For Mercedes Owners, Wi-Fi Hotspots Ride Along
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
March 26 2012 10:45 AM ET
CREDIT: Brabus iBusiness
Now you can get Wi-Fi in your new Mercedes, or your old one for that matter. Mercedes dealerships will install an Autonet Wi-Fi router in trunks that create a mobile hotspot inside the car for iPads, laptops, smartphones — you name it.
The Mercedes Mobile Hotspot works the same way that a mobile hotspot card from a carrier works. You're paying for cellular data service to the router installed in your trunk, which then provides a short- range Wi-Fi signal for up to four devices inside the car.
But like the cars, Mercedes data doesn't come cheap — Autonet charges $29 a month for 1GB of data (which will run out quickly) and $60 for 5GB, enough for about TK movies/TV shows. So if you want to keep the kids occupied with streaming video on a trip, it had better be a short one. What else can you do with that much data? Check our data use chart.
The Mercedes‐Benz In‐Vehicle Hot Spot can be ordered with new vehicles or installed in existing models. The first six months of Wi-Fi service is free.
No Mercedes? No problem. Autonet routers can be purchased as after-market add-ons from Amazon and other retailers for installation in any car.
Gadget-happy drivers may welcome the news, but those from the automobile maker's homeland may not be so enthusiastic.
According to a survey from global safety certifier DEKRA, most drivers in Germany say that too many new electronics in passenger cars are difficult to manage. Further, 77 percent had trouble operating in-car devices. Women were more concerned about being distracted by devices than men. There was no difference in the responses between old and young — all were equally worried about distracted driving .
But concerns about distracted driving know no boundaries. Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed guidelines that would block all in-vehicle communications by a driver, including texting, dialing, Internet browsing, and entering a GPS address by hand. Next on the department's agenda are rules governing Internet devices brought into a vehicle by both drivers and passengers.