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.
In this guide, we'll take a look at the Hum, by Verizon, an onboard diagnostics and WiFi hotspot device that easily integrates into your vehicle and delivers high-speed Internet connection while on the go.
In This Guide
Verizon Hum Review: Key Features
Cars of a certain age may be more fun to drive than today's more utilitarian vehicles, but they can't connect with your phone to show where you parked, ping when it's time to change the oil or make an emergency call for help. Until now. Hum by Verizon is an add-on kit that can bring many 20-year vehicles (and younger) into the 21st century. The mobile-app-supported Hum allows people to monitor a vehicle's health and to contact nearby roadside assistance. Out of the box, Hum works with over 150 million vehicles. To find out whether your vehicle is compatible with Verizon Hum, go here.
Verizon's Hum system is comprised of three main parts:
- OBD Reader: This small device plugs into your car's OBD-II (Onboard Diagnostic) port, which is what most mechanics use to run diagnostics on your car. Most vehicles 1996 and newer will work with Hum's OBD reader but make sure to double check compatibility before placing your order.
- Speaker: Hum's Bluetooth speaker clips directly to your visor and communicates between the OBD reader and your app. The speaker also allows you to talk hands-free when driving and provides "one-button access" to help in the event of an emergency.
- App: Available for Android and iOS devices, the Hum app provides access to diagnostics, reminders, and more.
Once connected, the platform will diagnose problems with the car and offers the ability to contact nearby roadside, emergency, and stolen vehicle assistance, among other features. If the airbags are deployed, or the car senses a rapid deceleration, Hum automatically calls for assistance using its GPS fix. The service includes roadside service from Signature Motor Club, mirroring what you get from the Automobile Club of America, that includes 10 miles of towing, a jump start, help if you're locked out of the car - plus up to three gallons of fuel if you run out of gas. The plan limits you to four service calls a year.
In addition to diagnostics and roadside assistance, Hum also can send your car's location to local law enforcement if it's stolen, as well as locate your parked car and send reminders to pay the parking meter. For parents skeptical of their teens driving habits, you can even set up geofencing alerts and speed checks to ping you with messages whenever the Hum detects the car has left/entered a certain area or has exceeded a determined speed.
The feature of the Hum most relevant to this article is the built-in WiFi hotspot. Powered by Verizon's 4G LTE nationwide coverage, the Hum provides you and the passengers in your car access to an Internet connection. You'll have to enter into a 2-year contract with Verizon and pay monthly fees for access to data, but the same is true for any other connected device.
If you are an existing Verizon customer, you can simply add the Hum X to a shared family data plan. With a shared plan, your Wi-Fi hotspot data will draw from your monthly data allowance. Otherwise, you'll be limited to the data plans Verizon offers specifically for the Hum, which provide pitifully low amounts of data for expensive prices. The Wi-Fi system allows for up to 10 separate connections.
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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Related: Check out our buyer's guide to mobile hotspots for more information.
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 the 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.