Wi-Fi in Cars: A Driving Technology

Ever wondered how to get a Wi-Fi connection in your car? When you’re in the passenger seat on a long road trip or even just streaming a podcast on your morning commute, a stable connection is becoming a standard for motorists. 

However, J.D. Power notes that Wi-Fi connectivity is usually limited. Even though your new car might have capabilities– and you may receive a free trial period– establishing a 24/7 Wi-Fi connection requires you to read the fine print. Luckily, there are plenty of options to explore.

What are the advantages of getting Wi-Fi in your car?

You use Wi-Fi at home, at work, and while on the go, but having the technology built into your car presents unique advantages.

  • Better, more reliable signal – When you establish a Hotspot with your cellphone, you use your phone’s reception and antenna to receive and transmit the signal. Your car has a much larger antenna and more power, which often results in a stronger, more reliable signal for all to enjoy.
  • One-time use and monthly plan options – Providers are making it easy and affordable to get one-time data packages, monthly subscriptions, or even add car data to your existing mobile plan.
  • Reduced phone data and battery usage – Mobile data is a precious resource, especially if you have the whole family on one plan. Using the car’s Wi-Fi instead of your phone’s can help save some of that data, as well as the life of your phone battery.

Those advantages can appeal to just about anyone in the market for a new car, but they aren’t the main driving force behind the technology.

How can you get Wi-Fi in your car?

According to Allconnect.com, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to setting up Wi-Fi in your car. Plenty of service providers offer devices designed for cars, and it’s easy to add this feature to your existing Internet plan. Plus, even cars without built-in Wi-Fi capability can handle this equipment. Since they don’t rely on cellular data, you can expect a connection that better resembles the experience of a home router. 

If you’re looking for Wi-Fi capability that’s built into your car, you may want to check out new car models. That said, J.D. Power emphasizes that these plans don’t always come with unlimited data, so it’s essential to take a closer look at what you’re getting. Not to mention, built-in Wi-Fi is not the same as free Wi-Fi. You’ll have to get a monthly plan or annual subscription with a service provider to get service.

Is car Wi-Fi worth it?

There’s no doubt turning your car into a rolling hotspot is convenient, but the real potential benefit is added safety and ease of maintenance.

As Tesla has shown us, in-car data connections are useful for implementing essential software updates, something a third or more motorists often fail to do independently. Using the vehicle’s Wi-Fi capabilities to roll out massive software updates could reduce costly recalls for manufacturers and increase everyone’s safety on the road.

Given its convenience and safety applications, car manufacturers continue to release models with Wi-Fi capabilities. And who knows, with 5G technology and AI on the rise, our cars could become very smart very soon.