage.
(1) how do you know when an update is required?
(2) where you go to download the update onto a usb stick?
(3) after you complete the download, how do you update the car unit? Just plug the usb into the usb port? (Sorry, I never owned a car that needed updating before.)
 

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@Tom2154 - I get an e-mail from Subaru directing me to this website. It will show what the most current version is. You can turn to Channel 0 (zero) in the car to see if it matches. If not, then you need an update. Clicking thru on the website - you will get instructions. You will download from the computer to the USB then stick the USB into the USB slot near the gear shifter: Sign In (subaru-maps.com)
 

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I don't have wifi at home, so I don't get any wifi updates. I suppose I COULD set my cell phone as a hot spot and use it, but why should I have to pay for cell data charges for something the dealership should be doing for free anyway? If Subaru wants an update, then they should be sending a notice out with instructions how.
 

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I don't have wifi at home, so I don't get any wifi updates. I suppose I COULD set my cell phone as a hot spot and use it, but why should I have to pay for cell data charges for something the dealership should be doing for free anyway? If Subaru wants an update, then they should be sending a notice out with instructions how.
Unfortunately the manufacturers have set up their systems to accommodate the masses who in this case have and use wifi and or have unlimited data on their networks. I have both but it was not too long ago I used a flip phone (which I still have and use for backcountry emergencies on an alternative network). When I need an update I get my dealership to do it for free as part of the list of services I am contracting with them to complete.
 

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(1) how do you know when an update is required?
(2) where you go to download the update onto a usb stick?
(3) after you complete the download, how do you update the car unit? Just plug the usb into the usb port? (Sorry, I never owned a car that needed updating before.)

If you create an account there and enter your vehicle information, you'll get an email notification of updates available for your VIN. I've found this to be the best way to get updates onto the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@Tom2154 - I get an e-mail from Subaru directing me to this website. It will show what the most current version is. You can turn to Channel 0 (zero) in the car to see if it matches. If not, then you need an update. Clicking thru on the website - you will get instructions. You will download from the computer to the USB then stick the USB into the USB slot near the gear shifter: Sign In (subaru-maps.com)
Thanks. I guess it is just a map update then. I don't have maps on mine. Dealer told me just use your phone as the preloaded maps are frequently out of date. An interesting statement for someone selling $40.000+ cars to make.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't have wifi at home, so I don't get any wifi updates. I suppose I COULD set my cell phone as a hot spot and use it, but why should I have to pay for cell data charges for something the dealership should be doing for free anyway? If Subaru wants an update, then they should be sending a notice out with instructions how.
I agree. I'm not worrying about it any longer.
 

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Thanks. I guess it is just a map update then. I don't have maps on mine. Dealer told me just use your phone as the preloaded maps are frequently out of date. An interesting statement for someone selling $40.000+ cars to make.
Out-of-date maps on local devices (downloaded maps) are just the nature of the beast. If you downloaded a copy of your area on Google Maps, it'd be out of date as soon as you download it. Map updates happen continually.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are the ultimate answer to this (in my opinion). Your phone is using cellular signal to access live map data from the map server, so it's always up to date. They could theoretically build this capability into the Ascent, too (the car has a cellular radio), but few people typically want to pay for a separate phone line just for their car.

The one benefit to having the map data onboard the car, stored locally in the head unit's memory, is availability of navigation in areas where cellular signal is not available. Which, at least in theory, would happen to Subaru owners (as a brand) at least as often as other brands' owners. Subaru bills itself as the vehicle to take exporing the out lands and canyons and mountains, etc. Having the map data onboard means you'll always be able to get where you need to go, even if you lose cell signal. It does happen to us on a somewhat recurring basis. The hills of western VA and eastern WV create cellular "shadows" that our phones sometimes do okay with and sometimes do not.
 

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They could theoretically build this capability into the Ascent, too (the car has a cellular radio), but few
Actually the fix for this is quite simple. Instead of marrying the head units cellular carrier to At&t, give us a SIM slot we can access. I'm grandfathered in a T mobile plan that lets me add unlimited everything lines for $5 per line. I'd love to add my car for $5 but not whatever at&t charges.
 

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The embedded SIM was likely configured/specified because Subaru is apparently contracted with ATT for the Starlink services backbone. I suspect that the connections for that purpose are "private" and get routed independently from regular Internet traffic...an embedded VPN if you will. Permitting alternative carriers would make that a lot more complex and costly compared to "one stop shopping" for Subaru where they committed to all of their vehicles using that network for the service. But yes, that does constrain what you can do if you want to use the Hotspot feature (can only be on ATT) and limits or torpedoes using StarLink services in areas where there is no ATT Wireless signal. Oh, and Canada... ;)
 

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The embedded SIM was likely configured/specified because Subaru is apparently contracted with ATT for the Starlink services backbone. I suspect that the connections for that purpose are "private" and get routed independently from regular Internet traffic...an embedded VPN if you will. Permitting alternative carriers would make that a lot more complex and costly compared to "one stop shopping" for Subaru where they committed to all of their vehicles using that network for the service. But yes, that does constrain what you can do if you want to use the Hotspot feature (can only be on ATT) and limits or torpedoes using StarLink services in areas where there is no ATT Wireless signal. Oh, and Canada... ;)
Jim, do youhave direct evidence? I was in tech for 40 years and while I wouldn't rule out your hypothesis, I think the answers lie elsewhere. Corporate alliances often result in strange, frustrating (for the consumer) and un-alterable hobbling of capabilities (look at the tech documentation for a cable TV DVR and the limited features that the carrier enables). The major cellular carriers all have excess bandwidth on their backbones and sell that bandwidth to resellers (ie Consumer Cellular, Straight Talk and many others called MVNOs). The MVNOs are in a sense a VPN because of the way the carrier monitors and restricts their traffic. My theory is that Subaru "buys" bandwidth from AT&T and also gets revenue sharing from AT&T for whoever uses the AT&T hot spot that offsets the Starlink traffic costs . If I wasn't retired now I could just look this up in an internal data com database. Money trumps providing a desirable customer feature.
 

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Direct evidence? No. But I have 38+ years in IT and Telecommunications prior to recent retirement. (technical roles) I'm very familiar with how the majors deal with the MVNOs, etc. (That doesn't exactly apply here, however) So based on all that time in the industry and related (albeit on the enterprise side rather than the carrier side) that's why I strongly suspect what I stated as being close to the case. I don't believe that Subaru is alone in this, either, relative to have the in-vehicle telemetry and customer service communication is handled. Other vehicle manufactures kinda do the same. I do agree with you that Subaru also benefits from the folks that add on the ATT WiFi hotspot "referral", if you will, as icing on the cake. They don't sell the bandwidth, but they do introduce the customer. In the meantime, there are technical and financial reasons behind how they set things up...and it was for their convenience and benefit. Which you acknowledge in your last sentence.
 
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