Connectivity when on the move can be incredibly useful and adding a Wi-Fi hotspot to your car is much easier these days. There’s a big difference between just setting up a Wi-Fi hotspot and this already integrated into your car’s own systems. But if you do not have this functionality built in, then you can add it via your smartphone or using a dongle. Using your smartphone is a cheap and cheerful method of creating a wi-fi hotspot if you have a data connection and Wi-Fi tethering. Doing it this way means there is no need to buy a new device or set up a new contract, but this is pretty much the worst possible use for a smartphone in terms of power usage, you’ll burn through the battery far faster than you thought possible using it in this way. Plus you have to careful about your data consumption, especially if you go over your data allowance.
Using a 4G dongle or pebble is a better, if slightly more expensive, option. It is much simpler for start, once you have set up the dedicated Wi-Fi hotspot in your car it’s there all the time even without your smartphone plus there is no need to enable tethering, you’ll always have that hotspot available. In addition, although there is a small extra cost upfront to buy the dongle, you may actually save money in the long run depending on your existing smartphone contract and data usage. Set up is easy too, just plug into the cars USB socket or the 12V socket. On the downside you will need to set up some kind of contract or pay-as-you go arrangement with a data provider, but once that is done then using a dongle for to turn your car into a mobile hotspot is simple and hassle free. In the UK all the major networks offer mobile Wi-Fi units on contract and as a pay-as-you-go option. Three offers the best high speed 3G or 4G data coverage across the UK, but before you buy you should check which networks offer a strong 3G or 4G signal in the areas you’ll be driving in the most. Below we have chosen three of the best car Wi-Fi devices to turn your vehicle into a wi-fi hotspot along with a brief review:-
Huawei 4G In-Car wifi device – allows you can connect up to 10 devices and simply plug it into the 12V socket in your car. There is also a built-in USB port so you can charge your phone at the same time. Available on Pay & Go and Pay Monthly from O2.
Osprey 2 mini 4GEE Mobile WiFi – 4GEE WiFi from EE allows you to create your own personal WiFi hotspot. The osprey device plugs into your cars USB port and allows you to enjoy WiFi like speeds on the go with access to the UK’s fastest mobile broadband and support for up to 10 devices. Can be bought loaded with data on a pay-as-you-go basis or you can get it ona contract from EE.
Vodafone R206 modem – allows you to connect up to 5 devices and has a memory card slot for sharing files over your car Wi-Fi network. You can create a temporary hotspot and the device can be battery, mains or USB powered. PAYG or contract from Vodafone.