Chrysler's in-car wi-fi makes weak first impression

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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