Home » Chevy first company to incorporate Wi-Fi in all vehicles

Posted: June 27, 2015

Chevy first company to incorporate Wi-Fi in all vehicles

Do you ever wish you could use the Internet while on the road?

NS2Well now you can! Through OnStar, Chevrolet is the first carmaker to offer factory installed, built-in, Wi-Fi hotspots! As long as your vehicle’s on, your 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot will be ready to use with your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or any other wireless device. Perfect for any adventure!

You get better reception when you have 4G LTE Wi-Fi built into your car than you do on your smartphone. That’s because carmakers are able to use a bigger and better antenna than smartphone makers can cram inside your phone. And, you never have to worry about your phone running out of battery or experience the aggravation of having the person with the hotspot phone leave the car, cutting off Internet access and the kids’ movie streaming off of Netflix.

You can get 4G LTE Wi-Fi in cars, trucks and crossover vehicles built by Chevrolet, the first and only car company to make the option available on such a wide range of vehicles. Chevrolet’s OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi can connect up to seven devices, which should accommodate even the most data hungry family.

NS1Internet access isn’t a problem at home, but we don’t have Wi-Fi in our home away from home, our car. For now, I commandeer one of our three car chargers and use my smartphone to put up a Wi-Fi hotspot. But there’s a better way to get Internet access in your car—have it built in.

Starting in mid-2014 and working through its OnStar division, GM introduced built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi provided by AT&T and launched the service in certain 2015 model-year vehicles. The first three months or 3GB, whichever comes first, is free. Following this trial period, GM’s in-car Wi-Fi is available through a number of pricing plans, depending on whether the car owner is an OnStar subscriber.

The industry’s broadest deployment of 4G LTE connectivity technology will enable owners of these vehicles to explore new features like a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot capable of pairing up to seven devices, as well as improved access to existing OnStar safety and security services. It’s the most comprehensive in-vehicle safety and connectivity system available.

NS4OnStar with 4G LTE brings a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot into and around the vehicle. Pairable devices can include properly equipped laptop computers, smartphones, video game consoles or tablets. According to Strategy Analytics, 74% of tablets sold this year will be Wi-Fi only and as many as 91% in North America will be used with Wi-Fi as their only connection, meaning some cellular-enabled tablets do not have an active data plan. In most cases, OnStar’s 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hardware come as standard equipment.

Why do we need in-car Wi-Fi? 
While most car buyers may not have a need for Wi-Fi in vehicles — or for paying a separate data plan — it’s a feature that’s familiar to shoppers, and as such, easy to market, said Roger Lanctot, associate director of global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics. “Consumer demand for in-car Wi-Fi is low,” he said. “But everybody understands Wi-Fi, so it is something dealers don’t really have to explain in order to sell.”

Beyond creating rolling hot spots, he predicted the more prevalent use of in-car WiFi for over-the-air software updates, as Tesla does with the Model S. This could allow automakers to remotely handle software-related recalls repairs, which would mean fewer headaches for car owners since they wouldn’t have to bring their vehicles into dealerships.

Lanctot also said that Wi-Fi Direct is scheduled to appear in vehicles in a few years. “Wi-Fi Direct will become a major feature for portable device integration that Bluetooth can’t handle,” he said. “You can’t generally stream video over Bluetooth, for example.”

He added that Wi-Fi Direct is becoming a more common feature in smartphones and tablets. Automakers have had to wait for the technology to become available in portable devices before adding it to their cars.

“With any new technology, when it’s launched, the use cases and applications haven’t been defined,” he said. “If you look at technology adoption, when something new is developed, the innovators combine it with a service or feature to create something new,” he said. “I think that will happen with in-car WiFi.”

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This message funded by Northstar GM, Cranbrook

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