With the amount of time that we spend in our cars (commuting, shopping, travelling, stuck in traffic…) it’s quite surprising, when you think about it, that cars don’t offer us the same connectivity as other modes of transport such as the bus or train. Whilst auto-manufacturers have been slow to adapt and adopt new technology, the past year has seen some promising new tech trends emerging, including in-car WiFi.
Why Would I Want WiFi in My Car?
With smartphone prices plans offering increasingly good 3G and 4G connectivity, in-car WiFi may seem like a redundant idea. However, for those with families or those who travel a lot for business, in-car WiFi couldn’t arrive soon enough.
From keeping the kids quiet on long journeys to downloading files or documents whilst on the move and streaming videos and music, wireless connectivity in your vehicle is the ultimate solution. Forget trying to download a presentation on your tiny phone screen; forget about the kids wailing that they’re bored on the drive to see your parents; forget it all!
How Does In-Car WiFi Work?
Typically it works in one of three ways; either using a MiFi wireless router, built-in telematics or via a 4G LTE connection.
The MiFi option is still relatively new, with the devices only really hitting the mainstream around a year or two ago. You simply purchase a MiFi router from a mobile network such as EE’s Buzzard (there’s typically a monthly free or contract needed with your network operator of choice) and you’re good to go with instant internet access on the road.
The second option comes built-in to the car itself; manufacturers are now introducing in-car telematics systems which transform the vehicle you are driving into a mobile hotspot. The built in-schematics also open up a whole new world of voice activation; making totally hands free calls and adjusting music volume and tracks. This will hopefully encourage drivers to put away their phones completely when driving as they can do everything they could possibly need to via the control panel or voice activation.
Finally, 4G LTE wireless connectivity is something which vehicle manufacturers are only just tapping in to. It’s the same super-fast 4G that you see Kevin Bacon raving about on TV and which has been enjoyed by smartphone and tablet users for fast approaching two years now. Cars which utilise LTE works just like any other mobile hotspot but it provides the 4G speeds we’ve become accustomed to rather than standard 3G.
As with most other technologies (smartphones tablets, 3G and 4G), in-car WiFi may seem like a luxury now, in the future there’s no doubt that even basic models will come fitted as standard with WiFi. Whatever the future holds for in-car entertainment technology, you know connectivity will have a huge part to play.