A car Wi-Fi device lets you turn your vehicle into a moving ball of wireless internet. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Car Wi-Fi is - get this - Wi-Fi in your car. Okay, that much is obvious.
It's a dongle that connects to the 12V connector in a vehicle, and transmits a Wi-Fi signal to a small area around it. That means that as long as you have network coverage, you're basically driving around in a little bubble of internet access.
This is useful for a number of reasons. It means you save your phone's data while out and about. It means you can work from pretty much anywhere with network coverage. And while you can't (and shouldn't!) browse the web while rocketing along the roadways of Britain, it's a great tool for keeping your other passengers busy while you drive.
Which providers offer car Wi-Fi?
Sadly, not every mobile operator in the UK currently offers in-car Wi-Fi. That said, a quick look at our comparison results will show you three that do.
The Buzzard 2 plugs directly into the dashboard, and lights up so you can even use it in the dark. It also functions as a USB adapter, so you can plug a phone in and charge it up while you're connected to the hotspot.
There are lots of plans available, with data allowances ranging from 2GB to a hefty 62GB a month. You can check EE's car Wi-Fi plans here:
The Huawei RoadFi is available from Three. Set it up in the car, and you can have up to 10 devices connected to Wi-Fi at the same time.
As you'd expect, the Three car Wi-Fi dongle is available with a variety of data bundles, ranging from a relatively slim 2GB to a generous 20GB. Alternatively, you can just buy the device outright, and look for a data-only SIM plan elsewhere.
Like Three, O2 uses a Huawei 4G in-car Wi-Fi device, capable of connecting multiple devices simultaneously. It also has a USB on the top so you can charge your phone or tablet while trundling down the motorway.
You can get the device on a pay as you go basis, or on contract, with monthly data ranging from 2GB up to 40GB.
What's good about car Wi-Fi?
- Wide range of plans available to suit everyone from casual users to data-hungry maniacs
- Plug into your 12V adapter, so no need to worry about batteries or charging
- Let you charge your phone while driving
- 4G compatible, so you can get a really fast connection
- Compatible with almost any car
- Light up so you can easily use them in the dark
- Up to 10 devices can connect to the hotspot at once
- Great for keeping kids and bored passengers quiet on long journeys
What's bad about car Wi-Fi
- More expensive than some dongles
- Only available through a few networks
- Dependent on network coverage to work
- Can't browse the web while driving (seriously, don't do this!)
- Light users could theoretically use their phone as a hotspot instead
If you'd like to know more about mobile broadband, check out these handy pages: