The newly launched BMW Car Hotspot LTE is now bringing LTE high-speed mobile internet access to the road. Just like a router in the home, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE provides internet access for mobile client devices. Passengers can enjoy high-speed internet surfing on as many as eight different mobile devices simultaneously. Using the new LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless technology, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE takes the mobile internet experience to a whole new level. “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.
All that is required apart from the BMW Car Hotspot LTE is an LTE-capable SIM card, which is simply inserted into the hotspot. The first time a mobile device is connected to the BMW Car Hotspot LTE using the mobile device’s WLAN interface, an eight-digit code must be entered. This is a one-off requirement. The procedure is even simpler if the mobile device is equipped with an NFC (Near Field Communication) interface. In this case, the WLAN connection is automatically established simply by briefly placing the NFC-capable device on top of the BMW Car Hotspot LTE. This is the first time NFC functionality has been offered in the car. “‘Plug and play’ is something of an overworked term, but this is the genuine article,” says Markus Dietz. And even if the customer’s device is not NFC-capable, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE also offers WPS (WiFi Protect Setup) as a further easy solution for establishing a WLAN connection. Using this method it is possible to establish a secure connection between the hotspot and a mobile device situated within a range of three metres simply by pressing the hotspot’s “connect” button once and without entering a PIN – an optimal in-car solution.
Suitable for use in – or outside – any vehicle
The BMW Car Hotspot LTE accessory is designed for optimal operation in any vehicle of the BMW Group equipped with a telephone docking station. The docking station provides the power supply and ensures optimal reception. When placed in the BMW docking station, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE connects to the internet using the vehicle aerial. This means that reception cannot be impaired for example by tinted windows, while also preventing radiation inside the vehicle. But it is also possible to use the BMW LTE Hotspot even without a docking station. In this case, using an optionally available adapter and mini-USB cable, the power is provided by plugging the BMW Car Hotspot LTE into the cigarette lighter. This means the hotspot can be used in any vehicle.
A built-in battery pack means that the BMW Car Hotspot LTE can even be used outside the vehicle. Away from an external power supply – for example on a picnic or inside a holiday apartment – the hotspot can provide internet access for about an hour. The built-in battery can then be recharged in about 30 minutes, either at a power socket or at the docking station. Needless to say, the device can also be operated during charging. In order to minimise radiation both in and outside the vehicle, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE offers a choice of reception range. The factory-preset range of about three metres is optimised for use inside a vehicle, but if necessary a ten-metre range can be selected, ensuring an optimal WLAN connection both inside and outside the vehicle.
LTE already extensively available
High-speed internet surfing with LTE requires access to an LTE-capable wireless network. Germany and Europe in general already offer extensive wireless LTE coverage. Particularly in rural areas of Germany, the Federal Network Agency has been doing much to speed the rollout of LTE networks. Germany is expected to offer full LTE network coverage by the end of 2014. If ever LTE is temporarily unavailable, however, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE automatically switches to lower-speed standards such as UMTS or Edge.