BMW has launched a 4G LTE hotspot for its cars, giving users high-speed mobile internet on the road. The device, which works like a router, is designed to give passengers internet access whether using a smartphone, tablet or notebook and can support up to eight devices simultaneously. It also has a built-in battery pack, meaning that it can be removed from the vehicle and used on the move for up to one hour before recharging. The device’s range can be adjusted from three meters to up to 10 meters, meaning that the hotspot can stay in the vehicle but users can still access the internet when standing outside of the car.
“The very fast bit rates and extremely low latency mean that an internet connection supported by the BMW Car Hotspot LTE is often even faster than a PC connection in the home,” says Markus Dietz, Project Manager BMW Car Hotspot LTE Development.Compatible with any new or existing BMW with a BMW telephone docking station, the LTE hotspot works via an LTE-compatible SIM card. Once inserted, each device needs to be registered via an eight-digit code and then it is ready to use.
However, because the LTE Hotspot also supports NFC (Near Field Communication), if a user’s device supports the technology, simply touching it against the hotspot will authenticate it and establish a high-speed internet connection. BMW claims that this is the first time NFC functionality has been offered in a production car. “Plug and play’ is something of an overworked term, but this is the genuine article,” says Markus Dietz. But maybe the best feature is that although it is designed to work seamlessly with a BMW car, because it can be connected to a vehicle via USB and has an input for an external power supply, the LTE Hotspot could potentially be used with any vehicle.