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4G data service in cars offers amazing potential, familiar challenges

John Brandon | Jan. 23, 2014
Audi plans to introduce 4G to the 2015 A3. Other carmakers are sure to follow. This will provide better vehicle diagnostics and analytics (along with better Wi-Fi for passengers), and though there are obstacles, they will sound familiar to anyone who works in IT.

Dirks says there are also technical challenges. Having very high-speed connections in moving vehicles could stress cell towers, and there may be a need for faster hand-offs to avoid dropped connections. (When you lose a connection while texting at the office, that's one thing. Having a video chat fail when a technician is telling you how to fix a problem in your car is another.)

While the IT challenges seem almost insurmountable, the technology is imminent. The Audi A3 will hit dealers next spring, and Ford, GM, and BMW will likely follow suit with high-speed offerings. (GM has announced it will move to 4G LTE with OnStar.) There's still time to solve the problems - and boost more than just the engine speed of future cars.


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