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Step by Step: How to Use In-Car Wi-Fi

Apr 20, 2018 08:07PM ● Published by Linda Ditch

Have you noticed that many of the new cars on the market come with Wi-Fi? Recently, I was given a Buick Regal TourX to test drive, and one of its options was Wi-Fi. So, just how does that work?

Setting up an in-car Wi-Fi is really pretty simple. If your mobile phone can be used as a mobile hotspot, your new car might allow you to connect the system through your phone. (Many cellular companies have mobile hotspot devices that can plug into your car’s USB port if your vehicle doesn’t have an internal Wi-Fi system.)

In the Regal TourX, there was a 4G LTE Wi-Fi system powered by OnStar. It allows up to seven devices to be connected to the system, and an advantage is that it’s powered by the car and not your phone. Often, this can give you a better signal. And like your home router, once you connect to the car’s network, you will always be connected, anytime you’re in the car.

The data come through AT&T. If you’re already a customer, it will just be added to your existing bill. New Buick owners get the first three months or 3GB of data free of charge. According to the AT&T website, you can get an unlimited data plan for $20 a month (other charges may apply, of course) or add it to your existing plan for $10 a month.

Once you have a plan, connecting is easy. With OnStar, you press the voice button, which pulls up a menu screen on the Regal’s dashboard. Click the Wi-Fi tab, and it gives you the network name and password. You can change the password either through OnStar or the Buick mobile app. Then you look on your phone for available Wi-Fi networks to find the one for the car. Just add the password, and you’ll connect.

It’s that easy! The service worked well as I drove around Woodstock and all the way to Boston. Whether on the highway or in the hills, I was always connected, both on my mobile phone and my laptop. Check with your Buick dealer or car dealer of choice for Wi-Fi friendly vehicles the next time you’re looking for a new set of wheels.

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