OnStar 4G LTE Live Road Test: City Streets, Freeway & Mountain Roads

While my associate, Jim, is driving, I am writing this in a 2015 Chevy Volt, from the front passenger seat on a notebook computer connected to a OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. We are driving in a mountain area with a notoriously bad history for AT&T connections and I am still able to connect to the Internet to write this. Often in this area with an AT&T cell phone, I can’t make calls at all. I’m taking a speed test. It shows decent speeds 1.11Mbps download and 3.57Mbps upload on surface streets.
We are now on the freeway going between 55mph and 60mph, where there should be better connections to cell towers. The results are fantastic, 18.69Mbps download and 8.19Mbps upload better and better than in a wooden garage.

Next we’re going to go up the mountain.

Now, we’re driving around some very steep curves at a fast pace. I’m able to Tweet.

mountaintestI was busy Tweeting and taking video until we reached the turn-around where the speeds were 3.79Mbps down and 6.19Mbps upload with a clear view of the valley below.

The only glitch occurred after we came down from the mountain. When we arrived in the foothills crossing from Arcadia to Sierra Madre, the connection dropped out and I lost a few paragraphs of this article. Then, we finally came around to an area where I  recovered the writing and reconnected. Fortunately, WordPress has auto-backup and I am able to recover most of the what I had written.

Back in the foothills, my new test shows 1.96Mbps download and 4.79 upload speeds all good enough for auto-blogging. What probably would have been easier was to write the entire article in Microsoft Word which does not require a connection and upload the article when we were in a good zone.

All in all, the OnStar Wi-Fi data throughput was much better than expected and lighting fast on the freeway going 55 mph. When you are traveling with cellular 4G LTE connections, your connection moves from tower to tower, therefore, it would be a good idea no matter what you are doing with a Wi-Fi hotspot in car, whether it is uploading files, watching videos, or auto-blogging to realize that a some point the signal may drop out, especially in remote areas.

I was surprised and  impressed with the 4G LTE OnStar data tests under adverse conditions in notoriously remote and difficult coverage areas. On a scale of 5 stars OnStar Wi-Fi Hotspots surely deserves a full five stars for implementing the most massive deployment of 4G LTE data access in affordable cars.

Most new model GM vehicles come with a three-month 3GB trial of OnStar 4G LTE data or it can be added to an AT&T family plan. Connecting devices to the Wi-Fi hotspot was a breeze. The amount of data used shows clearly in the OnStar RemoteLink app where you set passwords and turn on or off the service. You can not turn off the Wi-Fi hotspots in the car through the head unit or dash buttons. Without the app the only way to turn off the Wi-Fi hotspots is by calling an OnStar operator.

Read the review of OnStar Wi-Fi hotspots while in the city in a garage.