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In-Car Wireless Networking And Ford's MyKey Feature

SYNC With MyFord Touch: Automotive Infotainment For All
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Ford equips its SYNC system with wireless networking capabilities. The integrated controller supports the 802.11b/g standards, which are perfectly adequate for in-car use. You can connect it to your home's wireless network, though there isn't much to do once you're connected to the Internet.

The biggest draw is the controller's ability to create a wireless access point for passengers inside the car. Conceivably, you could have three passengers on laptops, all banging away on their keyboards online.

SYNC with MyFord Touch can also share wireless data connections via Bluetooth or USB modems. If your smartphone supports Bluetooth tethering via DUN (dial-up networking) or PAN (personal area networking), you simply enable Internet sharing. The phone's connection is subsequently available to anyone using a Wi-Fi-enabled device. If you're using a USB-based modem instead, simply plug it into one of the Media Hub's ports and, again, enable sharing in the system options. Just make sure your USB modem is compatible first. 

We tested Internet sharing using our rooted and flashed Galaxy Nexus (with the AOKP ROM), extending its 4G LTE data connection to an Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab2 7.0 without any signal integrity issues. Our one complaint about Bluetooth connectivity is that you have to re-enable the personal-area network every time the phone is paired to the system. That's every time you get into the car. Really, we wish that Ford would implement an auto-reconnect option.

Fortunately, if you're using a USB-based modem, that problem shouldn't nag at you, since the modem has its own configuration menu. The only thing you'll need to worry about is data usage. With multiple passengers taking advantage of your car's cool technology, it's particularly easy to drain a smaller plan, even by browsing the Web.

Ford MyKey

Ford includes a programmable "nanny" called MyKey that ties itself to your key fob. The car's owner can designate one key with administrative rights, if you will, and a second key with more restrictive limitations. Some of configurable variables are sound system volume, maximum vehicle speed, speed warnings, and traction control settings. 

You're a safe driver, and don't like the idea of imposed lock-outs. We get that. Our cars offer respite from the world around us, and nobody wants to be told what they can and can't do by their key. But think about families with teenage kids behind the wheel. Giving an inexperienced driver a key that won't let the car exceed 80 MPH, that'll warn them above a preset speed, and keep the stereo's output under control doesn't guarantee they'll come home safe every night, but it sounds like a pretty helpful safety net.

MyKey is certainly not a solution to reckless, distracted driving. Let's be honest. We've all been teenagers, and most of us have been in some pretty scary situations. But it should at least help minimize some of the most common ways kids get into accidents. All Fords with keyless push-button start include MyKey.

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  • 10 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , May 31, 2012 4:59 AM
    boot benchmarks for a car :o 
    What is the world coming to?
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    jhansonxi , May 31, 2012 4:58 AM
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's . I've also met several people who have SYNC and they've all had problems with it freezing completely or controls getting stuck. These problems either require them to stop and turn off the engine (a reboot) or take the car to a dealer to get SYNC reset.

    This is shockingly bad code quality for an embedded system. I may get a Ford vehicle in the future but it won't have SYNC in it. I'll epoxy a tablet to the dash if I need entertainment that bad.
  • -1 Hide
    jhansonxi , May 31, 2012 4:59 AM
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's quality has dropped:
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/22/autos/ford_jd_power_initial_quality/index.htm

    P.S. What's up with the broken URL parsing?
  • 10 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , May 31, 2012 4:59 AM
    boot benchmarks for a car :o 
    What is the world coming to?
  • 3 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , May 31, 2012 6:08 AM
    never had a problem with my SYNC in my ford.
  • 1 Hide
    TheZander , May 31, 2012 6:14 AM
    Drove a brand new rental Ford with all the Sync options. It was nice to be able to play music straight from my phone without taking it out of my pocket or plugging anything in. It was also nice when a call came in and a simple button push switched seamlessly from my music to the call, with good voice quality I might add. The information provided is useful and placed in areas with a focus on keeping your eyes in safer directions than some layouts, and the steering wheel button placement makes sense and also works well (for the most part) once you get used to it.

    However, there are little things here and there that show the system has tremendous potential, but lacks polish you expect when it's in your automobile. I own a reasonably new Ford (2006 Freestyle.) It's been an exceptional, sturdy, and reliable car for several years now with no mechanical issues to date. My dad owns an old Lincoln Navigator with over 370,000 miles on it, still with the original engine running. Fords have been pretty good to me and my family over the years. You put in the key, turn it, and the thing runs. You push the buttons on the door and the windows go up or down. Flip a switch and the heater comes on.

    You expect your automobiles to be like this. Ford Sync does not yet feel like this. "Do I push this button this way or that way?" "What word order do I need to use for this command?" "Why do I have to re-command Sync to start playing my phone's music via bluetooth every time I start my car rather than it just start automatically?" "Why does the system hang once in a while for no apparent reason?"

    It just doesn't yet feel like it's reliable and responsive. I was intrigued and impressed by Sync, but it needs more polish, fluidity, refinement, and most of all consistency and reliability for it to please the masses day after day, and THIS is why Sync is the single worst factor in Ford's otherwise good reliability ratings being lowered, as mentioned above.
  • -5 Hide
    danwat1234 , May 31, 2012 6:15 AM
    I like my 1999 Honda Civic. Bullet proof reliable with 226K miles, simple and fast around corners (with an upgraded rear sway bar and good all season tires). It came with AM/FM radio and that's it. I have an FM transmitter to run anything else. All of this fancy technology ... my gaming laptop and my basic 10-key cell phone is enough. But it's great that this tech is available in inexpensive cars.
    I don't think that anybody would buy a new car just for this technology, at least I hope not. But new cars also come with stability, traction, ABS, EBD and panic brake help which is nice.
    My next car will be electric, maybe a 3-wheeled Zaptera. That's a reason to upgrade!
  • 3 Hide
    tuanies , May 31, 2012 6:20 AM
    Quote:
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's quality has dropped:
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/22/autos/ford_jd_power_initial_quality/index.htm

    P.S. What's up with the broken URL parsing?


    We touch on that in the conclusion. V2.0 of the software fixed a lot of the crashes and issues. We did not experience any crashes during the week we had the car.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , May 31, 2012 6:25 AM
    Quote:
    I like my 1999 Honda Civic. Bullet proof reliable with 226K miles, simple and fast around corners (with an upgraded rear sway bar and good all season tires). It came with AM/FM radio and that's it. I have an FM transmitter to run anything else. All of this fancy technology ... my gaming laptop and my basic 10-key cell phone is enough. But it's great that this tech is available in inexpensive cars.
    I don't think that anybody would buy a new car just for this technology, at least I hope not. But new cars also come with stability, traction, ABS, EBD and panic brake help which is nice.
    My next car will be electric, maybe a 3-wheeled Zaptera. That's a reason to upgrade!


    That sounds fancy, my daily is a '90 Miata with no power steering, manual windows, no side door guard beams and a first generation airbag. Its a ton of fun though.
  • 0 Hide
    s3anister , May 31, 2012 7:10 AM
    This is cool tech but I wish ford would have started doing this a year or two earlier than they did. I'd love to see an HDMI input instead of composite in and a higher-res screen for example.
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , May 31, 2012 8:38 AM
    Quote:
    This is cool tech but I wish ford would have started doing this a year or two earlier than they did. I'd love to see an HDMI input instead of composite in and a higher-res screen for example.


    HDMI input would be nice. I think Honda is the only one that has HDMI input on the Honda Odyssey, but only on the $45k Elite model.
  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , May 31, 2012 12:25 PM
    mayankleoboy1boot benchmarks for a car What is the world coming to?


    Don't worry, eventually there will be overclocking benchmarks for a car...
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , May 31, 2012 1:08 PM
    wow, that interface is incredibly slow and terrible! I understand that it is a portable device... but it is a car, with an engine, not a mobile phone. If they can make airbags that check if they need to go off at any given moment, then surely they could put a storage device in the vehicle that can load maps in under 1sec, and find a route in 1/2 the time this does...
    I mean my 3 year old GPS can do it... and it isn't exactly a 'top of the line' model either.
  • 3 Hide
    radon_antila , May 31, 2012 1:10 PM
    A Bad DayDon't worry, eventually there will be overclocking benchmarks for a car...


    CarMark Record: 1982 DeLorean, OC'd to 1.21 jigawatts on water (1985)
  • -1 Hide
    CaedenV , May 31, 2012 1:19 PM
    Oh! and I like the idea of the 'my key' feature... but let's work on it a bit
    -there are roads in America that have speed limits of 70 and 75mph (you would imagine an American car company would know this...). Lets have a few more speed limiting options. Personally I like to cruise at ~70-75mph on the freeway, but as people do not know how to drive in my area it is not really safe to use cruise control and just zone out in a lane (people WILL merge right into you... annoying). Perhaps limit it to 5mph over the limit?
    -Include power seat settings
    -Include favorite radio station settings, or built in playlists
    -Include temp settings (prefered fan speed, and temp)

    Good idea, bad implementation... just like every other integration of PC tech in a car.
  • 1 Hide
    cknobman , May 31, 2012 1:46 PM
    I had a 2008 Lincoln MKX with a fully decked out SYNC system in it and my wife and I loved it. We never experienced crashes or freezes of any kind.

    We traded it in for our 2011 Prius fully loaded with Toyotas tech package. I can say without a doubt that SYNC beats Toyota's system hand down. SYNC is quicker, easier, and has more capabilities.
  • -1 Hide
    warezme , May 31, 2012 2:21 PM
    ..., dang, I just put a flip down CD player with ipod connector on my 69 MGB roadster.
  • 0 Hide
    Bugsy68 , May 31, 2012 3:46 PM
    My dad had SYNC in his Mercury and he loved it! He got a new Lincoln Town Car last year that didn't have SYNC and now he really misses it. Is there any way to add it to his car? Is it even possible to add it? Any idea how much it would cost? My guess is that it wouldn't involve too much more than swapping out the radio since the car is pretty basic technology-wise (unlike the car above and it's lcd displays etc).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 31, 2012 3:47 PM
    Had Sync in my 2010 Escape and now the MyFord touch in 2012 Edge (leased both) have really enjoyed the features. Worth it just for the hands free calling
  • 1 Hide
    ikefu , May 31, 2012 4:09 PM
    The hands free calling and voice dialing in my 2012 Escape seems to just work better than most other implementations in other brands that I have rented. I'm a big fan of Ford's recent vehicle quality. Woot for American brands not just pulling their head out of the sands but actually getting out there and kicking some serious butt again.
  • -1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , May 31, 2012 4:17 PM
    Bugsy68My dad had SYNC in his Mercury and he loved it! He got a new Lincoln Town Car last year that didn't have SYNC and now he really misses it. Is there any way to add it to his car? Is it even possible to add it? Any idea how much it would cost? My guess is that it wouldn't involve too much more than swapping out the radio since the car is pretty basic technology-wise (unlike the car above and it's lcd displays etc).


    He just needs to go to the dealer, Ford or Lincoln, and ask. They should be able to add any features to the car. Thats what the sales guy I got my 2012 Fusion told me. Of course it will cost a bit of money but it might be worth it in the end. I am contemplating adding SYNC as it would be nice to have but then I also want other extras added to my Fusion......
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