We can equip our vehicles with all the home comforts nowadays, but why is wifi not high on the list? It is for some, but it’s just not as common because we all use our smartphones for Internet on the go nowadays. But for those that want to know how to get wifi in your car, read on.
When you’re out on a long drive with the family, you really should look into getting wifi in your car. At least then, you’ll have more options for entertainment for the kids, your partner can keep him/herself busy on their phone, keeping you free to listen to some crisp tunes through your car speakers.
Of course, we can use our smartphone hotspot, but if everyone in the car does, it is a waste of data usage, bad for the environment and the children won’t likely have one anyway.
So, if you want to keep everyone happy with a good Internet connection for all your tablets and and other devices, getting wifi in your car is a must.
Many brand new cars come wifi ready, but for those that don’t have money to splash out a new car with all the mod-cons, how do you get wifi in your car?
There are several ways of getting a good connection, but always remember whichever method you choose, you will have to get a wifi cellular plan, as well.
Why Not Just Use Smartphone Hotspot?
Most smartphones come equipped with a mobile hotspot function and providers offer the service at no extra charge, so why would you need a wifi connection in your car?
Smartphone hotspot is handy, but it’s not ideal if you’re using it for a long while, especially on a regular occasion.
You’re likely to get a stronger signal with a mobile wifi device too. With a smartphone hotspot, your phone uses a built-in antenna to receive a signal, whereas your car will become the antenna with a wifi device, so it will have a much better chance of receiving a stronger signal than your phone.
Let’s not forget about the wear and tear on your smartphone battery, too. Using hotspot on a long drive will use your battery a fair bit, and if it’s a regular occurrence, it will quickly shorten the battery’s life.
Getting Wifi In Your Car
Wifi is as ubiquitous as the Internet now. Whether you go to a mall, a coffee shop, or a bar they all pretty much offer free wifi. And of course, we can save our smartphone data, so why not? But how to get wifi in your car?
It’s not as common yet, but it is slowly becoming so. As bad as it sounds, on a long drive it’s hard not to let the kids play games or watch YouTube on tablets, and who reads a book anymore?
So without any further ado, let’s look at the different ways you can get a wifi connection in your car.
New Cars Have Built-In Wifi
In the US, there are 222 million drivers, who spend 84 billion hours driving each year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. And with wifi becoming as integral to everyday life as eating, working and sleeping (for some), car manufacturers know that we need wifi in our cars.
Many newer models come with wifi equipment installed, but don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean you will get free wifi. It’ll just be service ready without needing to buy any wifi devices for your car. But you will have to get a mobile wifi plan.
But just getting a wifi connection doesn’t warrant buying a new car, so for most people getting a small wifi device for your car is far more likely.
How To Get Wifi In Your Car
Mobile Wifi Hotpsot – MIFI
A mobile wifi hotspot, colloquially called MIFI, is an excellent device for getting Internet on the go anywhere you go. They’re becoming very popular for anyone wanting a portable wifi connection and of course you can use them in your car.
The compact and handy device will not only help your smartphone battery on car journeys, but you’ll be able to use them for a constant wifi connection, whether you’re at the mall, the beach, the park, or even if you’re travelling around the world.
A mobile wifi hotspot allows you to link several devices to it so you can get Internet on the go. It’s basically an access point to the Internet, so you can connect anywhere at any time, no matter where you are.
They’re lightweight and easily fit in a day bag, which makes them perfect for carrying around with you. They come with a range of features, and depending which one you get, you might be able to use it with any SIM worldwide.
I like this NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot, and I recommend it before any other mobile hotspot.
The wifi hotspot device can share its connection with up to 20 devices via 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wifi frequencies, up to the 802.11ac specification.
You can get a full day’s charge out of the 5,040 maH battery, but of course it depends how many devices are connected to it. That said, it is rechargeable and because it uses Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, it recharges pretty quickly.
Another thing I like about this one is that it has an Ethernet port, something you don’t usually get with mobile hotspot devices.
It also has a USB port that allows you to charge other devices, and can also be used to connect an external hard drive or USB for anyone carrying extra files.
OBD II Wifi For Car
If you don’t want something as portable or as big as a mobile hotspot you can always get a wifi connector that will fit into your OBD II port, and run off your car’s battery.
The OBD II is your car’s Onboard Diagnostic port, which is usually located under your steering column or dashboard and used by mechanics to plug into it to run vehicle diagnostics.
Be careful, however, as most OBD II Scanner devices are mostly for diagnosing problems in your car through a local wifi connection, and cost around $15-20. This type of OBD II device isn’t what you need, unless you want to save money with mechanics.
ZTE Mobley has teamed up with AT&T to provide a mobile wifi connection for car through your OBD II port. The ZTE Mobley device allows you to connect up to 5 mobile devices, and because it plugs into your car’s electrical system, there’s no batteries to recharge.
You simply plug it in and it runs off your car battery, giving you Internet on the go whenever you’re in your car. However, your car must be switched on for your wifi hotspot to work, so this is good mostly for while you’re driving.
The wifi frequency is 802.11 b/g/n – 2.4GHz Only, and it supports LTE Bands: 2, 4, 5, 17 and 4G: HSPA+ 850/1900/2100MHz, while also supporting 3G: UMTS if you need it.
To be sure, this wifi device only works with an AT&T mobile cellular plan, which you can get different plans to suit your needs.
Wireless Wifi Routers For Your Car
A wireless router for your car will give you a much cleaner and better wifi signal and is the best way to get wifi for your car.
It’s also the most expensive and most reliable way to get Internet on the go, but if you’re serious about getting the best signal for your car, it’s the best way.
A wifi router for a car will be your most expensive option, and if you choose to go this way, you should consider getting it professionally installed.
The main benefit of a wireless router is the wifi signal will be stronger than mobile wifi hotspot, dongles or any OBD II wifi adapters, and you’ll be able to run multiple devices from it.
And just in case the signal is waning some wireless routers include USB or ethernet ports, which will give you an even stronger signal if needed.
This KuWFi Car WiFi Wireless Router is an excellent device that will give you a strong signal for up to 32 devices from 300-500m.
It works with US, Canadian and Mexican cellular companies, and you can get a separate package with this, but you can also try your existing SIM card.
If your SIM card is compatible with the product, however, it is not necessarily plug and play. Therefore, you may need to follow these short directions: disable the PIN code of the SIM card and modify the APN, enter the router IP address: 192.168.1.1, click Network—APN—Enable.
Once done, your car should be a powerful wifi hotspot for you and your other passengers.
You Will Need A Car Wifi Plan
No matter which way you choose to go, you will likely have to a separate mobile wifi plan for your car. All the biggest cellular providers offer wifi plans specifically for vehicles, and like all wifi plans they vary depending on the amount of data you want.
Plans are changing all the time, and as well as monthly packages, you can also get pay-as-you-go plans, which is perfect for those who don’t need an ongoing package. Instead, you simply pay for what you need and top it up every time you need more.
If you’re interested, the best way to get wifi for car is to contact your service provider, and see what packages they do to suit your needs. Some even give you a discount if you have Home wifi packages with them.
Getting Wifi In Your Car – Is It Worth It?
Getting wifi for your car isn’t for everyone. If you’re the only one that uses your car for commuting or whatever, it’s probably not economically viable to get your car wifi equipped.
However, if you’re a family man or you car-share for your daily commute, it makes sense to get some device. It will save you money and keep the family or carpool entertained on each journey.
Turning your car into a wifi hotspot will save your smartphone, and give you a fast Internet connection on the go in many more places than your 4G.
So, getting a mobile hotspot, a dongle that fits into your OBD II connector, or a mobile router for your car is the way to go. Whichever way you choose to get wifi for your journeys, it’s good to know that in-car Internet connectivity is now an option.
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