[New] Connected Cars, RVs & Boats – Integrated Mobile Internet Guide

With the power of the internet, product manufacturers are busy adding connectivity to virtually everything - doorbells, pet feeders, toasters, laundry machines - you name it!

Naturally, this trend includes all kinds of vehicles from cars to boats to RVs.

Nomads who want internet connectivity on the road often build that capability by assembling a mobile internet arsenal from multiple solutions. But increasingly, auto and RV manufacturers are adding factory-installed options for internet access as standard or optional equipment.

While a one-stop shopping solution can simplify the research phase, for the serious mobile internet user, these solutions may have compromises that make them less than ideal as a home internet replacement.

Can connected vehicle options be a useful addition to a nomad's mobile internet arsenal?

This guide will help you answer that question. Like most aspects of mobile internet, the usefulness of a connected vehicle to you will depend on your specific needs and situation.

Included in this Guide:

What is a "Connected" Vehicle?

For the purposes of this guide, a connected vehicle is a car, RV, or boat with internet connectivity either built-in to the vehicle's systems or as an option available directly from the manufacturer.

Sometimes the connectivity is integrated into the vehicle's control systems, but can also simply be a method to give passengers internet access.

We also include third-party mobile internet devices specifically designed to be mated with an automobile's internal system via the car's OBD-II (OBD - On Board Diagnostic) port - a standard feature on almost every car built since 1996.

This is a rapidly changing and evolving market as manufacturers and internet providers design and produce increasingly integrated and advanced systems.  This factor creates a lot of differences in terms of features and capabilities not only between vehicle manufacturers but also between models and model years.

Generally, the newer the vehicle the more advanced and integrated the features.

Connected vehicles provide two kinds of benefits:

  • Internet Access: In vehicle Wi-Fi so that devices and passengers can access the internet, usually via a cellular connection.
  • "Telematics" and safety features: Telematics for vehicles will usually combine GPS with onboard diagnostics and other sensors to provide detailed information about a vehicle's location, status, and performance. One example of this integration: a vehicle gets into a crash, sensors detect the crash and relay the information about the crash, including location, to an emergency service center, which can dispatch emergency services.

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