The recently launched Ford Focus will be transformed into a rolling WiFi hot spot when 'SYNC with MyFord Touch' technology makes its European debut next year.

They will be the first European Fords to have SYNC's claimed class-leading connectivity, which will be rolled out to several other other vehicles in the automaker's range across the continent following its C-segment debut.

By using an owners' existing USB modem or smartphone, the SYNC-equipped Focus will be able to deliver a secure wireless connection that can be broadcast throughout the vehicle. Passengers with any WiFi-enabled device can then easily connect and access the internet. All this allows for simple, easy to use WiFi connectivity on the move for up to five devices, Ford claimed.

"Ford will offer individuals and families a level of in-car internet access that was until recently only available to the owners of considerably more expensive vehicles," the automaker said.

The Focus, sampled by just-auto at its UK media launch in March, already boasts an outstanding array of standard and optional technology which are being highlighted in UK TV advertising as the wagon version goes on sale here this month. Some other European markets will also be offered the sedan version from May.

Ford said in-car internet access is no longer only demanded by chauffeur-driven executives. The increasing availability and popularity of WiFi compatible devices means that, as long as there is a data connection brought into the car, passengers will be able to stay in contact with friends, keep abreast of the news and even gaming on the move at all times.

"Ford is an automaker that is quickly becoming a personal technology company as well," says Christof Kellerwessel, chief functional engineer, electronic and electrical systems engineering. "We're finding that customers are tech savvy and - while travelling as passengers in cars - they want to be able to use their WiFi enabled devices while on the move.
  
"A reliable in-car Internet connection is therefore extremely important to them, and that's exactly what SYNC will offer when it makes its European debut in 2012. SYNC with MyFord Touch will offer rolling connectivity to everyone in a SYNC-equipped car at no additional expense."

Upgradeable and secure

One of the main advantages of the SYNC with MyFord Touch WiFi system is that it will allow customers to make use of a variety of USB devices, eliminating the need to purchase specifically compatible equipment. SYNC will use software updates to ensure it remains compatible with the latest hardware and devices, so customers can be sure that their vehicles will always allow them to make use of whatever USB mobile broadband modem or smartphone they are using - even devices that have yet to go on the market.

"We knew from the beginning that our connectivity solution would have to keep pace with the rapid advancement of consumer electronics and be flexible and upgradeable in order to remain useful to customers for as long as they own their vehicles," Kellerwessel said.

The factory-installed system will seamlessly integrate the hardware into the vehicle, unlike internet connection systems from some manufacturers that require a bolt-in receiver and transmitter.

Using the SYNC WiFi system, a signal will be broadcast throughout the vehicle. Default security is set to WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), requiring users to enter a randomly chosen password to connect to the internet. When SYNC sees a new WiFi device for the first time, the driver must specifically allow that device to connect, preventing unauthorised users from "piggybacking" on the SYNC-provided signal.