With WLAN hotspot, internet stick or integrated technology in the car into the internet
How will the local weather? What are the latest soccer results? This and similar questions also come up for car drivers. The fastest way to find the answers is on the Internet. Drivers can also stream music there. That’s why many car manufacturers offer WLAN technologies for cars. because what works on vacation, at the beach or on the road in bus and train, is also possible for the car. Many vehicles already have the technology, while other vehicle owners can retrofit WLAN in the car. How to do it exactly? How reliable is WLAN in the car? when does wifi not work? In our energis guide, we have some exciting answers for you.
how does wifi work in a car?
In the car, the WLAN connection is usually established through external WLAN hotspots. Therefore, in the car, unlike at home, there are no fixed cables and no internet connections. As an alternative to the WLAN hotspot, it is also possible to access the Internet using the manufacturer’s integrated hotspots. Many new models already offer these integrated hotspots. Also older used cars can be retrofitted. Instead of a fixed internet connection, there is WLAN via a data tariff similar to a mobile phone contract for a smartphone.
Services for WLAN in the car
There are various services that can be useful especially when driving a car. These include route navigation such as google maps, current data on traffic conditions and warnings of weather phenomena such as black ice, online services such as netflix or maxdome, e-mail notifiers, music via the internet with spotify and co., games with required internet access, retrieving travel information or current weather reports as well as current news from all over the world.
Most drivers rely on in-car navigation devices. This is especially useful on vacation or on unfamiliar routes in general. Many navigators like google maps need internet to update the route and to show current data like traffic jams or other warnings.
Whether you are traveling by car, caravan or motorhome, in order to be able to plan your vacation better, it is useful to be able to call up travel information and current weather data at any time, even when you are on site. Internet access is not always guaranteed, especially at campsites, so WLAN on the move is particularly interesting for campers. In addition, you can find out about sights, special features, opening times, restaurants and much more online from the comfort of your motorhome.
On long car trips to the family vacation, the children want variety and entertainment. Streaming services make car rides with kids entertaining for all involved. Streaming services such as amazon prime, netflix, maxdome and others offer a variety of programming, even for children. For on-the-go use, we have books, audio plays, audio books, games, music, movies and series available.
On the road, music always puts you in a good mood and makes the car ride more entertaining. For more variety and reliable access to your favorite music, the car radio is not the only option. With music services like spotify, amazon music and apple music, drivers and passengers can listen to the latest music of their favorite artists at any time.
Children like to pass the time on the road with various games. With WLAN in the car, numerous online games are available for small and large passengers and thus provide fun during the car ride and alternation. you can entertain your kids via laptop, tablet or cell phone.
You always want to know what’s happening in the world when you’re on the move? news and current news are always available online. Even in the car, you can use WLAN to find out everything important about the day online and always stay up to date.
Retrofitting WLAN in the car: WLAN in the car without SIM?
For WLAN in the car, a mobile router is required that establishes an Internet connection via LTE or UMTS and is compatible with the vehicle’s power supply. in upper mid-range models, car manufacturers also offer integrated WLAN. How to get by without external devices. In normal cases, however, car owners need retrofittable WLAN routers for the simplest solution. In any case, a SIM card is required to establish the Internet connection via the mobile network. The SIM card is inserted into the device and then dials into the Internet. For this there are devices with SIM-card-slot or devices with USB-connection.
With an LTE-WLAN router you can conveniently make your car internet ready. The mobile device is offered by different manufacturers and requires a power supply. This can be done using the 12-volt power supply from the cigarette lighter or an integrated battery pack. Devices with batteries have the advantage that they can be placed anywhere and can also be used outside the vehicle. With intensive use, however, the battery is also quickly empty. Devices with 12-volt plugs, on the other hand, are suitable for long journeys and permanent installation. Products such as the portable router from TP-link and the carfi WLAN for cars or the mobile wifi hotspot from huawei have proven themselves in this regard.
Another solution is to use surf sticks in combination with a notebook. Surfsticks look like ordinary USB sticks, but they have an integrated SIM card. This is an inexpensive solution, since the notebook is already available in most cases. The appropriate LTE surfsticks are offered by many mobile phone providers and can simply be plugged into the free USB slot on the notebook. The installation is quite fast and easy. The notebook is then connected to the Internet via the mobile phone connection. It is also possible to set up a hotspot using the notebook’s integrated WLAN. This means that the WLAN is also available to other devices for accessing the internet. For longer use, however, the solution is difficult because you are dependent on the battery life of the notebook, which in turn is dependent on a power supply.
Hotspot with the smartphone
Drivers save a lot of space by solving a hotspot with their cell phone. Experts call it tethering. the principle is the same as with the notebook and surfstick, but only one device is needed. If the smartphone provides a WLAN hotspot, other devices that have dialed into the WLAN can also use the mobile data connection. This is practical, but has a catch. Because smartphone users have a specific tariff with the mobile communications provider, which is based on a mixed calculation of telephony and data volume. In the case of intensive use, the data volume can be used up quickly, e.g., for longer video streaming or hours of surfing the web when the driver of the car is stuck in a traffic jam. If several people use the connection, the surfing speed is throttled even faster. Here, too, the battery life of the smartphone plays a role, which can be used up quickly.
WLAN in the car: which vehicles already have Internet in the car??
In order to offer car owners networked cars, many manufacturers have been equipping their models with an integrated WLAN solution for several years now. This has the advantage that no additional devices have to be purchased and installed in the car. So far, manufacturers have offered integrated WLAN mainly for high-priced models and vehicles with upscale equipment packages. Integrated internet use is possible via the touch display in the cockpit and allows web services to be used via a browser. Use is restricted while driving so as not to distract the driver. These include in particular manufacturers such as Mercedes, BMW, Tesla, Audi, VW, Opel and Ford. Energis offers the following overview of the most important manufacturers and their products, without making any explicit recommendations.
At mercedes, the command online system is used. It offers numerous multimedia features and provides vehicle data and WLAN hotspot for all passengers. In older models, the WLAN hotspot can only be set up with the smartphone.
BMW uses the BMW connected drive system. The SIM card is permanently installed in the vehicle. the data connection can be booked via telekom.
Tesla is regarded worldwide as a pioneer for electric vehicles. The necessary hardware for a WLAN hotspot is already installed. However, customers in Germany cannot yet use this function. The vehicles send data to the manufacturer. When you buy a new car, internet use is included in the price for four years, but most customers have been able to use the internet free of charge for longer than that.
Opel offers customers the onstar system with a WLAN hotspot for up to seven devices. Onstar also connects directly to opel customer service, offers diagnostic functions as well as a wide range of information on restaurants, nearby attractions and the like. Emergency calls can be made automatically in the event of an accident.
VW’s system for mobile WLAN in the car is called app-connect. It connects the smartphone to the car via USB cable and can be selected via the radio display.
Ford provides vehicle owners with the two systems sync3 or ford pass modem connect. These offer the possibility of setting up a WLAN hotspot in the car, which can then be accessed with mobile devices.
Costs for WLAN in the car
The cost of mobile internet in the car can vary considerably. It depends on the chosen method. You also have to calculate the purchase costs and consider the running costs.
As a rule, the manufacturer’s own integrated systems are the most expensive. The complete package with WLAN and extensive services can cost around 300 euros a year. Some app offers are available for free in the app store. However, manufacturers often charge activation fees as well as ongoing fees. One-time costs are incurred for internet sticks and carfi. They average 20 to 80 euros. In addition, the various options incur monthly costs for data usage. If the SIM card of the smartphone is used, it can be more expensive. Many tariffs are not flexible and force consumers to purchase more free minutes when the data volume is increased. For WLAN in the car, a separate SIM card makes sense and is more cost-effective. There are cheap data tariffs for about 10 euros a month with several gigabytes of data volume for surfing the net at high speed.
Risks of WLAN in the car
If you want to use WLAN in your car, you also have to consider the issue of security. There is a high risk of being distracted by the smartphone and causing an accident. If you don’t want to do without the Internet, you can have the car’s infotainment system read out incoming messages, for example. In any case, it is necessary to be responsible and attentive with the mobile internet and the various web services. Attention must be focused on traffic at all times. It is therefore important to allow only passengers to use the Internet or to access the Internet while parked.
Conclusion on WLAN in the car: using a wide range of options responsibly
The report shows that there are many ways to use the Internet and set up a WLAN hotspot in a car while on the road. The whole thing is particularly convenient if all the necessary requirements and devices are already integrated in the vehicle. Some manufacturers still have some catching up to do. Mobile routers are the easiest way to connect the vehicle to the internet. New and high-priced models from well-known manufacturers in particular offer integrated solutions. The costs for internet in the car vary considerably and depend, among other things, on the mobile communications provider.
On the road, WLAN in the car is a great thing if you want to find your way, read the latest news or use entertainment such as games, music or videos, especially for the passengers. Safety is an important issue. The WLAN should not be distracting and should be used responsibly.
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In which car do you want to use WLAN? Take a look at our guides on reading electricity meters, converting autogas, electromobility and hybrid cars!
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