Is Wi-Fi in the Car Worth It? – Review Geek
Car internet systems are becoming more common by the day, and once your free trial ends, you may be wondering if in-car Wi-Fi is worth the price. It’s important to know how it works, how it’s different from sharing your phone’s connection, how fast the internet will be in your car, and what to expect before paying.
There are several benefits to having Wi-Fi in your car. Many people see it as a connection for tablets and laptops during a road trip, but that is just one of the many advantages. Here are the basics and what you need to know.
Getting Wi-Fi in your car is similar to using Wi-Fi at home, and you connect the same way with a Wi-Fi name and password. The only difference is that your car uses a cellular signal, like your smartphone. Homes have an internet receiver that transmits to nearby devices through a router, and a car does the same. So, while your home probably uses a dedicated ISP, often with wired cables, vehicles connect to the Internet through a cellular data connection.
Keep in mind that a car Wi-Fi router won’t be as powerful as the one you use at home, but they’ll be more than strong enough to send a signal to surrounding devices.
You can surf the web from your car while sitting in the back seat or on a park bench, as long as you are close enough to the car. Many systems can transmit the Internet up to 10 meters away.
Most new cars come with a free internet connection trial because many people realize how great it is when they have had it for a few months and eventually buy it. Without a trial period, most would skip it and use a phone hotspot instead.
Fortunately, the price of in-car internet is relatively affordable, although it varies based on the vehicle type, internet speeds, and the features you want or need.
Car Internet typically costs between $10 and $50 per month. For one of our employees, her Subaru cost about $35 a month for unlimited data with 4G LTE speeds. Most vehicles support the latest dual-band technology and can connect multiple devices at the same time. Optionally, you can get cheaper internet in the car if you don’t need unlimited data.
Depending on the manufacturer, you may be able to purchase weekly, monthly, or annual Internet plans. For example, adding internet in the car for a week during a road trip with the family is a good idea. And did you know that you don’t even need a new car to get WiFi? Some brands like AT&T offer add-on modules†
How fast is the internet in the car?
The speed of the internet in your car can vary for a number of reasons and it may not achieve the same internet speeds as at home. First, you’re in a moving vehicle instead of sitting at a desk or couch, and the signal is somewhat blocked by the vehicle’s frame and roof. That said, expect speeds comparable to those of a smartphone while in a moving vehicle.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a car receiver and router probably won’t be as powerful as the ones in your home. They are smaller and are not plugged into an unrestricted power outlet. Instead, it offers a combination of speed and performance without straining the electrical system and battery.
Streaming Netflix on a tablet in the backseat is perfect for traveling with kids, and internet in the car can certainly make work on the go easier. However, these are just some of the many benefits available.
Most people think of car internet as a form of entertainment, but today it is much more than that. A good example is Tesla, which uses an internet connection to stream TV to passengers, play games, sing karaoke or issue recall updates and fixes.
Many new vehicles come with a range of connectivity features and services. Some of these are connected parking, built-in maps that are constantly updated, digital car keys, emergency services or working alongside GPS tracking.
And let’s not forget about wireless remote software updates. As cars get smarter and drive fully electric, we see that more and more brands are taking advantage of the fact that they always have power and internet. No one wants to get a recall and have to take a day off, drive to the dealership, wait forever and end up having their car repaired.
Today, many automakers can push updates, new features, or recovery notifications directly to the vehicle in a software update while you stay at home.
Car Wi-Fi is definitely worth the money. As we mentioned above, internet or Wi-Fi in your car is good for more than just entertainment on laptops or tablets. Being able to get over-the-air software updates for any recalls, upgrades, or new features of the latest Tesla, and more importantly, emergency service support makes it totally worth it.
A subscription to in-car Wi-Fi is perfect for personal and business use, navigation, keeping your eyes on the road instead of a phone, software upgrades, maintenance and even reliability. Today there are more reasons to have it than ever before, and we’re seeing more with every new car that comes out.
We also noticed that the internet in some cars can get a signal while our phones can’t. This is because the mobile data receiver in a vehicle is larger than the small one in your phone and can potentially pull a signal while you are in a remote location, on an adventure or traveling and need directions.
As you can see, multiple reasons can justify spending a little extra money each month to browse the internet in the car. Especially when you can get daily, weekly or monthly subscriptions. But in the end, it’s up to you and your family whether it’s worth it or not.