BMW brings LTE connectivity to its vehicles (and others')

December 18, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Carmaker BMW is offering an LTE access device as an optional accessory part for his vehicles. The device acts as a router for up to eight mobile devices simultaneously, bringing high-speed and low-latency mobile internet access to the road.

Apart from the BMW Car Hotspot LTE an LTE-capable SIM card is required. 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. If the mobile device is equipped with an NFC interface, the WLAN connection is automatically established simply by briefly placing the NFC-capable device on top of the LTE Hotspot. According to BMW, 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, Project Manager BMW Car Hotspot LTE Development.

If the customer’s device is not NFC-capable, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE also offers WPS (WiFi Protect Setup) as a 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.

The accessory piece 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 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. Thus, the hotspot can be used in any vehicle.

Equipped with a built-in battery pack, the BMW Car Hotspot LTE can even be used outside the vehicle. Away from an external