5 Things You Must Know When Getting Wi-Fi For Your Car

In-car internet is a modern convenience that is quickly becoming a necessity. The benefits are far-reaching including better entertainment, improved communication, better navigation systems, by-the-minute traffic updates, vehicle performance stats, etc. But there are certain things you need to know before you decide to hop on the bandwagon.

Your choice determines the extent of convenience

There are a number of methods of getting Wi-Fi in your car, ranging from using your smartphone as a hotspot to purchasing a car with internet connectivity as an integrated feature. Most people assume and expect that they will get the same level of convenience as long as they have Wi-Fi installed in their car. In truth, some methods of connectivity are more limited than others. For instance, when using a smartphone, only the internet enabled features such as internet radio and navigation will function in the car. If you want full integration with the vehicle’s systems, your best option is buying the car with pre-installed internet features from the manufacturer. These are linked to the car’s computers and allow you to monitor the car’s systems and performance, such as checking the battery level or even running engine checks from the laptop or tablet.

Safety should be a major concern

Modern car manufacturers argue that the cars are secure from hackers because the on-board computers operate in a completely closed network; the Controller Area Network (CAN bus). However, installing Wi-Fi into your car provides a way for hackers to gain access to the CAN bus and gain control of your vehicle’s electronic systems. This concept was proven when a Jeep was hacked by a team of researchers through its Wi-Fi. If you’re thinking of getting Wi-Fi for your car, you should also consider installing cybersecurity measures such as a VPN and antivirus software.

Expect increased data costs

Regardless of the method you use to install Wi-Fi in your car, you should expect increased data costs. Since every internet-enabled system in your car will link to the same network, you will go through your data plan pretty fast. Although the increased cost is inevitable, the extent of the increase is dependent on your data provider. That is why it is important that you choose your data provider wisely and after much consideration.

Connectivity is not always guaranteed

This is yet another reason, choosing your data provider carefully is important. As you know, there are regions that get limited connectivity. How often you become a victim of such instances is again, dependent on the data provider. Even more so, you have to be careful about the strength of the data signal. Some providers guarantee 4G connectivity but limit it to select regions, leaving you with 3G connectivity most of the time.

Consider system accessories and upgradeability

These are two different but equally important considerations. First is how well your accessories work with the new Wi-Fi installation. For instance, if you decide to use a smartphone you will need sustainable charging. Another example is handsfree tech you’ll need for communication.

When it comes to upgradeability, keep in mind that mobile technology moves pretty fast. In a few years, there’ll be something much faster and more reliable than 4G networks. That is why you need to consider whether the system you install is upgradeable. For example, upgrading a fully integrated system requires the manufacturer’s involvement and might turn out to be impossible. On the other hand, all that’s needed to upgrade a dongle or MiFi device is to buy another one.

The Takeaway

Your choice of a data provider, the method of installation and the security of the car after installation are all things that determine your level of comfort or discomfort when getting Wi-Fi for your car. Making well-informed decisions about this could save you a lot of money and heartache in the future.