Home > Articles > Hardware > Upgrading & Repairing

How to Create a Wi-Fi Hotspot in Your Car (or Anywhere Around You) to Better Surf the Web

In this article, Jason R. Rich explains how to create a 4G mobile hotspot that can be accessed by any Apple iPhone or iPad to achieve Internet connectivity at speeds up to 10 times faster than a typical 3G wireless data connection. Using a 4G mobile hotspot device, up to four or five Wi-Fi enabled devices can access the Internet from virtually anywhere, including your own car.
Like this article? We recommend

All the Apple iPhone models, including the iPhone 4S, are capable of accessing the Internet using 3G wireless data connectivity via a wireless data service provider, such as AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, or Sprint PCS. In addition, the iPad and iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G models are capable making this type of Internet connection.

However, all iPhone and iPad models are also capable of accessing the web via a much faster Wi-Fi Internet connection. In addition to their 3G wireless data networks, the majority of the wireless data service providers have launched or are currently rolling out 4G or 4G LTE wireless data networks across America.

4G, 4G LTE (which stands for long term evolution), and LTE-Advanced are the next generations of wireless data communication. While these terms are used somewhat interchangeably, a true 4G network (or 4G LTE-Advanced network) is technologically capable of offering faster Internet connection speeds than a 4G LTE network.

Currently, a 4G LTE network offers Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than wireless 3G networks. While the Apple iPad 3 will most likely be 4G LTE–compatible, all preexisting iPhone and iPad models are not. But if you want to access the web using any Wi-Fi compatible device at 4G LTE connection speeds, including any iPhone or iPad, you can utilize an optional 4G mobile hotspot.

A 4G mobile hotspot requires a battery-powered device that's about the same size as an average cell phone. It can connect to a wireless data service provider's 4G (or 4G LTE) wireless data network, and simultaneously create a Wi-Fi hotspot that multiple devices can connect to simultaneously in order to access the web at broadband-like speeds.

Because the 4G mobile hotspot devices are battery-powered and portable, anyone who utilizes one of them can connect any model Apple iPhone and/or iPad to a 4G Internet connection from almost anywhere, including a moving car.

In addition to acquiring a 4G mobile hotspot device from a wireless data service provider, a monthly service fee is required, as is a two-year service contract (in most cases). The cost of the monthly service plan will be anywhere from $30.00 to $80.00 per month, depending on the monthly wireless data allocation that's included with the plan.

The benefit of using a 4G mobile hotspot with an iPhone or iPad is that far greater connection speeds are possible than what can be achieved from a 3G network. Or if your iPad is Wi-Fi–only, you can connect to a 4G mobile hotspot from anywhere by creating your own Wi-Fi hotspot when and where it's needed. Thus, the mobile hotspot can travel with you, so you never have to worry about leaving the hotspot's signal radius, which is a concern if you're connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot within a café, hotel, office, home, or airport, for example.

4G mobile hotspots are available from many of the major wireless data service providers in the United States. Most are offering the 4G mobile hotspot devices for free when a two-year service agreement is signed. However, some charge up to $150.00 for the device itself, plus the monthly service fee. To achieve the fastest Internet connection speeds possible, be sure you shop for a 4G mobile hotspot device and service plan, not a 3G mobile hotspot device and plan, which is less expensive and quickly becoming outdated.

Just as when choosing a wireless data service provider for your phone or tablet, you'll want to shop around for the best deal when selecting a 4G (or 4G LTE) mobile hotspot device and service plan. Also, because 4G and 4G LTE wireless data networks are relatively new, many wireless data service providers are still expanding their networks; so 4G (or 4G LTE) coverage might be available only in specific cities or regions. Before subscribing to a wireless data network, make sure that coverage is offered where you'll be using it.

Sprint PCS, for example, plans to launch 4G LTE service by mid-2012 in a handful of U.S. cities, including Baltimore, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and San Antonio.

T-Mobile was one of the first wireless data service providers in the United States to offer 4G LTE service in many major U.S. cities. The company offers the T-Mobile 4G mobile hotspot (which measures 3.93 inches by 2.11 inches by 0.54 inches and eights 2.64 ounces) for free, but requires a 2-year service commitment. The monthly data plan costs extra, and is priced starting at $39.99 per month (for a 2GB monthly data allotment). The unit's rechargeable battery lasts for up to 4 hours of continuous use.

T-Mobile's newer Sonic 4G mobile hotspot device sells for $99.99 (with a 2-year service agreement), but offers up to 150 hours of continuous use per charge. It measures 4.02 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.61 inches, and weighs 3.88 ounces.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless also offer 4G LTE mobile hotspot devices and service plans of their own, which will work with any Apple iPhone or iPad model. This includes being able to use Apple's FaceTime app or Skype, for example, for video conferencing. Skype can also be used for making and receiving voice-over-IP phone calls from an iPhone or even an iPad. The service works exceptionally with using a 4G Internet connection, but is compatible with a 3G connection as well.

If you purchase Verizon's Jetpack 4G LTE mobile hotspot device outright ($269.00), you can access the company's 4G LTE wireless data network for a monthly fee, but use the service on a month-to-month basis, with no 2-year commitment. With a 2-year service agreement, the device is free. This mobile hotspot device measures 3.74 inches by 2.36 inches by .53 inches, and it weighs 3 ounces. Its battery lasts for up to 5 hours of continuous use.

The monthly 4G LTE wireless data service plan from Verizon Wireless, for use with the Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE mobile hotspot, is priced at $50.00 for a 5GB monthly data allocation, or $80.00 for a 10GB monthly data allocation. Beyond the monthly data allocation, the fee is $10.00 per gigabyte of data usage.

From AT&T Wireless, the mobile hotspot Elevate 4G is available for $69.99 (with a 2-year service agreement). The company offers a wireless data service plan that's compatible with this device for $50.00 per month for up to 5GB of wireless data usage and $10.00 for each additional gigabyte used.

With any 4G mobile hotspot device, in areas where 4G LTE connectivity is not available, slower 3G connectivity is automatically offered, which does not benefit iPhone users or iPad 3G + Wi-Fi users who currently have a 3G wireless data plan. It does, however, benefit iPad and iPad 2 Wi-Fi Only model users who, using this technology, will be able to create a Wi-Fi hotspot anytime and anywhere one is needed to access the web.

If you find yourself in your car a lot, creating a Wi-Fi hotspot within your vehicle will allow for four or five Wi-Fi–enabled devices to connect to the Internet simultaneously at 4G LTE speeds. Besides using a stand-alone mobile hotspot device, some 4G-compatible smartphones offer a tethering feature, so the phone itself can create a Wi-Fi hotspot within its immediate area that other devices, such as an iPad, can connect to.

Although the iPhone 4 and 4S have tethering capabilities for 3G wireless data connectivity, this feature is not available within the United States because it is not supported by the iPhone's wireless data service providers. However, if you have a 4G smartphone with tethering functionality, your iPhone or iPad could access the Wi-Fi hotspot created by the 4G smartphone to connect to the web at 4G LTE speeds for no additional costs.

As more of the wireless data service providers in the United States roll out their 4G wireless networks, the monthly price to create a mobile hotspot will no doubt decrease, while 4G coverage areas will expand dramatically. However, if you're willing to pay the price, a 4G mobile hotspot that is compatible with the iPhone and/or iPad can be created and used in most major U.S. cities.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020