Awesome Ways To Get Your Car Online

car internet

Photo: Hot Hardware

It’s 2011 and it’s time to turn your car into a mobile hotspot.It’s a sensible move, too — you can keep up with email and placate your Facebook-addicted kids for long road trips or just for the daily commute.

In a world where nearly everyone has a smartphone in his pocket, the technology’s never been as practical or affordable as it is now.

We took a look at several car internet systems to see how they work and which one might be best for you.

Use your smartphone as a hotspot.

Your Android, iPhone, or other smartphone has options to use its data connection to create a small wifi network. Connect your laptop to this network and you'll have internet as you roll down the road.

BigPond is a huge service provider.

BigPond is a popular mobile broadband service provider with tiered plans. By use of a USB modem, you can get global internet access at pretty affordable rates.

Autonet Mobile designs internet systems for cars.

Autonet sells two broadband modems for use on the go -- a basic device for using one connection, and a more advanced one for use by an entire family. We're less than impressed with the price, however. 1 GB per month costs $30 and 5 GB per month costs $59.

Verizon Mifi is a popular alternative.

For a monthly subscription fee to Verizon, you can carry around the Mifi, a portable battery-powered hotspot, for internet access anywhere.

Prices range from $20 a month for 1 GB to $80 a month for 10 GB.

Sprint Overdrive works just like the Verizon Mifi.

If you prefer Sprint service, check out the Overdrive. It works exactly like the Mifi, ready to get your internet devices online.

An unlimited 4G plan is $50 a month.

MotoSat makes heavy duty stuff.

For those with RVs or those who don't mind big goofy satellite dishes on their cars, check out MotoSat. Their billing method is a little esoteric, so they've put together a billing calculator to figure out how much you owe each month.

BMW Connected iDrive looks great.

BMW has had a few different internet systems available for its cars since 2008 or so. Their newest one, not yet available, relies upon your iPhone's 3G connection for access to your email, media, and the Web.

BONUS: Ford is designing cars that can talk to each other.

That's pretty advanced technology.

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