Lexus ES Why On-Board Wi-Fi Hotspot?

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I have the on-board Wi-Fi Hotspot feature on my 2019 Lexus ES 350. What would be the benefit of connecting to this service if I already have a smartphone (Verizon) with full, unlimited calling, texting, and data? Thank you.
 

Sulu

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Your car's on-board Wi-Fi Hotspot may not be of benefit to you but it may be of benefit to a passenger you may carry, someone who does not have a smartphone (or tablet computer) with access to cellular data. Having an on-board Hotspot may allow a passenger to use a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computer (for example) in your car.

Consider this corollary: Is there a benefit to have the Wi-Fi Hotspot feature on your smartphone? I assume that you have it on your smartphone. Do you use it? I almost never use that feature on my smartphone; I only ever use it if I want access to a larger screen (on my tablet) but am in a location without Wi-Fi.
 

Ian Schmidt

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As @Sulu said, the benefit is if you regularly have passengers carrying devices which have WiFi but not a 4G cellular data connection. In my case, everyone I regularly drive around has devices with built-in 4G, so I don't use the on-board hotspot.

If you're planning to use the car for ride-sharing or carpooling, that increases the likelihood that someone would find a benefit from the car's hotspot, but for normal personal driving it depends on if the people you regularly drive around need it.
 
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I have the on-board Wi-Fi Hotspot feature on my 2019 Lexus ES 350. What would be the benefit of connecting to this service if I already have a smartphone (Verizon) with full, unlimited calling, texting, and data? Thank you.
Your car's on-board Wi-Fi Hotspot may not be of benefit to you but it may be of benefit to a passenger you may carry, someone who does not have a smartphone (or tablet computer) with access to cellular data. Having an on-board Hotspot may allow a passenger to use a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computer (for example) in your car.

Consider this corollary: Is there a benefit to have the Wi-Fi Hotspot feature on your smartphone? I assume that you have it on your smartphone. Do you use it? I almost never use that feature on my smartphone; I only ever use it if I want access to a larger screen (on my tablet) but am in a location without Wi-Fi.
As @Sulu said, the benefit is if you regularly have passengers carrying devices which have WiFi but not a 4G cellular data connection. In my case, everyone I regularly drive around has devices with built-in 4G, so I don't use the on-board hotspot.

If you're planning to use the car for ride-sharing or carpooling, that increases the likelihood that someone would find a benefit from the car's hotspot, but for normal personal driving it depends on if the people you regularly drive around need it.
Thank you too, Ian. I am curious as to what actually feeds the Wi-Fi. Is it cell towers, satellite, or through the Enform system? I ask, because, it it is fed by the cell towers, there could be dead spots between them.
 
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Your car's on-board Wi-Fi Hotspot may not be of benefit to you but it may be of benefit to a passenger you may carry, someone who does not have a smartphone (or tablet computer) with access to cellular data. Having an on-board Hotspot may allow a passenger to use a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computer (for example) in your car.

Consider this corollary: Is there a benefit to have the Wi-Fi Hotspot feature on your smartphone? I assume that you have it on your smartphone. Do you use it? I almost never use that feature on my smartphone; I only ever use it if I want access to a larger screen (on my tablet) but am in a location without Wi-Fi.
Outstanding reply. Thank you kindly. I more or less figured this was the case. My guess is the "Wi-Fi Hotspot" is being fed by cellular service (not satellite) so in the dead spots between cells, I wouldn't get Wi-Fi either. Or, is the Wi-Fi Hotspot generated by the Enform system? If so, how is Enform signal sent to the vehicle? Via satellite?
 

Sulu

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Outstanding reply. Thank you kindly. I more or less figured this was the case. My guess is the "Wi-Fi Hotspot" is being fed by cellular service (not satellite) so in the dead spots between cells, I wouldn't get Wi-Fi either. Or, is the Wi-Fi Hotspot generated by the Enform system? If so, how is Enform signal sent to the vehicle? Via satellite?
I believe that the Enform services work off a cellular network.

I found this information about Enform Safety Connect on the Lexus Canada website:
Services are dependent upon connection to a compatible wireless network (either 3G GSM/GPRS or LTE; varies by model), provided by a third-party wireless service provider. Lexus is not responsible for cellular network discontinuance.
I highly doubt that Lexus Canada Enform and Lexus USA Enform work off completely different network technologies.

I found this FAQ about Enform Safety Connect on the Lexus USA website:
If my Navigation System malfunctions, is my Safety Connect service compromised?

Not necessarily. The Navigation System and Safety Connect product are separate hardware units. If you are experiencing problems with your Navigation System, the Lexus Enform® services that utilize the navigation such as Destination Assist and Lexus Insider may not work, but Safety Connect services will not be affected. If you are experiencing issues with your Navigation System, your Lexus dealer can help diagnose the problem.
This tells me that Enform Safety Connect does not work on the satellite network, and by process of elimination, that it works on a cellular network.

One way to find out for sure: Do you have a SIM card somewhere in the car? A cellular service in Canada or the USA will reqiure a SIM card.
 

Ian Schmidt

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The hotspot in the car works off of the cellular network, yes.
 

Jezza819

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If you're in an area where your phone says "no service" will this Wi-Fi hotspot help to get you a signal?
 

Sulu

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If you're in an area where your phone says "no service" will this Wi-Fi hotspot help to get you a signal?
Probably not. If your cellular service provider does not offer service in a particular area, other cellular service providers probably don't either. If you are in the middle of nowhere with no cellular service, it is unlikely that other cellular providers will offer service.
 

Ian Schmidt

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Probably not. If your cellular service provider does not offer service in a particular area, other cellular service providers probably don't either. If you are in the middle of nowhere with no cellular service, it is unlikely that other cellular providers will offer service.
That's true in general, but it does vary. Traditionally Sprint and Verizon had better coverage in the US Midwest, for example, so storm chasers who live-stream stick with those carriers.
 
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