in cars? What a novel idea! It's actually not as far-fetched as you may have thought; in fact, it's widely offered as a third-party solution from AutoNet by many dealers. But Ford's thinking about something a little different, and a little more first-party. The company that has made the SYNC system famous is getting ready to offer Wi-Fi in the 2012 Focus across the pond, and if the Focus gets Wi-Fi, it's probably only a matter of time before the rest of the fleet gets it.
Starting next year, the UK's Focus will be a rolling hotspot, and sure enough, Ford's already saying that the feature will be rolled into other vehicles soon. 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 Wi-Fi-enabled device can then easily connect and access the internet. All this allows for simple Wi-Fi connectivity on the move for up to five devices.
It's unclear if you'll need a tethering plan for this (we're guessing it depends on your phone & carrier), but hopefully not -- just watch those bandwidth limits. Using the SYNC WiFi system, a signal will be broadcast throughout the vehicle. Default security is set to Wi-Fi 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. Nice thinking, Ford!