Reliably networked: How to retrofit WiFi in your car

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Equipping cars with WLAN technology is an important issue for car manufacturers. “Connectivity”, the expression for the connection between machine, human and the Internet of Things, is also for older cars Interesting. Connectivity is a very promising topic in cars. WLAN in the car enables Internet use and communication with other vehicles and road users. WLAN for the car enables various functions. Below is an overview:

External control options

With WLAN for the car from far certain vehicle functions are controlled. This can include, for example, the air conditioning or heating. Thanks to the remote control, the driver can determine the temperature in the car before starting the journey. Switching lights on and off or central locking can also be controlled remotely.

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Use security features

Optionally, various Security features to be activated. These accident assistance functions are available in an emergency. This includes, for example, a SOS buttonthat connects the user directly to an emergency call center. Depending on the range of functions, an automatic call for help can be made as soon as the airbag is triggered.

Use route information

With WiFi and the right equipment in the car, destination information can also be received and route information used. For example, the user has the option of recognizing a traffic jam on the route or navigating to a specific destination. It is also possible to display the nearest bank or pharmacy. If the technology is compatible, apps can also be synchronized with the smartphone. However, this usually requires a compatible entertainment center in the vehicle.

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How can WLAN be retrofitted?

WLAN is necessary for smart connectivity in the vehicle. Furthermore, a WLAN internet connection must be able to be established. One that is firmly integrated in the vehicle hotspot or the option of integrating a SIM card must also be available.

1. WLAN by the manufacturer

Vehicle manufacturers offer options for networking the vehicle via WLAN. The system has a different name depending on the manufacturer. "Command Online" is the name of the smart networking at Mercedes, "ConnectedDrive" is what BMW calls it, and "Car-Net" is the name of the smart Volkswagen system. Depending on the vehicle model, a SIM card can be retrofitted and the appropriate data tariff is also available. The connection to the vehicle can often be made via a manufacturer-specific App produce. The quality of the connection between smartphone and vehicle can depend on the selected telephone tariff. In order to use the manufacturer-specific services, it is usually necessary to register the vehicle (online).

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1.1 Advantages: Additional digital advantages can be used with the manufacturer's own connectivity. The setup is very easy due to the manufacturer specificity and the vehicle manufacturers usually explain the setup.

1.2 Disadvantages: There are usually connection costs and additional monthly service fees may apply. The car must meet the connectivity requirements (Navigation system, specific radio system) be suitable. Certain services can only be used if a smartphone is available.

2. WLAN via iOS or Android app

Smartphones can be used in the vehicle and thus help the car to use WiFi. This works, for example, via apps like Carplay from Apple and Android's car. With the help of the apps, for example, built-in entertainment systems can be used.

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2.1 Advantages: Depending on the vehicle manufacturer and the costs of the manufacturer's own offers, WLAN can be used via smartphone apps cost-effective be. It can also be used flexibly. In addition, no additional hardware has to be purchased and no additional telephone tariff agreement has to be concluded.

2.2 Disadvantages: Android and iOS apps can not in all vehicles used, there may be compatibility problems. The vehicle and the smartphone must meet certain technical requirements. Depending on the age of the smartphone, a cable connection may be necessary.

3. CarFi hotspot

A hotspot solution for the vehicle can help with connectivity problems. The hotspots are available for the cigarette lighter, for example, and can be purchased as compact devices.

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3.1 Advantages: Can be purchased comparatively cheaply and can be used on the move in almost any vehicle. The items can also be purchased with a USB port and used to charge the smartphone.

3.2 Disadvantages: An additional SIM card and a new data plan may be necessary.

4. Internet connection through USB sticks

USB sticks, such as surf sticks, are primarily known for use on laptops. But there are also USB adapters for the cigarette lighter that allow the surf stick to be connected.

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4.1 Advantages: The option is comparatively cheap and can be used on a mobile basis. Furthermore, the surf stick for the tablet PC or laptop can also be used for the vehicle.

4.2 Disadvantages: A SIM card and a suitable data plan are required. Furthermore, compatibility problems can arise or the surf stick can only be used for one device.

WLAN in the car - a question of cost?

Additional costs are to be expected when using WLAN in the car. The prices differ depending on the retrofit method used. Attention should be paid to the cost of acquisition and ongoing costs. As a rule, the manufacturer's own retrofitting of WLAN and Internet in the vehicle is expensive. For example, there are also costs for extensive services. Depending on the manufacturer and package, for example over 300 euros per year attack.

The use of apps is free at first, because the apps can usually be downloaded free of charge from an app store. But it can follow-up costs come. Manufacturers can also demand money for the activation of certain functions (Carplay from BMW - 300 euros for activation) and it can close after a few years additional Costs come. It depends on the vehicle manufacturer whether ongoing charges can be expected.

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Surfstick and CarFi are comparatively inexpensive, because they only have to One-time costs the hardware can be paid from 20 to 80 euros. However, the data tariff must be observed and costs for SIM card and data usage must be expected.

If WLAN is to be used regularly in the car, then it is advisable to have one own SIM card and take out a good data plan. Prepaid offers can also be worthwhile if the data volume used in the vehicle is known.

Pay attention to the connection speed and network coverage

It is advisable to pay attention to the LTE speed when choosing the data plan. The hardware used should also LTE compatible be. In today's world, the slow internet connection is often insufficient to get information quickly.

Network coverage is also important, because if you want to use smartphones and WiFi in the vehicle, the internet connection must be strong. It is therefore important to ensure that the respective provider (Telekom, O2, Vodafone, etc.) has a sufficient network coverage has.

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At the end... Most of them can no longer avoid WLAN in their vehicles. Most modern vehicles have integrated manufacturer-specific systems. However, these use services that can cause additional monthly or annual costs. If you want to retrofit WLAN, you have more cost-effective options (Surfstick or CarFi).

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