New cars are increasingly being fitted with their own built-in internet hotspots, and some even allow you to check up on a few things remotely. Now you can enjoy at least the hotspot aspect in any car with a cigarette lighter power socket. The EE Buzzard in-car 4G Hotspot simply slots into this and provides Wi-Fi internet connectivity throughout your car, and to anyone nearby who happens to have the correct details.
Installation is straightforward. First insert your SIM into the slot provided, which is protected by a plastic flap. Then plug the Buzzard into the car’s power socket, hold down the “on” button for a couple of seconds until it turns red, and wait until it turns yellow for a marginal 3G or 4G signal, or green for a good signal.
The Buzzard is then ready to use. The Wi-Fi connection details are written on the box in which the device is supplied, on a card you’re supposed to keep in a safe place, and also on the device itself – although for the latter you’ll have to take it out of the socket. Join the network and away you go. With a good 4G signal, you can watch streamed video over YouTube and BBC iPlayer as if you were on wired broadband.
This is a fully fledged router, too. You can log into it and access the management interface, which provides more detailed options. You can reconfigure the wireless LAN, including creating a guest network with reduced security, or add a MAC address filter so only known devices can connect. You can also add an IP filter, to block certain types of traffic. It’s even possible to set up virtual servers and port-forwarded applications, allowing you to do advanced things such as run a local web or game server.
The Buzzard can be installed alongside your satnav, too, if the latter uses USB for power. There’s a pass-through power connection so you can hook up another device. But there are a few car models that EE lists as incompatible, due to the location or configuration of their car power socket, so check before you buy.
Assuming your vehicle is supported, this is a great little device for taking the internet with you on the road, without having to rely on tethering a smartphone. Costing just £59.99 for a pay-as-you-go SIM, or £19.99 with a £11-a-month contract including 2GB of data, the Buzzard in-car 4G hotspot isn’t hideously expensive either.
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At time of review the EE Buzzard in-car 4G Hotspot was available for £59.99.