Our reliance on the Internet these days means that we want to be able to get online no matter where we are. This has undoubtedly become much easier thanks to the range of mobile devices we now have available.
In years gone by, getting online was restricted to the home or office through the use of your internet connection. However, we can now get online while out and about, when on holiday, and even in the car.
When it comes to the latter, obviously you shouldn't attempt to go online while driving! However, if you have pulled over or even if you are a passenger in the car, you will find a variety of ways you can get internet access.
This means that you can enjoy the ease and convenience of getting online in your vehicle by using wireless internet. So, if you want to know how to get WiFi in your car, read on.
When you have in-car WiFi, you can do everything from keeping up with your latest news feeds and enjoying entertainment from Netflix or listen to music from Pandora.
In This Guide
Use Your Smartphone to Get WiFi in Your Car
One very popular way in which you can get internet access in your car is by using your mobile device to create a mobile hotspot. You can use your smartphone, such as your Android device, and create a wireless internet connection with ease. In fact, this is one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to get wireless internet in your car. Obviously, you will need to have a mobile device that is able to act as a mobile hotspot, so this is something you need to check.
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There are two ways in which you can turn your mobile device into a mobile hotspot. The first is simply to find the option in your phone settings and check the relevant box. The second is to download an app that allows you to use the phone as a hotspot. You can consider using something like the Verizon Jetpack. With the Verizon Jetpack, you can benefit from 4G LTE hotspot access via your WiFi enabled device. Your phone will then act as a mobile router and modem, enabling you to benefit from wireless internet in your vehicle.
One thing you do need to be mindful of is that any device that connects to your mobile as a hot spot will impact on the allowance that you get with your data plan. You, therefore, need to check your data plan and make sure that your data allowance is adequate to use your device as a wireless mobile router and modem.
Use a Mobile Hotspot to Get WiFi in Your Car
There is another simple method of getting a wireless connection in your car, and this is to use a dedicated mobile hot spot device. These are relatively inexpensive to purchase and work in the same way as your Android device or another mobile device would work. However, you can only use these devices for creating a wireless connection in the car and not for anything else.
Based on your preferences, you can add your independent mobile device to your current data plan or if you prefer you can use another provider and obtain a SIM card from them for your data usage. One type of mobile hot spot device is a cellular dongle that uses a USB connection to create a WiFi network. A second type is a unit that is self-contained and therefore more portable and convenient than the dongle – although they do cost more.
Like smartphone and mobile devices, these devices can provide you with high-speed internet access in your car. This is another very convenient, simple, and affordable way to enjoy internet access in your vehicle.
Related: Check out our buyer's guide to mobile hotspots for more information.
Use a Wireless Router to Get WiFi in Your Car
If you prefer, you can opt for a wireless router for your vehicle in order to get high-speed internet access. This is the most reliable way to get reliable internet with good signal strength in your car. However, it is also the most expensive means of getting the internet in your vehicle. It is also not as portable as the two methods mentioned above, as the wireless modem and router will be permanently installed in the car. The cost of the installation can further bump up the cost, so you really need to consider whether you want to pay a lot of money for a solution that does not really offer any portability but does offer a high level of reliability.
There is another option that you can consider as an alternative to a hard-wired wireless router in your vehicle. There are ones that fit into a hard-wired cradle, and the router simply rests inside the cradle. This means that it can be removed as and when required. You can then use this in another hard-wired cradle in a different vehicle.
With the wireless router option, the main benefit is the high degree of reliability and the stronger signal strength compared to other solutions. Some also have USB or Ethernet ports, which means that you can benefit from a WiFi network through which you can get online via your phone, laptop, or other mobile devices.
You Could Also Drive a Car with Built-In WiFi
A final option to consider is a car that comes with built-in WiFi. Of course, if you already have a decent vehicle, you are not going to want to invest in a new car just for the WiFi. However, if you are looking to trade up to a newer vehicle, this could well be an option to consider.
Many car manufacturers now offer connected vehicles that have an integrated data connection and can create WiFi networks. This is a great way to benefit from free wi-fi, as you won't have to invest in any equipment for in-car internet as with some of the other options.
Of course, it is not strictly free wi-fi, as you will pay more for a high spec connected vehicle than you would an older one and you have to pay for usage. However, you won't have to pay upfront costs such as buying a dongle or router. If you are in the market for a new car anyway, this is something that is definitely worth considering.
With one of these connected vehicles, you can enjoy in-car internet without having to worry about the cost of hardware and installation. Also, when you have integrated in-car internet, you can look forward to a high degree of reliability and functionality.
You can enjoy the higher internet speeds of cars that come with LTE car hotspots that are built in. You simply hook up your LTE SIM card and the car will do the rest. Of course, it does depend on the vehicle you buy – some may still run on 3G systems.
Being able to access WiFi in your vehicle is definitely a benefit for people these days. Many of us spend a lot of time online, whether for business or pleasure. If you have a vehicle, having WiFi access provides a safe and efficient means of getting online. It is also great when you have passengers, as it means that they can also use their internet-enabled devices on the journey.
All you need to consider is your personal preferences and the different costs involved to better determine the option that will suit your needs.