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What is GPS & Wi-Fi in Dash Cams?

What do these features enable in your dash cam?

What is GPS & Wi-Fi and why is it important?

Nowadays, GPS and Wi-Fi are core components of a modern dash cam, useful every day. These functions were previously only available on higher-end premium dash cams.

The good news is, with current technological improvements, GPS and Wi-Fi have become a staple of quality cameras. In this article, we’ll go over the uses of GPS and Wi-Fi in dash cams, and share how these features can make your driving experience more convenient.

What is Wi-Fi in Dash Cams?

While the term 'Wi-Fi' may conjure up images of Wi-Fi networks that give internet access, the Wi-Fi feature in 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 are the Benefits of Wi-Fi in Dash Cams?

1. WiFi Provides Quick Access to Smartphone Apps.

Dash cam brands like Thinkware, BlackVue, VIOFO 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 phone. 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.

Need help in connecting to the WiFi app? Check out our BlackVue app, VIOFO app, and Thinkware app guides here.

2. Wi-Fi Promotes Hassle-Free Dash Cam Footage 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.

Dash cams with built-in Wi-Fi allow you to access important files 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.

What are the two different Wi-Fi types for dash cams?

Older dash cams that are equipped with Wi-Fi typically have 2.4GHz connectivity. Newer dash cams, such as the Thinkware U3000, VIOFO A119 Mini 2, 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:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 Wi-Fi option

Bluetooth integration in New Models

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.

Seamless Pairing makes the connection between your phone, and the dash cam a breeze, in much the same way as many Android auto or carplay systems do. Seamless Pairing cameras give off their own Bluetooth signal, which will assist in connecting your phone to the camera’s wifi at the press of a single button.

Seamless Pairing can be found in BlackVue’s modern units, such as the DR770X and D970X series.

Other dash cam brands have followed suit as well, with Thinkware introducing a Bluetooth function in their Q1000, F70 Pro, and U3000 models as well. The U3000 and F70 Pro specifically will actually allow you to access the camera's basics over Bluetooth before swapping you over to wifi for more involved processes like video streaming.

What is GPS for Dash Cams?

The GPS feature in dash cams works similarly to how it does on your phone, showing the location of your vehicle. Most dash cams have the GPS module built-in, while some budget-friendly models 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 your preference, and location data for your dash cam, embedded in the footage. This will track your vehicle's physical position, displaying the route taken and the speed at which you are travelling.

What are the Benefits of GPS for Dash Cams?

1. GPS provides accurate evidence.

In the event of an accident, vandalism, or traffic violations, GPS data can also be utilized as evidence, crucial in determining who was at fault and detecting any strange movements using G-Sensor data.

Precise speed stamps on footage are also helpful evidence to prove how fast you were going. There’s no arguing with a silent witness, providing analytical evidence of what was happening with the vehicle.

2. GPS helps in processing insurance claims faster.

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.

3. GPS adds protection to 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 promote 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.

And for additional safety for newbies, the ADAS features (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) of dash cams like Thinkware can also be helpful to remind them of their driving activities. Under ADAS, 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.

4. GPS makes the job easier for Fleet Managers.

GPS is also a must-have for the fleet. Live GPS integration provides fleet managers with route information, so you can ensure that your drivers stick to their established routes and stay on task throughout the day by accessing truck location information anytime, anywhere.

Furthermore, this enables your driver to uncover faster routes and enhance other areas to keep your transportation business running well. During an emergency, the live 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.

For dash cams with the Thinkware CONNECTED like the Thinkware U3000 and Thinkware Q1000, the Cloud also features Driving History through the mobile app. Through the GPS, you can access the vehicle’s driving history, which includes information such as date, time, distance, route, and driving behaviour which are all helpful in evaluating and maximizing your fleet’s operations and routes. Need a dash cam for your fleet?