13 Replies Latest reply: May 21, 2008 8:45 AM by Jim McCabe
Jim McCabe Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I've had an iPhone for a few months and have generally had no severe trouble with the Wifi connectivity until the past few days. I've read lots of articles online and none of them seem to fix the problem.

Recently, all of the sudden my iPhone cannot retain a connection to my home Wifi network. Here's the sequence of what happens:

1. Previously, when I woke up the phone, it would reconnect to my home network within 10 or 15 seconds. Now, it generally stays on Edge forever.

2. So I go into Settings - WiFi and try to connect to the network manually.

3. Sometimes I'll see the network SSID immediately, sometimes it will take several minutes before the phone detects it.

4. Once it's there, I'll click on it, enter the password, and it will look as though it's connected. That is, there will be a check next to the network and the Edge icon in the top left of the phone will switch to the WiFi icon, at full strength.

5. At this point, there are various different behaviors, but overall the common symptom is that it cannot stay on the network for more than a few seconds before reverting back to Edge. Sometimes I can see the signal strength go from full down to almost nothing (even though I'm sitting inches from the router), and then it will switch to Edge by itself. Other times it looks full-strength until I actually try to use it (Safari, weather, etc), and then it will switch back to Edge within a few seconds. Sometimes in very rare circumstances it seems to hold on to the connection for 30 seconds or so before dropping it.

I've spent about four or five hours on this over the past couple nights but none of the usual solutions seem to work in my case. Here's the background.

A. The router is a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54, which is a 11g/11b high-power router. Unfortunately they haven't updated their firmware in a long time but I am definitely running the latest code.

B. My iPhone is also running 1.1.2.

C. Other devices in the house work fine (2 different Windows XP laptops, an iMac) and the iPhone used to work just fine also.

D. In the past, one of the laptops would lose connectivity and it would be solved be restarting the router and cable modem. This hasn't been a problem this week for that machine. I've rebooted the router and cable modem countless times today anyway to no avail.

E. I have ensured that the router does not have MAC filtering enabled. But just in case I added the iPhone's MAC address to my list of recognized clients. No help.

F. I have disabled mix-mode on the router so that it only supports 11g (and no 11b). No help.

G. I have ensured that DHCP is enabled and allows up to 25 devices, so there's no shortage of IP addresses available.

H. I thought it might be a conflict with another nearby network (although there is only one in range) and so I tried various other WiFi channels (11, 9, 6, 1), none helped.

I. I have used AES security with a 13-character (non-hex) password for a long time and it's worked fine. But tonight I reverted back to many other approaches, such as using WEP-128, etc... no luck.

J. After trying a new configuration on the router, I would "Forget this network" on the iPhone and try again. No help.

K. Towards the end of my experimentation I would also enter Airport mode for a while to reset the radio in the phone, no help.

L. In many cases I also performed a full-reboot of the phone (hold down the power key for 10 seconds, slide, reboot). No help.

M. A few times, I also tried resetting the network settings to defaults (Settings - General - Reset - Network) and it would reboot afterwards. Still no luck.

I haven't been this frustrated with a device in a long, long time. Unfortunately I won't have the opportunity to try it with other Wifi networks for another day or so.

I'm considering trying the DD-WRT open-source firmware as a last resort before buying a new router.

Is there anything I've forgotten?

- Jim

iMac, iPhone, Windows XP machines, Mac OS X (10.5.1)
  • Jim McCabe Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Another weird wrinkle in this saga...

    So I gave up on this around midnight last night. The last thing I did was lower the strength of the router's signal to 50%. (I'd read a post indicating that sometimes having too strong of a signal can cause trouble, and this is a strong router.) Didn't seem to fix anything last night.

    But today the iPhone has been on Wifi no trouble at all. The signal strength seems weak, but at least it's working. That's with no changes to my settings today at all.

    - Jim
  • Jason L Community Specialists Community Specialists (10,880 points)
    Hey Jim,

    Jim McCabe wrote:
    D. In the past, one of the laptops would lose connectivity and it would be solved be restarting the router and cable modem. This hasn't been a problem this week for that machine. I've rebooted the router and cable modem countless times today anyway to no avail.

    This is generally a router issue that requires a hard reset or repair.

    At this point it would not hurt to restore the iPhone.
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=305744

    If the iPhone or laptop continue to have issues staying connected, you may want to replace the router.
    http://www.apple.com/airportextreme/
    http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/

    You can also visit a local Apple Retail Store and test the iPhone on their open wireless network.

    Jason
  • Jim McCabe Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    OK I'm back in the office after many days working at home. So I have the opportunity to test the phone on a different Wifi network. Here's what I noticed:

    1. I'm only 15 feet from our router and the signal shows up as either 100% or very very weak. This seems strange.

    2. When I came into the office, the phone behaved how it did at home. That is, it automatically joined the network but then couldn't seem to stay connected. It looked like it had joined, but once you try to use it the phone would revert to Edge.

    3. So I did "forget this network", then reset the radio by entering "Airplane mode" for a few minutes.

    4. Then I rejoined the network. Sometimes as soon as I joined it, a dialog box would pop up saying "unable to join". Then a few seconds later it would show up in the settings page with a check next to it, as though it connected fine after all.

    5. If I stay in the Settings - Wi-Fi Networks page, I can see that it joins and then leaves the network periodically. The check comes and goes every few seconds. And when it really is connected, the signal strength is really weak.

    Strange.

    I also had the chance to talk with a coworker who has a very interesting wrinkle on all this. Right before Christmas he bought two iPhones - one for himself and one for his wife. He's had this exact same problem on one of the phones but not the other. That is, one phone works fine on his network, but the other phone has trouble seeing the network and staying connected at all. The phones were bought on the same day and they're being configured identically by the same person, yet one of them just doesn't work well with Wi-Fi.

    I have to admit I'm reluctant to completely reset the phone back to factory defaults since I'm using Windows and I'm a little nervous about losing a lot of data and having to re-enter it by hand. For example the calendar information.

    - Jim
  • Moenning Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I am having the EXACT same wifi performance, or lack thereof, with my iPhone running on an Airport Express network. The laptops and PowerMac all connect without problem and stay connected while the iPhone jumps onto my home wifi momentarily then switches to EDGE permanently. Very frustrating.
  • Randy Kight Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I had very similar issues with my home wireless. I went out and bought a Linksys Wirless-N and ran the easy setup configuration. My new iPhone saw the network full strength. After a day or so I was in the far end of my house and noticed a very weak signal, then lost the signal. From them on it was intermittent. I ended up changing a few things on my router:
    Changed the mode to G/B mixed from Mixed.
    Changed MFU from 100 milli to 50 milli.
    Changed the wide channel to 11.

    I've been solid ever since. Doubt this will help, but hope it helps a little.

    Randy
  • Moenning Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I had similar settings except the channel number on the Airport Express Network was set to channel 1. I changed to channel 11 and the connection is staying. Thank you, your post was quite helpful!

    Mike
  • Moenning Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Well, just when I thought it was working better, the same problem comes up. I have a strong signal on all my laptops and even the TIVO receiver, but the iPhone drops the signal and then cannot find it at all. When it does find the network signal, it often cannot join. When it does finally join the network, it can only stay with it for a few minutes then switches to the Edge Network. This is truly frustrating. My next step is to try a different router. That'll be fun!

    M
  • Moenning Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Went to the Apple Store today to get on their network to determine if the trouble is with the phone or the network. The exact same issue developed at the Apple Store with network connectivity being inconsistent or nonexistent. I have an appointment tomorrow to have the phone checked at the Genius Bar. Will report back with more info tomorrow.

    Mike
  • musicmaker Level 3 Level 3 (590 points)
    I use my iPhones all day on my WIFI. Then they stopped auto logging in. I did a hard reset. Home button and top button held down until the iPhone powers off. About 10 seconds. That solved it for me. And other issues too.
  • Moenning Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I went to my local Apple Store - Deer Park, IL outside Chicago - and explained the situation to the Mac Genius. We tried to get onto the Apple Store WiFi and the same problems occurred. I was immediately given a new iPhone and installed my old SIM card. Got back home, restored data from my backup and everything is working well. I did ask the Mac Genius at the Apple store what he thought the problem was and he said it was probably a faulty WiFi card. The whole experience at the Apple Store took less than 15 minutes and was painless.

    If your WiFi connection on your iPhone suddenly flakes out and there's an Apple Store near you, I would recommend testing your iPhone on their network. If the same WiFi problems occur you will probably get a new iPhone.

    Thanks to all for the suggestions and help on this forum!

    Mike
  • Walkiria Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I don't think you should worry about resetting the iphone since all your data will be in iTunes. iTunes creates a backup of your data and will ask you if you want to sync to the backup.
  • Jason L Community Specialists Community Specialists (10,880 points)
    Jim,

    If you have a protective case on the iPhone remove it, cases with magnetic clips can create issues.
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306435

    If the iPhone has a self assigned IP address like 169.254.x.x, it did not receive a valid IP from the router. The iPhone will join a Wi-Fi network but without a valid IP address from the router, it cannot connect to the Internet and will revert to the EDGE network.

    You can have a Mac Genius take a look at the iPhone, just make a reservation online here:
    http://www.apple.com/retail/


    Jason

    Message was edited by: Jason L
  • Jim McCabe Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Months later... the iPhone wifi support finally died 100%. In a way this was a relief because I brought it to the Apple store and walked out with a replacement five minutes later, and it's worked great.

    After putting up with this awful wifi for months, it really was a hardware problem. Eventually, a few days ago, the phone would show "No wifi" in the Settings panel and would not let me even search for networks. Also in Settings - General - About, no address was listed for the wifi adapter.

    I'd encourage all of you experiencing problems like mine to schedule an appointment with an Apple "genius" at a store if you can.

    One caveat - be careful about backing up your data first. When I brought my new phone home, I lost all my notes and calendar entries. It seems that on Windows, iTunes will store backups of those but it won't sync them to a different phone.

    - Jim