Ford Wifi Is Broken

SYNC 3 can't connect to 802.11r wireless networks

Will Glynn
Re: CAS-9606059-T9J7D6 CRM:00013000000371
Thu, 17 Nov 2016 09:31:49 -0600

My name is [first name], and I am the Regional Customer Service Manager assigned to your case. My job is to facilitate the repair of your vehicle by providing my resources, where applicable to do so. It was a bit early to give you a call, so I decided to reach you by email to start, however, if you would prefer phone moving forward, we certainly can do that.

Hello! Email works fine for me.

The first step will be getting your vehicle into the dealership. If you need a loaner or rental during that time, I am happy to provide one for you to use. Please do make an appointment at the dealership of your choosing, and let me know when and where that visit will be. Once that has completed, I will reach out to the dealership with the information you’ve already provided us about the trouble you’re having with your WiFi and assist with my technical resources. Until the vehicle is at the dealership, however, I do not have the ability to move forward with that portion of our case.

I understand you have a protocol to follow, but this makes little sense. I don’t think you need this vehicle. This is a software issue.

I assume someone somewhere has a lab with a SYNC 3 system connected to a computer that lets you gather debugging output and upload firmware revisions. That would be a far more productive environment for this case than having my vehicle at a dealership’s service center. Have your engineers looked at this report?

So, yes, the basic problem is that my vehicle can’t connect to my wifi network. It’s tempting to think that wifi problems can be dismissed as an incompatibility that’s both or neither party’s fault, but in this case that’s simply not true. My vehicle can’t connect to my wifi because it’s trying to authenticate in a way that violates the 802.11 standard. Specifically, my vehicle can’t connect because it’s transmitting an authentication frame that is expressly prohibited by IEEE Std 802.11-2012 § 12.4.2:

If an MDE is present in the (Re)Association Request frame and the contents of the RSNE do not indicate a negotiated AKM of Fast BSS Transition (suite type 00-0F-AC:3, 00-0F-AC:4, or 00-0F-AC:9), the AP shall reject the (Re)Association Request frame with status code 43 (i.e., Invalid AKMP).

Here’s a picture of my vehicle sending an Association Request frame with an MDE and an RSN indicating AKM suite 00-0f-ac:2, which is exactly what that sentence says not to do:

That is the problem. Someone at Ford engineering should dig into the wifi section of the SYNC 3 software, where they’ll find that the WPA supplicant does not support 802.11r, and that the component sending association requests is configured to request 802.11r anyway. That is why SYNC 3 would send this kind of invalid frame. They can either a) tell the component sending association requests not to request 802.11r, or b) keep requesting 802.11r and teach the WPA supplicant how to handle 802.11r. That is this fix. None of this requires my car.

I look forward to hearing from you as to the dealership you’d like to visit and the timeframe for the appointment you make. If the dealership is not one of the dealers that I am manager for, I will facilitate the transfer of your case to the appropriate person, and get the ball rolling for the above mentioned plan of action.

Having said all that, if you insist that I drop off this vehicle anyway, well… all right. If it’s a day or a weekend, fine. If it’s for a longer or indeterminate period, I’d like a loaner which is just like what I’m dropping off – a 2016 Ford Edge Titanium. We bought this specific vehicle for its specific capabilities and I don’t want to give them up, especially headed into winter. I can arrange to go to the Ford dealership in [city], [city], [city], [city], [city], or [city] at any time a suitable loaner would be available.