Ways to get Wi-Fi in the car
The demands of life and employers today are to always be connected. Be sure to have Skype, Viber on standby. Facebook can write to a client who is a priority. A responsible person just needs the Internet in the car. So how to organize it?
Ever since the creation of the Internet, automakers have been thinking about connecting vehicles to a mobile data service. In the 90’s the first success came to Chrysler – they pioneered the production of car modems. Gradually, a similar solution migrated to Cadillacs from General Motors.
On the threshold of the third decade of the XXI century organization of a stable Internet access in cars is offered by every provider. The cost of the solution varies from 3000 rubles from the mobile operator to 200000 rubles for an additional option from the manufacturer of the car.
Is it necessary to create an access point?
Modern cars can be equipped with a factory Wi-Fi access point. In this case, no action is needed from the car owner – just insert the SIM card connection and enter the data into your phone from the car manual. Wireless internet is available in all BMW models (router price 24000, sold separately), Audi (from A3 and above as part of Audi Connect, price 182300 rubles), Mercedes S-Class&C-Class (built-in, free).
If you can’t afford this option, or you’re a happy owner of a domestic car, it’s easy to set up an access point yourself. You need to choose one of the methods discussed below and implement it according to the recommendations.
Advantages of a car access point
Personal car hotspots (with the exception of commercial vehicles) are not subject to registration requirements. It’s a good way to remain anonymous and not share your own data with the intelligence services.
Connection and data transfer speeds are much faster. When using public access points, the overall network speed is shared between all users. Accordingly, the number of kilobytes per car passenger is negligible. Own hotspot removes this problem.
Ways to connect
- smartphone with 3G/4G support;
- Special modem for the car;
- OBD-II device.
Let’s consider the main characteristics and connection features for each of them in detail.
Smartphone as a router
Most smartphones support the creation of a portable Internet access point. The principle of operation is simple – the mobile network signal is converted to Wi-Fi to communicate with the outside world. This creates an advantage for owners of unlimited 3G/LTE mobile packages. However, you should take into account the high consumption of battery due to the frequent sending of requests for cell identification and limitation of the phone speed. If you use it for a long time, it is necessary to connect the gadget to the cigarette lighter charger or USB port of the car.
Using the phone in modern cars has another advantage. Smartphone software and entertainment systems communicate with each other. The basic functions of smartphone control and Internet communication are available on the central console to the right of the chauffeur.
It looks like a flash drive with a SIM card slot. Connecting to the port of the regular entertainment system or laptop, the car modem creates a stable Wi-Fi signal at high speed. Its charge lasts for several hours of uninterrupted operation, but in some cars it works uninterruptedly while driving thanks to a quick charge or recharge port.
The modem is already set up and ready to use. Access point data – network name and password are available on the body or passport of the device. All you need to do is to connect your tablet or cell phone to it.
Buying a USB modem for data transmission is a significant budget saving. For these devices, operators offer more favorable terms and rates than the Voice+Internet combination. Some services can work even with zero balance, which can’t be said about smartphone tariffs.
Traditionally, the OBD-II port of the car is used by technicians to search for service errors of on-board systems and electronics software. With the advent of the World Wide Web, such devices have learned to give out Wi-Fi.
Most drivers have appreciated the novelty. This device is rarely noticed by hijackers, which becomes their fatal mistake. Due to the presence of the handout function, the device is able to transmit positional and diagnostic information directly to the application on the car owner’s smartphone.
This accessory is rarely used for Internet access by private car owners. More often the antenna is installed on buses and trucks, where the installation of the system is justified. But it has a disadvantage: as a rule, it is sharpened for 1-2 satellites, where Internet transmission may be unavailable.
When installing a Wi-Fi kit in the car, keep safety in mind. Make it your rule to use a wireless connection to navigate and get traffic on the road. Entertainment can wait.
In-Car Internet: How to make a hotspot in your car
How to turn your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Any communication while driving a car is very convenient, useful, and sometimes necessary not only for the driver, but also for his passengers. In addition to traditional cellular communication, without which today can not do without not a single person on the planet, we have entered a new era of technology, when the important attention of man has become the Internet. Just a few years ago the Internet in the car seemed like something fantastic, today it is an everyday technology, which no longer surprises anyone. Access to the global network from the cabin of the car helps the motorist and his passengers to be always (to be) aware of the most useful information, allows us to attach our child (children) during long car trips to something interesting for their age. Unfortunately, not many people (motorists) today know how to create and at the same time configure “Wi-Fi access point in the car”. Today we will try to tell you (the readers) how you can do it yourself without resorting to outside help.
In order to access the Internet and to realize it all from the car, you can use different types and methods of connection, there are several. Let’s talk about each type and method of connection separately. First of all, you should know for yourself that there is a huge difference between creating an access point yourself and between that Wi-Fi access point, which at the factory has already been integrated into the car beforehand. You should also know that the access point requires a mobile SIM card and preferably with an unlimited internet plan.
And so, we begin our explanation, let’s find out what you need to configure the Internet in the car and how to access information about the world’s largest database.
Use your smartphone.
We are sure that most car owners who want to set up an Internet access point from the car have a phone, i.e. a smartphone that has access to the Internet. With this smartphone you will be able to create a mobile Internet access point in any car you want.
The main advantage of using a phone to create a “Wi-Fi access point” is that it is easy to configure, easy to use and of course the cost, which will actually be “0” (zero), since you will be using just your phone to access the global network.
If you create a “Wi-Fi hotspot” with your cell phone, you will not need to purchase any other additional (new)
device for the car, as well as to create a new contract for cellular communication, i.e. to buy a new SIM card for access to the network. You see, everything is simple. By creating a hotspot, you’ll be using your personal phone’s internet.
But still, there are a few certain things (positions) that you should remember when using your phone as an access point in your car. For example, despite such a very convenient way to create “Internet access” in the car using your phone, this method of access to the network is considered the worst of all possible.
The point here is this, creating such a “Wi-Fi access point” the battery of the phone (your phone) will be discharged twice as quickly as with normal use. Therefore, in any case, your smartphone will need (will need) a car charger adapter.
All newer, modern cars today usually have one or two USB sockets with which you can connect your phone to the power supply of the car and charge it (smartphone) through a USB cable or a special USB charger. Older cars do not have USB connectors. In this case, the phone must be charged via the cigarette lighter with a car telephone 12V adapter. In some cars, when you connect the phone to the USB, the phone software is automatically integrated with the car’s infotainment system. As a result, you can use the Internet (network) of the phone on the screen of the center console.
But in this case, you will use only your SIM card installed in your phone and with a contract which must be present (laid in the program) universal voice communication with access to the Internet. To our great regret, all existing today’s cellular contracts in Russia, as a rule, cannot boast of their favorable rates for the universal use of the phone as a call and as the same device for access to the Internet.
For example, most of these (similar) tariffs have conditionally unlimited traffic for the Internet, they usually have a limit on the amount of data received, and when you reach this limit Internet speed noticeably begins to fall and so on, until the end of the outgoing month. In this case you have two options. The first option is to wait until this period is over in order to start accessing the Internet at a normal speed, and the second option is to increase the monthly or daily Internet traffic limit for extra money. In the end, such (such) universal cell phone plans can be very, very expensive for you, especially if you create your own Internet access point in the car.
For cheaper network access via cellular communication, well as for extended data transfer limit, in any case it is most advantageous to purchase a separate contract of the cellular company, which is designed specifically for mobile Internet. But in this case you will need to buy a separate SIM card. But there is a “but”, if your phone is not equipped with the ability to install two SIM cards in it, then to create a network access point in the car, you will have to insert this new SIM card into the phone instead of your main card, which you usually use for voice communication.
Then in that case, you will no longer be able to use the phone for normal conversations, which will not be very convenient for you. There is an option to buy a second phone (smartphone) or a dual-sim phone, but this time you’ll need two chargers or two separate USB cables and an adapter for two USB sockets in case you have only one USB slot in your car. Agree with us, it’s not very convenient or comfortable to have extra wires sticking out in your car.
Get a 3G/4G Wi-Fi USB modem.
If you have a smartphone or carry a tablet or perhaps a laptop, these devices can connect to a “hotspot” via Wi-Fi. So instead of using your phone as an “access point”, why don’t you use one of your devices to access the global Internet, thus connecting it to another access point that has the advantage.(?) For example, we could be talking about a mobile Internet USB modem, which is quite capable of handing out Wi-Fi.
First, it is very easy and simple to install a USB modem in the car. You just need to buy it at any store of cellular communications. The average cost of USB modems with Wi-Fi distribution is somewhere around 1400 rubles. Buying a modem you do not need to configure anything in the car or create your own “access point” in it. Paying a little more than 1000 rubles you get ready and configured “access point”. You need only, just insert the modem in a USB slot of your car and connect via W-Fi your phone (or tablet) to the access point USB modem.
Also, this USB modem in the car will save you money (depending on your existing cellular contract for voice data and from the same cellular contract for Internet access). Let’s compare together the most popular cellular company contracts today for Internet access, using various electronic devices.
Tariff: Internet S.
Subscription fee: 350 rubles per month.
The volume of traffic included in the subscription fee: 3 GB.
The cost of more traffic volume over the limit: 1GB=150 rubles.
Subscription fee: 350 rubles per month.
The volume of traffic included in the subscription fee: 3 GB.
The cost of more traffic above the limit: 2GB=250 rubles.
Tariff: Internet package 7GB.
Monthly fee: 299 rubles per month.
Traffic volume included in the subscription fee: 7 Gb.
Cost of extra traffic volume above the limit: 3GB=150 rubles.
Tariff: “Internet Forever + Highway 8 GB”.
Subscription fee: 600 rubles per month.
Traffic volume, included in the monthly fee: 8 Gb.
Cost of traffic volume increase over the limit: 70Mb=20 rubles.
As you can see, special tariff plans of cellular companies are more profitable than many tariff plans of regular contracts, which are offered for voice data and for going online.
The versatility of these USB modems is undeniable. Especially for using them in cars. You can plug it freely into a regular car USB socket, you can plug it into a USB charger adapter, and you can also plug it into an adapter that will turn your 12-volt car cigarette lighter into a USB socket.
Using a 3G/4G/LTE USB modem in the car itself is very convenient because in this case there are no extra wires in the car. The only disadvantage of these devices is the lack of integration of the mobile Internet with the infotainment system of the car. For example, by installing such a USB Wi-Fi modem you get an “Internet access point” for any electronic devices at once. But no more than that (it must be remembered). Among other things, we must not forget that you will have to pay monthly (separately) for your Internet in the car, as part of the contract that you will buy to the USB modem.
But if your ultimate goal is just to create an ordinary “Internet access point” for you and your passengers to use, then you will not find a better solution on the market at the moment. It’s the best offer yet.
Buy a car with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and Internet access.
Buying a new car in the showroom, before the purchase, as a rule, we usually consider several types of options, as well as decide what additional options to equip this future (your) car. If the Internet is very important for you, then when buying a car find out in advance from the seller whether the carmaker has an option “mobile built-in Wi-Fi access point” for network access.
After all, if you buy your car with a factory-installed “access point,” you’ll save yourself the trouble of buying additional devices in the future.
Remember that the factory “hotspot” in the car is in any case more efficient and better integrated into the car. In addition, its mobile data transmission can be much better than with the same phone or USB modem. For example, that factory “Wi-Fi hotspot” may have a better receiving antenna or a better signal booster, allowing for a more stable cellular signal hold and faster Wi-Fi data transfer speeds.
But a more modern technology for accessing the Internet from your car these days is the innovative solution of integrating communication systems with the car’s infotainment integrated system. For example, in some of today’s cars there is now a technology that allows you to use the screen on the center console as a monitor to access the network directly. For example, in such modern cars you can use the screen itself to navigate on the online Google or Yandex map, which are already on the Internet.
Also, with the help of such technology you can freely listen to Internet radio in the car while driving, watch video clips or view photos from the network, which is very useful for the comfort of your passengers.
That is, in such cars, you can use all the possibilities of the existing modern Internet, just as you do from your phone, tablet, laptop or personal computer. And also, in some models of cars, you will be able to access the software of the vehicle remotely for yourself. For example, when you’re at home or away from the car, you can easily access your car remotely, even check the battery level (a very useful feature in hybrid and electric cars).
Also, you can remotely from your computer send (electronically) the command to warm up the engine and the car interior, and at the same time, including sending your future route on the map set by you on the computer, which you have pre-programmed for yourself on your computer or any other electronic device. Agree, this amazing technology greatly expands the boundaries of your interaction with your car.
So what car companies are offering these capabilities today? Nowadays such cars are produced by many automobile companies, starting from Audi, BMW and Bentley cars, up to more rare car brand “Tesla”. True, the cost of such cars is not small. So you’re unlikely to find such technology in cheaper car brands today. But in the near future, such integrated technology will begin to appear on other cars in the average price segment. Well and then, of course, this technology will come in the global mass car market. How fast this will happen will depend on the development of the technology itself, for data transmission via mobile communications.
Mobile data technology is developing very quickly and rapidly. Very soon we will see the emergence of 5G mobile data transmission, which will usher in a new era of mobile Internet development. This technology will make it possible to transmit data at very high speeds, which will eventually equal the speed of mobile Internet with traditional fiber-optic cable connections. This will make it possible in the future, over the air, to remotely update car software in a very short period of time.
Choose your internet service provider.
We have reviewed with you where we told our readers that it is more advantageous to buy special Internet cell phone contracts today than to just use the Internet at certain rates for voice communications. As you have seen above, mobile Internet rates in our country are quite conservative. Of course, this and it is understandable that the cost of services in different companies can vary significantly. But in general, all cellular companies now provide approximately the same list of services and amount of Internet traffic within a certain amount.
But there are exceptions, such as the company “Tele2” and the company “Yota”. But we want to draw your attention to the following, when choosing a service provider for access to mobile Internet, you should consider not the cost of the traffic itself, but the quality of such communication. Agree with us that if you pay less for mobile Internet and get for it a terrible quality of data transmission, you are unlikely to be happy that you saved so much money.
So remember, before you buy a particular contract of mobile Internet, it is better to study in advance the reviews on the Internet about the quality of data transmission by different cellular companies in your area or region. Also, check the official websites of cellular companies for 3G/4G coverage (see below). It is desirable that 4G coverage fully provides you with a reliable connection in those places where you will most often use the Internet in the car.
Please keep in mind that today 3G internet access covers quite a huge distance in Russia, while 4G internet speed is not yet available in all Russian cities and not all CIS countries (not to mention villages, towns and small settlements). Your “maximum” task is to buy a cellular contract of the company that provides a stable cellular signal with 4G coverage in your region or area of residence. This way you will get a stable mobile channel at high speed to access the Internet.
3G/4G coverage areas by cellular companies in Russia (for example, Moscow and Moscow region).
We offer you the actual 4G Internet coverage maps, which are taken from official sources:
Yota 4G Internet coverage area in the Moscow region.
4G coverage area of “Tele2” in the Moscow region.
4G coverage area of “MTS” in the Moscow region.
4G coverage area of “MegaFon” in the Moscow Region.
4G coverage area of Beeline in the Moscow region.
You can also check the 3G and 4G coverage directly at the official websites of these mobile companies.