There’s no doubt that Wi-Fi connectivity (to use Internet services) has become essential in today’s world. We need it for a variety of applications; from socializing with family and friends and streaming movies and TV shows to sending e-mails and keeping tabs on what’s happening around the world. Therefore, having a WiFi facility in your car would be a great advantage, especially if you’re traveling or going on a long road trip.
But, how can you get Wi-Fi in a continually moving vehicle? Let’s explore six of the easiest ways to get Wi-Fi in your car.
The simplest way to get WiFi in your car is through a smartphone. If you already own a smartphone, you do not need anything else. You can use your smartphone’s hotspot feature to create an ad hoc network through your phone’s data connection. Once you initiate the mobile hotspot by using a particular app or turning it on through the smartphone’s settings, the phone will primarily serve as a modem and a router.
Any device that wants to connect to your smartphone’s network will need to enter the password you’ve set on the phone. When a device successfully connects, it will basically be using your phone’s data to access the internet. The only evident drawback to this method is that it will exhaust your internet data pretty quickly, especially when there are multiple devices connected to your phone.
Performing simple tasks such as checking and sending emails, and Google searches will be all right. However, if you plan to stream videos along the way, it’s not the best option. It’ll not only finish your data allowance reasonably fast but also drain your smartphone’s battery.
2. Mobile Hotspot
Contrary to smartphone hotspot, mobile hotspot frees you from worries of excessive data usage and battery drainage. A mobile WiFi hotspot, also known as mobile broadband, is a steadfast solution that allows you to access the internet through a dedicated device. The device uses mobile networks to provide internet connectivity anywhere within the cellular signal range.
These devices are available with different features. While some allow you to use a SIM card, others only support a specific mobile carrier. Usually, carrier-specific mobile broadband devices offer a cost-effective monthly data plan from the carriers themselves. Standard monthly data allotments range from 2GB to 4GB; however, you can opt for a higher monthly plan according to your need.
A mobile hotspot device is a better option compared to a smartphone hotspot. However, you will have to go through the process of finding a suitable device within your budget and specifications.
3. Wireless Modem/Router
Although this method is not very budget-friendly, it is the most reliable solution to get Wi-Fi in your car. Set up a permanent wireless modem and router pair in your vehicle. There is a considerable initial installation work associated with this technique. Nevertheless, if you know your way with cables and networks, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Generally, a wireless modem/router in your car is not portable, but you can opt for a device with a cradle. You only need to install the cradle permanently. The device will rest in the cradle, and you’ll be able to remove it if necessary.
A wireless router and modem provide significantly higher signal strength than other car Wi-Fi methods we discussed above. The ADSL router might also include Ethernet and USB ports that will allow you to connect to the device with a cable directly. Even though such devices are expensive and it’s the least portable solution, you’ll be sure to have speedy, efficient internet access across the areas you get cellular radio signals.
4. Built-in Wi-Fi
Some advanced vehicles of today come equipped with built-in Wi-Fi access. Therefore, if you plan to buy a new car soon, you should consider selecting the one with a pre-installed wireless internet system. The only drawback here is that such advanced vehicles are not cheap. But if you consider buying one, it will be worth it. You won’t have to go through the hassle of buying, installing, or maintaining any Wi-Fi equipment.
Car connectivity features also deliver a lot more functionality compared to a smartphone or a mobile hotspot. For example, the built-in cellular data connection with Wi-Fi gives you access to Internet radio and in-vehicle safety and security features apart from basic Wi-Fi connectivity for all your devices.
However, keep in mind that you have to purchase a data plan from any service provider in your area. It is easier said than done because you need to consider many factors to snag a good deal. These factors include the availability of service in different areas, the bandwidth they offer, internet speed, and cost.
5. Get a 4G Wi-Fi Dongle
A 4G Wi-Fi Dongle is a portable, compact device that is affordable and efficient. Some Wi-Fi Dongle devices offer a USB connection that you can attach to your laptop and create a Wi-Fi network for any device. Other 4G Wi-Fi Dongle products might not directly connect to a computer but will provide Wi-Fi connectivity by accessing the cellular data network.
Either way, a 4G Wi-Fi Dongle device is a breeze to set up and use. Moreover, its compact size allows you to carry it around without any hassle. It is very lightweight, which makes it the best option for long trips. For those who frequently travel abroad, the 4G Wi-Fi Dongle can even provide connectivity in another country. You can download files, send e-mails, stream video, and much more. Just make sure you keep an eye on your data limit.
What’s more, is that you can even rent a 4G Wi-Fi Dongle for a one-time trip where you’ll need access to the internet. However, you may or may not get suitable cellular data signals at the place you are visiting. The device might not provide desirable internet connectivity in an area with low signal strength. Additionally, the device might specify a daily data usage limit, which will restrict you from carrying out too many downloads at a time.
A few limitations aside, this is an ideal way to get WiFi in your car, especially for those who are always on the move or need to take their work with them wherever they go.
6. Tether Your Smartphone or Tablet
You can tether your smartphone or tablet by using a smartphone hotspot, Bluetooth, or a USB cable. We’ve already discussed how you can use the smartphone’s cellular data network to provide internet connectivity to other devices, so let’s explore the remaining two tethering methods.
Tethering by Bluetooth requires you to turn on the Bluetooth function and connect it to the other device. Once both devices have their Bluetooth turned on, allow one device to obtain a connection to the internet via Bluetooth. Tethering by a USB cable, on the other hand, needs a physical connection between the two devices. Both methods are fast and straightforward to implement; however, for USB connectivity, you’ll need to carry an extra cable with you.
Thanks to the advanced technologies, it is now straightforward to get WiFi in your car. It doesn’t matter if you are an avid traveler or you have to complete your work on the go; you can choose any of the six methods described above to get WiFi in your car. What way do you use to connect to the internet in your vehicle? Please share with us in the comments section below.