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Old 03-18-2021, 11:08 AM   #1
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Ford SYNC use in RV

I know nothing about internet connections, WiFi, links, syncs, and boosts. I've tried to search the forums but I can't seem to use the right search terms that narrow the results down to under 100 threads.

If my tow vehicle has Ford Sync, can I use it for internet service in my RV if my devices are linked to the SYNC?

Thanks a bunch.
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Old 03-18-2021, 12:44 PM   #2
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Sync hotspot

I assume you are asking about the range of the WIFI router signal that provides WIFI service to devices in/near the vehicle - while the cellular antenna connects the WIFI router to the cell tower.

It is a simple test. First turn off cell service on your portable device, next join the vehicle Sync WIFI and then take your joined/connected device (phone, tablet, etc.) on a walk around your vehicle while watching the WIFI strength bars. Walk slow. When you think you have found the limit, try an Ookla Speed Test to see what real throughput you can achieve.

Note that WIFI signal may be diminished by the metal skin of the AS if connecting from inside the coach.

Let us know what you find! BTW - it can be fun to name your Sync WIFI network "FBI Van." Any folks near enough to "see" the WIFI ID in their list of available networks will either get the joke or get paranoid.
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Old 03-18-2021, 02:07 PM   #3
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Oh thank you so much. You gave me the info I need.

I don't have the vehicle or RV yet but I'm going through my wish list for the RV life and am getting answers to some of my concerns ahead of time.

I love your idea of "FBI van" for WiFi ID! I wish I could think of things like that.
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Old 03-18-2021, 02:23 PM   #4
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Wouldn't your tow vehicle have to be powered on to use the Sync wi-fi connection? Assuming so, that doesn't seem like it would be the best option for internet access in the trailer.
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Old 03-18-2021, 02:52 PM   #5
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I used the ATT account available from Ford with my 2019 F150. It works great as a hot spot, but the key must be in the ON position. (I originally could get 30 minutes with the key on accessories, but the system “adapted” to thwart that.) Being ON without the engine started doesn’t harm anything, but the power management will soon shut you down to save the battery. Even hooking up a battery tender did not work well. Also, the data is throttled after 25 GB per month.
So, your idea seems reasonable, but the devil is in the details. I gave up on it (after paying for a full year) and we now have an iPad on our Verizon plan.
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Old 03-18-2021, 07:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the clarification. I knew there would be a hitch. I'm still gonna use the "FBI van" to id my network. :
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Old 03-18-2021, 07:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetawA-S;
I used the ATT account available from Ford with my 2019 F150. It works great as a hot spot, but the key must be in the ON position. (I originally could get 30 minutes with the key on accessories, but the system ďadaptedĒ to thwart that.) Being ON without the engine started doesnít harm anything, but the power management will soon shut you down to save the battery. Even hooking up a battery tender did not work well. Also, the data is throttled after 25 GB per month.
So, your idea seems reasonable, but the devil is in the details. I gave up on it (after paying for a full year) and we now have an iPad on our Verizon plan.
This is correct. I did that too for a while (used my GMC in-truck wi-fi to feed the trailer). You do have to leave the ignition on.

I installed a BatteryMinder 8a charger under the hood with a stealth cord under the front bumper as I like to keep the batteries topped off and charged while the truck sits when not in use. When camping at a plug-in site I would simply plug in the truck battery charger when I needed to use wi-fi, to ensure the battery did not drain.

I have since moved on to a different plan from Verizon but wanted to share the work-around to keep you from draining the tow vehicle batteries.

Also, FYI, note that those in-vehicle plans typically throttle your speed after 20 or 30 Gig usage in a month. IE data might be "unlimited" but the speed is throttled after a certain stage.

That's about 1.5 days for
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Old 03-18-2021, 07:53 PM   #8
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The ATT link up is very expensive. I tried it and it isn’t worth it. You are better off getting a MIFI modem and taking it with you. You can actually bring it into the Airstream. Plus all these plans are limited. No such thing as unlimited in the true sense of the word.
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Old 03-18-2021, 08:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer;
The ATT link up is very expensive. I tried it and it isn’t worth it. You are better off getting a MIFI modem and taking it with you. You can actually bring it into the Airstream. Plus all these plans are limited. No such thing as unlimited in the true sense of the word.
Mine was $20 / month flat fee, no overages, included 22GBvusage then network throttling after that *if* there is congestion on the tower.

I wanted to share some actual numbers some would say that is expensive, some not. An Apple iWatch is $10 / month for online access in comparison. My portable Verizon Jetpack plan is $69 / month with no hard speed caps but throttled / reprioritized when tower is contested.
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Old 03-19-2021, 09:22 AM   #10
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I am confused by this thread. I use the SYNC in my 2016 Ford F150 to link up with my cell phone, with $30/month Cricket service. I don't have hot spot service. I just want to know if it is possible to connect to the internet with my current configurations, i.e. no hot spot. Thanks.
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Old 03-19-2021, 09:57 AM   #11
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Alphamale49:
There's two applications here: 1) Sync for your phone, which is what I think you're referencing and; 2) The truck as a hotspot, which requires you to get a separate phone account from a provider like ATT.

I have both and love them. Unlimited data for my truck is about $120/year. But if you're out of range of a cell tower and your phone won't connect, your truck will not either.
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Old 03-19-2021, 10:14 AM   #12
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confusion normal

Quote:
Originally Posted by alphamale49 View Post
I am confused by this thread. I use the SYNC in my 2016 Ford F150 to link up with my cell phone, with $30/month Cricket service. I don't have hot spot service. I just want to know if it is possible to connect to the internet with my current configurations, i.e. no hot spot. Thanks.
The link between your Ford Sync and your Cricket service phone is Bluetooth, and makes hands-free calling possible - along with other services supported by your phone.

The term "hot-spot" in the context of a cell phone means that your properly equipped phone would become a WIFI router broadcasting a wireless network ID (SSID) that the truck (or other nearby WIFI-capable devices) could join. Once joined, the truck would treat the connection like any WIFI connection to the internet, and use it to download Sync updates or Sync Apps could use to send/receive internet data. The phone handles the "backhaul" of data to and from the cell towers.

The term "hot spot" in the context of the truck/Sync means that Sync becomes a WIFI router broadcasting a wireless network ID (SSID) that the phone or other nearby WIFI capable devices could join. Sync handles the "backhaul" of data to and from the cell towers through a cell sim chip that is pre-installed in the truck and uses the ATT cell tower system.

All this has got me thinking about how to add the truck to my Verizon account as another device on my account. Might not be possible if the truck is "locked" to ATT like some cell phones are. Maybe someone else has tried this? Not that I am likely to do that - my phone hot spot and my jetpack handle the need just fine.
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Old 03-19-2021, 10:19 AM   #13
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I am regularly entertained by the responses to some questions that are posted in this forum. This one has not let me down. Why would you spend $'s to have your truck link up to cell towers, IF you have robust data available via hotspot on your smart phones? I agree that more data availability is better since we all stream movies and TV shows while traveling.

Cell tower availability drove us from Sprint after over 20 years since we had a lot of poor coverage in our cross country trip in 2018. Verizon family plan (we have 7 lines on the plan, with my wife and I owning 2 phones and a watch with connectivity) with GetMore unlimited data, throttled at 50GB, with hotspot available at 60GB at about $100 for these two phone lines. Our usage allows us to connect to the phone as a hotspot with our ipad and mirror our screens to our Apple TV inside our trailer. iPad works great in the car with a hotspot, when my wife is not watching! I drove from Atlanta airport after dropping off my wife to attend the early birth of our grand daughter. During this drive to Top of Georgia Airstream Park, near Helen, GA, I placed the ipad in the passenger seat in my F150 and had youtube videos playing that reviewed the F250 which we would be ordering in the near future. I experienced only one small gap in cell tower coverage and went thru about 90 minutes of excellent advice from TFL truck, KBB, CarGurus, etc. and other truck/vehicle youtube channels.

Seems like someone could provide details on various systems to improve connectivity/reception to wifi and cell towers inside our shiny trailers?

ALL cell tower usage comes with limits, so wifi is the preferred method of connecting to the internet for entertainment.

Question - which cell provider provides the most bang for the buck and includes the most data in those plans and has coverage in rural areas? AT&T or Verizon are the names that are provided when I have this discussion at an RV park or CG. From my perspective, Verizon is excellent on pricing. We get $5 off each of the six phone on our plan for auto payment from our checking account, and discount for being military retirees.
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Old 03-19-2021, 12:15 PM   #14
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If your wireless plan allows a Personal Hotspot then turn on the hotspot feature on your phone and use your cell phone to connect to other devices via either wi-fi or bluetooth to reach the internet. That's what I do when I travel to connect my Ipad or PC. That way I only pay one wireless fee instead of having to pay one each for the phone, the car's hotspot, the iPad, etc. AT&T used to allow me to use my unlimited plan to set up a hotspot. My current Verizon plan charges $10 more for a plan with hotspot capabilities. I think TMobile allows a limited amount of hotspot activity on its basic plan before throttling speeds.
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Old 03-19-2021, 12:58 PM   #15
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We do have Wifi in our truck and the reason is that it will run tablets and computers not linked to cell phone service (kids!!) but the truck does have to be turned on. We haven't had any success getting signal from the truck into the Airstream at all, so we just sit in the truck to link up if need be.

And, just like a phone it doesn't work perfectly everywhere -but ours is better than the phones (Verizon) that we have. We've discovered that sometimes Verizon is best and other times AT&T is best (we have family with both-so we verified that).
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Old 03-19-2021, 01:06 PM   #16
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To answer the question of “why”, we were trying to stream YouTube videos of church services and our Verizon phones did not cut the mustard (reception and throttling). A hot spot running off the strong ATT tower worked , but at a $10/GB rate.
Our previous Verizon plan (grandfathered at $45 each) met all our needs otherwise, and we did not want to go to a more deluxe plan. On paper, the F150 hotspot was all the extra we needed.
Since then, we found we don’t need to give up our old plan, and a Weboost seems to be the answer to our reception issues.
Bottom line, some of us are cheap. Others can’t find a single carrier who covers all our destinations.
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Old 03-19-2021, 07:57 PM   #17
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Iím not sure if this would work for everybody but we have an AT&T Wireless Internet Router in our home. We have this because we live in area that does not have conventional land line Internet access. The device is like a hotspot on steroids. It takes the cellular LTE signal and sends a WiFi signal throughout our house. I work from home sometimes that requires a moderate level of speed and it works ok. I can stream TV and my daughter who is in college can come home and do her class work including Zoom calls , etc. We pay $60 per month for this for up to 100GB unrestricted, and we have never gone over. It does require AC power but does have a backup battery thatís good for about 2 hours. My point is that it can be essentially taken anywhere. In the Airstream etc. Downside would be that you would need AC power so if boondocking you would have to use your inverter /generator or I guess if you had enough solar to keep your inverter charged that could work. The device itself was about $250 from what I remember.
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Old 03-19-2021, 09:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
Mine was $20 / month flat fee, no overages, included 22GBvusage then network throttling after that *if* there is congestion on the tower.

I wanted to share some actual numbers some would say that is expensive, some not. An Apple iWatch is $10 / month for online access in comparison. My portable Verizon Jetpack plan is $69 / month with no hard speed caps but throttled / reprioritized when tower is contested.
If you go to the website you will find that if you aren’t an ATT customer the cost is $15 for 2GB in 30 days. When we did the initial trial which was free we went through 2GB in two days. And we couldn’t figure out how we used 2GB in a few days. We didn’t do any streaming. We used it to connect to the internet a bit with our IPADS to find things on the internet and that was about it. So, yes we could spend more, $25, but if it is like that in about 10 days we are at the limit, and it throttles down to being useless (3G)?

Then when we looked at the fact we can use our IPHONES as hot spots anyway, it didn’t make much sense to buy another hotspot that is confined to a vehicle. And I had a plan at the time that was truly unlimited for $40 a month.
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Old 03-20-2021, 04:11 AM   #19
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I tend to keep it simple. Smart TV with HDMI cable to an iPhone adapter that also connects a USB power cord to cast my YouTube TV service. I use my unlimited ATT data plan on the phone to stream. No extra devices expenses or power draw. My LG smart TV runs off my batteries via a cigarette lighter plug delivering necessary voltage so no inverter power wastage. I occasionally use the Ford SYNC for quick tasks on my computer or iPad but echo previous comments on inefficiency there. It is, however, quite useful for my kids on long travel days with their WiFi only devices.
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Old 03-20-2021, 07:18 AM   #20
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Ford SYNC use in RV

Quote:
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If you go to the website you will find that if you arenít an ATT customer the cost is $15 for 2GB in 30 days. When we did the initial trial which was free we went through 2GB in two days. And we couldnít figure out how we used 2GB in a few days. We didnít do any streaming. We used it to connect to the internet a bit with our IPADS to find things on the internet and that was about it. So, yes we could spend more, $25, but if it is like that in about 10 days we are at the limit, and it throttles down to being useless (3G)?

Then when we looked at the fact we can use our IPHONES as hot spots anyway, it didnít make much sense to buy another hotspot that is confined to a vehicle. And I had a plan at the time that was truly unlimited for $40 a month.


Thanks for the clarification, didnít realize. Iím at so the truck was just another access line.

2GB is nothing I wouldnít bother do such a low data usage cap... my plan at the time was 22GB before network management / prioritization kicked in but no hard cap / forced throttling.
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