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 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.
- Tom's Hardware Ventures Into Automotive Technology
- SYNC: Powered By Freescale's i.MX516
- SYNC's Eight- And 4.2-Inch Displays
- SYNC's Entertainment Features
- Talking And Texting Through SYNC With MyFord Touch
- Navigation And SiriusXM Travel Link
- Hands-On With Nuance's Voice Recognition
- Semi-Automatic Parallel Parking With Active Park Assist
- In-Car Wireless Networking And Ford's MyKey Feature
- Benchmark Results: Boot, Bluetooth, And Navigation
- SYNC: A Solid Infotainment System Available To The Masses