Cars with WiFi? I don't get it.

  • Anonymous
  • 0 replies

Does anyone understand what's supposed to be such a big deal about the new cars with built-in WiFi? I presume that this is a service to which you have to subscribe and pay a big monthly fee. My wife often likes to use her iPad when we travel. I just kick on my T-Mobile hotspot and let her surf. We never get near my tethering limit. I wonder why T-Mobile doesn't point in their advertising that you don't need a WiFi car if you have T-Mobile's Hotspot feature.

10 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +12

Well my car sends me a reminder, and I can setup an appointment from my car to my preferred dealership.  I am lazy like that.  

Userlevel 3
Badge +13

Certain cities (i.e. Denton, TX) have city wide wifi available to anyone living within city limits (and can prove it with say a utility bill). Could a car equipped with this wifi connect to such a city wifi?

I suppose it might depend upon whether the car is the station broadcasting, if you will, or whether the car is receiving from another transmitting source.

Userlevel 4
Badge +9

Certain cities (i.e. Denton, TX) have city wide wifi available to anyone living within city limits (and can prove it with say a utility bill). Could a car equipped with this wifi connect to such a city wifi?

Userlevel 7
Badge +13

most people have laptops, tablets etc that are not on any network any i can see tossing one into the back seat so the kid(s) will hopefully stay semi quiet on longer drives lol.


i would much rather listen to Shrek and not both kids screaming about the other being on their side of the seat etc etc.

Userlevel 3
Badge +13

I see car Wi-Fi being a lot like OnStar. It gives the dealers and manufacturers something else to sell. And I guess I can see the benefit that the vehicle could upload and download be it software firmware or other data like operations and engine transmission data things like that.

Remote start ( in AZ when its hot outside, When in the check out line, I use this to cool down car so my food does not fry when I get in )- remote lock - Remote find when I forget where I parked. A good number of reasons to use the car WiFi.

What gets me is why can I not change providers when I want. My new Jeep has AT&T @ $30 p/month. I would love to connect it with my t-mobile account. But how?

my 2012 xle camry intune radio with apps and navigation uses my phone data but true why have a car that has Wi-Fi and what provider will it have seems useless when you can just use your phone data per say if you only drive one hour a day or even 2 or 3 still not going to be able to take that Wi-Fi with you home or to the store or park phone data works better go's with you everywhere besides hackers can also get in your cars Wi-Fi this can become a big problem

Userlevel 6
Badge +15

I agree. Car Wi-Fi wouldn't benefit me either. Seems like it would cost more than what it's worth. I guess if you're doing a lot of road trips with multiple people, maybe. I'm seeing OnStar with 4G LTE looks to be kinda pricey too. It seems to include other features as well so I think that whole "spy" thing you mentioned might be a part of the service @smplyunprdctble‌. 😜

Well, I find that the car charger keeps up with the battery drain caused by tethering and there will be little need to tether more than five devices at once. My van carries a maximum of 7 and the other vehicles carry 5, including the driver, who shouldn't be messing with an iPad.

Userlevel 5

My hypothesis is the car manufacturers may be working on their own custom traffic nav options (instead of integrating with XM).  Particularly when it comes to map updates (ya know, people relying on their smartphones instead of vehicle hardware).

Add in to it the option of stats constantly being sent back to the dealer to give people better reminders of when they'll be due for servicing (not everyone travels their oil change time in the exact same number of months every time).

People aren't going to add an option to have them spied on to determine when oil changes are going to happen.  But, when they advertise "Hey, you can connect to WiFi with your car", they don't think about what other things the car could be doing with that power.

The question is which provider is car WiFi going through?  I recall a post at some point in the past someone saying their car had a T-Mobile SIM.  If T-Mobile is selling WiFi on cars, they don't want to say "Hey, you can tether instead!".  If it's something similar to Project Fi where it will go on to the stronger network, that could be great for anyone who travels outside their coverage zone.

I guess the other question is what are the limits and price of the Car WiFi.  Most devices seem to limit 5 connections and the battery drain is intense.  A car can probably do more and it can probably do a decent amount of WiFi while the car is off without risking a drained battery.

That said, I don't see the need for car WiFi for me.  I'd like my car to be able to connect to my WiFi at home to be able to "spy" on me [mine doesn't offer either].