How do you turn your vehicle into a Wi-Fi hotspot on those long haul journeys? Let’s find out!
1. Use your smartphone to connect to the Internet
If you don't have an option, you could always use your phone’s data plan to connect devices to the Internet. Simply go to Settings and turn on your personal hotspot. You can connect more than 5 devices to this hotspot. The only problem is that you’ll use up your data plan quickly and your phone battery will run out of juice if you forget to plug it into a charging point. Besides, your plan won’t deliver a fast connection if many devices are connected to it. You could check your Wi-Fi speed by installing an easy to use app like WiFi Patrol. If you’re not happy with the speed and you have a bunch of data hungry kids in the back, ditch the phone’s data plan and look at your other options.
2. Built-in Wireless
Auto manufacturers are constantly adding new features to new makes and models. Cars now come with built-in wireless Internet connection systems. It may not always be a standard feature on all new models. You may have to purchase it as an optional feature. Since it’s already integrated into the car, you’ll have outstanding signal strength. You’ll also find it easy to connect devices at the touch of a few buttons. Moreover, the system is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Built-in wireless systems automatically run updates so your vehicle will always have the latest software. This is another advantage of having a built-in wireless system. The only drawback is that manufacturers begin by giving you a free trial, but once the trial period ends you’ll have to buy a monthly wireless plan. This plan can be expensive when you stream a lot of data.
3. Using a mobile hotspot device
If you have an older vehicle which doesn’t have a built-in wireless system, you could use a mobile hotspot device for your car Wi-Fi needs. It’s a small portable device that allows you to connect a few devices to the Internet. Some hotspot devices come with dual bands abilities and built-in GPS support. They’re also designed to work in countries all across the globe. You could either buy a monthly wireless data plan or a prepaid plan for the device. Depending on the device you purchase, you can connect 8 to 10 people to the hotspot. The drawbacks? People complain about poor battery performance, no data rollover on the plans and expensive data plans. You may not even get great coverage in certain areas. Thus it’s best to compare plans and look up hotspot device reviews online before making a choice.
4. Install aftermarket Wi-Fi systems
If you don’t have a new vehicle with a built-in Wi-Fi system, you could look for aftermarket devices that offer you Wi-Fi connectivity. Autonet mobile’s CarFi offers high-speed connections for up to 20 users. What’s great about systems like these is that they don’t drop connections even when the vehicle is travelling at high speeds. What’s more is that they come with expandable storage. This makes it easier for you to store and share movie and music files. While some devices come with docking stations, others have to be integrated into the dash. Users will have to get them installed by professionals. This adds to the overall cost of owning and using a Wi-Fi device.
Although people use high-speed cellular modems to browse the Internet, there will come a time when these devices will enable vehicles to do much more than one can imagine. Dashboards will turn into screens that display movies, videos and maps. These features will only be made possible through high-speed wireless Internet connections in the car.