Wi-Fi and GPS in dash cams enable real-time tracking and easy video sharing, enhancing navigation and connectivity. Explore these must-have features for modern, convenient driving
Wi-Fi & GPS for Dash Cams
Nowadays, GPS and Wi-Fi are core components of a modern dash cam, useful in everyday use. These functions were previously only available on higher-end premium dash cams. However, with current technological improvements, they have become a staple of quality cameras.
What is a Wi-Fi Feature in a Dash Cam?
While the term 'Wi-Fi' may conjure up images of Wi-Fi networks that give internet access, the Wi-Fi feature on dash cams is a whole distinct concept.
For dash cams, the Wi-Fi feature allows the dash cam to pair with your smartphone wirelessly, without the need for an internet connection. Yes, similar to a Bluetooth device! The main difference is that the dash cam connects to the smartphone via WiFi rather than Bluetooth.
Naturally, you might be wondering why it isn’t actually a Bluetooth connection. This is mainly because when it comes to downloading and streaming footage, this can be too much bandwidth for a standard bluetooth connection, and wifi allows for a much quicker and stable viewing process.
What makes Wi-Fi useful for dash cams?
Quick Access to Smartphone Apps
Dash cam brands like Thinkware, BlackVue, VIOFO and FineVu have their own dedicated smartphone apps. Once linked to the Wi-Fi, you may use your dash cam's app to download the footage files directly to your smartphone, or stream them to your phone. Streaming is much quicker, and will let you see the footage in only a few minutes, whereas downloading will store the video on your phoe. The apps serve as a storage for all downloaded files, from which you may share them with anybody you want – via all popular sharing networks such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and so on.
Hassle-Free File Retrieval
Another key advantage of Wi-Fi in dash cams is that it eliminates the need to remove the dash camera’s SD card from your device. Without this capability, you must physically remove the memory card and insert it into a PC to access your footage, or rely on a small physical screen on the unit itself.
On the other hand, dash cams with built-in Wi-Fi allow you to complete the work remotely from your smartphone in minutes. This rapid access is invaluable when it comes to pulling up footage and evidence in the heat of the moment.
For example, if you are involved in an accident and you want to prove that it is not your fault, the Wi-Fi allows you to immediately download and share evidence of the event with the police, proving your innocence on the spot.
Note: Similar to a home Wi-Fi network, the signal range capacity of a dash cam's Wi-Fi is approximately 10 feet without any blockage in the center. If the distance between your dash cam and smartphone exceeds 10 feet, you may be unable to connect to the dash cam.This is unit dependent, as some models have a shorter connection range.
2.4GHz Wi-Fi vs. 5GHz Wi-Fi for Dash Cams
Older dash cams equipped with Wi-Fi typically have 2.4Ghz connectivity. Newer dash cams, such as the Thinkware U3000, BlackVue DR970X, and VIOFO A139 Pro are now built with dual-band Wi-Fi, which carries both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
There are a few key differences when it comes to 2.4GHz vs 5GHz:
Range: The 2.4GHz frequency band provides a longer range compared to 5GHz. The lower frequency signals can penetrate walls and other obstacles more effectively, making it a better choice for larger areas or when the router is in a different room than the devices it's connecting to.
Interference: However, because many devices (including microwaves, cordless phones, and Bluetooth devices) use the 2.4GHz band, it can become crowded, leading to interference and slower speeds.
Speed: The 2.4GHz band typically offers lower speeds compared to 5GHz. It's generally good enough for tasks like browsing the web or checking email, but might struggle with more bandwidth-intensive tasks like streaming high-definition video or online gaming. More economic models will normally only offer 2.4GHz as a wifi option
Seamless Pairing at BlackVue Dash Cams
BlackVue is one of the most innovative dash cam brands in the market, and they have introduced a new way to connect your dash cam to your smartphone called Seamless Pairing. Need help in setting it up? Check out our all-in-one BlackVue connection guide here.
First, let us tell you how the BlackVue world was like without this feature. Without Seamless Pairing, users who want to access their dash cam’s files over Wi-Fi have to first connect to the dash cam from their phone’s Wi-Fi network menu. That means scanning available Wi-Fi networks, then manually entering the dash cam’s Wi-Fi password. Then, they can go back to the BlackVue App to access the dash cam via the “Connect to camera” menu.
Now with seamless pairing, all steps can be skipped, and registration is as simple as detecting your device on bluetooth, and tapping the side of your model to confirm registration.
Other Dash Cam brands have followed suit as well, with Thinkware introducing a bluetooth fuction in their Q1000 and U3000 models as well. The U3000 specifically will actually allow you to access the cameras basics over bluetooth before swapping you over to wifi for more involved processes like video streaming.
What is the GPS feature for dash cams?
The GPS feature in a dash cam, similar to how it works on your phone, shows the location of your vehicle via Google Maps integration. Most dash cams have the GPS module built-in, while others require an external GPS (normally mounted right next to the dash cam).
While driving, GPS also records accurate speed displayed in mph or km/h depending on the user’s preference, and location data for your dash cam. This will track your vehicle's physical position, displaying the route taken and the speed at which you are traveling.
What makes GPS useful for dash cams?
In the event of an accident, vandalism, or traffic violations, GPS data can also be utilized as evidence. It can be crucial in uncovering insurance scamsy determining who was at fault and detecting any strange movements using G-Sensor data. On playback, it will also reveal speed limit signs and road names to bolster the driver's case and prove they were not at fault. There’s no arguing with a silent witness, providing analytical evidence of what was happening with the vehicle.
For Insurance claims
GPS data can be quite useful when submitting an insurance claim. It will include the time, date, speed, position, and direction of an accident, which helps to expedite a prospective claim by eliminating the need to manually compile all of the facts before forwarding them to the appropriate party.
For Young and First-Time Drivers
Recommended for parents and guardians, GPS can be beneficial for young or inexperienced drivers because they will be aware that their speed and location are being recorded, which can inspire improved driving. Driving instructors may also want to use GPS data after classes to review and demonstrate speed to students. This information can be fully reviewed later by concerned parties, displaying exactly where the vehicle went, at what time.
For Fleet Managers
This feature is also a must-have for the fleet. GPS integration provides fleet managers with route information. You can ensure that your drivers stick to their established routes and stay on task throughout the day by having access to truck location information at any time.
Furthermore, this enables your driver to uncover faster routes and enhance other areas to keep your transportation business running well. During an emergency, the GPS in dash cams can also help locate the occurrence or translate it for the authorities. Cloud services like the BlackVue Cloud and Thinkware Connected use GPS for their features such as Event Map, Geofencing, Emergency SOS, Live View, and real-time GPS updates.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
For dash cams that have ADAS features (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) like Thinkware, the lane departure and forward collision warnings are all activated by the GPS module as well. The GPS feature can also be disabled at any time with the touch of a button or via the smartphone app, making it highly convenient in all situations.
Some camera systems, such as Thinkware systems, also have access to local speed camera databases, with a GPS, it will enable the camera to notify you when you are approaching such systems.
Cameras that don’t have a built-in GPS but have the option for ADAS features will require an external GPS to enable ADAS features.
Explore Our eLearning Guides
New to dash cams? Try out our dash cam buyer's guide.
Get more out of your dash cam! Find an accessory.
Best Dash Cams
Make great purchasing decisions with the right dash cam for you.
Let us show you how to install your own dash cam & accessories.
Got More Questions?
Not to fret, our in-house product experts are here to help. We have spent years curating helpful content and video guides, helping customers with their dash cams, but we understand that we can always do better. Contact us using the form below and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. We love what we do, because we're here to help you make the most informed purchasing decision.