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A man who purchased Chrysler's uConnect in-car wi-fi recently gave his impressions... and he wasn't exactly impressed. His three main issues were: it's slow, there are no instructions for encryption, and you're limited to 1 GB for downloads.

The Autonet site lists speeds as 600Kbps-800Kbps, and the reader didn't give any idea of the speeds, but he said the router had a hard time keeping an EVDO connection and would go to 1x. Autonet says the "connection is secured with WEP encryption, MAC address restriction or WAN port restricton," but according to the reader, it isn't shipped with any encryption in place and the manual doesn't tell you how to do it or even that you need to do it.

As for the 1 GB cap, that's for the $29 plan. There's a $50 plan that gets you 5 GB, which would be the way to go if you really are going to have the kids on YouTube in the back seat. Of all he writes about, it seems the biggest gripe is the speed -- nothing like trying to watch a 30-second clip that takes eight minutes to download. That's not a minor drawback, but for the convenience of using any wi-fi equipped device, and not having to listen to that American Girl DVD again, it could be worth it.

UPDATE: The co-founder of Autonet Mobile, Doug Moeller, contacted us after reading this post to address some of these issues. He says the user was in a rural area of Vermont where coverage is very poor, so he was moving between 1x networks and no network at all. In fact, the area didn't have any of the EVDO networks that the company supports. Autonet's device can handle maintaining connections as you move between 1x, EVDO-0 and EVDO-A networks very well, but not much can be done if there's no network at all. Also, they don't do usage based billing so it's impossible to get a $800 bill. They even offered this customer a full refund, which is standard practice if anyone is unsatisfied with the service. Finally, Moeller offered Autoblog a unit to test, so look for our own hands-on review of the technology soon.

[Source: Gizmodo via Kicking Tires]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll stick with my mobile broadband via Windows Mobile and WMWiFiRouter on my HTC phone. Thanks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's a good idea in theory. It might be especially good for a company car where multiple people need to get work done that requires access to server or something.

      And exactly what kind of speeds do you expect? It's using a cellphone network?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't like all this tech in cars nowadays but you are missing something in your posts:

      Everyone gripes that you can get a cell phone card for your laptop that works better. True. But this system is not for the individual user. It's for familes with more than one system. My son and I both have laptops. If we are out somewhere with no wifi available we either go without or buy TWO cell phone cards. OR we use this system. And if we take a long his friend who also has a laptop he gets to go online too.

      As for encryption - I haven't seen one system yet that has built in encryption - or one that says "hey you better get encryption!". Well duh! It's assumed you know that and that you will purchase the security software and setup that fits your needs. Now I think it would be a good idea if they offered something optional for those who aren't tech savy, but really, the only people who will spring for this are usually the tech savy anyway.

      iPhone? I don't like the tiny screens on the laptops and you are telling me I can do all my web surfing on a iPhone?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds like tethering a cell phone is alot better/cheaper.
      Carlos
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is going to be a great idea soon, it just needs some refinement, once Chrysler works out all of the bugs, as with most new software based products, it should rock!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone consider what a laptop flying off that table at highway speeds of 115 KPH (70 MPH) will do to your head?

      Hint, it would probably only do it once.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The two girls ARE buckled up. But that laptop isn't.

      So, at 6o mph x 10 pounds...that's a lot of force that it is going to be flying around the cabin with if the van rolls. Probably cut someones head off. Then they'll mandate laptops out of cars until someone invents some puffer fish style safety device for in-car lap toppage.

      Or someone smart will sue Chrysler for promoting unsafe driving/ riding whilst lap topping and get some of the 20-odd billion we (via our government) are about to loan them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        IMO, if you need that much s&^# when yo travel - and don't like reading books (or can't) take the train.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You'd have to prove first that the van is in motion in that white void.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why in gods name would you get this kind of tech built into your car? To make it lose value even faster? This is what the wireless providers have wireless cards for- my friend had a sprint wireless card that his last job paid for, doesn't anymore, but it was plenty fast on our road trip from seattle to the bay area in CA, and it very rarely lost signal. I was very pleased, and it was about $50/month.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Torrent, the internet on the iphone is a sad excuse for the internet as seen on a real computer. It's cheaper to get a cellphone and a wireless data card anyways.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Perhaps because you want Flash support?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Overpriced and under preforming. You can get a mobile broadband card and drive around with your laptop for that price. Not to mention use it for home internet.

      This is as big of a waste as paying $1000+ for an OEM's navi system when a $200 portable unit works nicely.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Are you able to connect multiple devices to that card? X-box, PS3, other laptops?

        It's an option, if you don't want it. Then don't order it.

        Yes portable navigation systems work fine, if you want wires hanging out, not to mention having to take the thing down every time you park so it won't get ripped off.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One word: iPhone.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Are we really that surprised?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good, it should suck, its a bad idea.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Its not a good idea, in any way. Its bad enough with morons texting while driving. The year is irrelevant. Frankly, were connected too friggin much thats all. But someday you will realize its overkill and realize everything you do is tracked and start complaining about it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Its not a good idea, in any way."

        +1

        "Its bad enough with morons texting while driving."

        +1

        "... someday you will ... realize everything you do is tracked and start complaining about it."

        +1

        Conversation. Too much to ask? Keeping quiet during the drive. Too much to ask?
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