I have the same issue - need to be within 1m of my router for wifi connection to work even then after a few minutes I have to renew the lease.
Have requested a new phone to see if it's a faulty handset but I have a niggly feeling the problem runs deeper than that - I really hope it's not a hardware issue, as like you, this is TOTALLY unacceptable for a company like Apple and a product like an iphone.
Like you, I am fast approaching the end of my tether and will likely be shopping around for an android phone should this problem not get fixed fast.
1 meter range is pretty extreme. Mine is not that bad. In my office I'm about 7-8 meters from our access point (802.11g) which is enclosed inside a closet and I get 3 full bars with no loss of connectivity.. When I'm in our office's stairwell which is out to 15 meters I'd get fluctuating strength, anywhere from 3 bars to none. Either way, my old iphone 4 was more consistent in connecting to wifi.
This is not really a range problem. My router is typically about 20 meters from me. However, when it works, it works otherwise it goes not matter how far I am from it. It just cannot retrieve an ip address from the router. It even finishes. The handshake but does not request the dhcp for an ip address.
I've just tried changing the channel on my router to the most extreme (channel 13) and used a static IP address for my iphone which seems to have stabilised it (I have a N Wireless Belkin router), also changed the frequency to 20MHz only.
It still drops the connection however, every 20 mins or so, or after a period of inactivity, and I still cannot connect to my router from my hallway, which is only 5-6 meters away from my router.
Can't believe how much time I've spent trying to sort this out since I got the phone last week - am starting to wonder if it really is worth it
I purchased (2) Iphones 4s models AT&T. On the 15 of October. I experienced this very same issue. I have a time capsule for WIFI. I have two mac book pros upgraded to lion. Both Mac book Pro work fine. The Iphone 4s kept dropping WIFI when accessing Itunes and using the external speakers.
I contacted Phone support spoke with two level 1 techs. then was on hold for about an hour for a level 2 tech. I explained the process of resetting the time capsule, restatring the Iphone 4s's. No go. They then suggested I go to the Genuis Bar. I went and gave them my case ID that was opened with the level 2tech support. They even tried the iphone 4s at the store wifi and they worked. Interesting.
They replaced both phones and have not had a problem since at my home accessing the time capsule. Not sure if this firmware on the time capsult that needs to be updated. They sent the old phones to engineering for analysis.
Just an FYI for everyone. Good Luck everyone!
Not really too much to add here but another voice from someone who is finding wifi conectivity to be patchy at best.
I work from home however am mainly working from my bed at the moment having recently had my knee reconstructed. I use an Airport Express which is located in my study below my bedroom. There is a solid stone floor inbetween however the AE is placed by the door and I'd guess my room is 5 or 6m away. The signal has never been great but the frequency with which I am losing it on my iPhone 4s is surprising. My MBP sometimes struggles to find a signal but perhaps once a day, not every few minutes when in use. It does seem to happen when I'm in poor wifi signal areas (my 3g signal is pretty good at home) so I'm not sure if it's just automatically switching to give the fastest speeds.
I am loving my 4s and don't seem to be affected by poor battery life (Yesterday i had 2 day 10 hours standby, almost 6.5 hours of use and still had 17% battery) so I am hoping that this is just a slight software glitch rather than a hardware issue.
I'm having the issue of WiFi dropping, but I'm also having the exact same issue with the 3G network. It just drops randomly. With WiFi it sometimes I think comes back when I put it into Airplane mode and back on. Usually I just re-boot the phone as that works every-time (at least for a little while).
I think a software update may fix this. I don't think anyone mentioned 2 antenna for WiFi, but it could be the same software between the 3G Dual Antenna and the WiFi that's causing the issue.
I'm seeing this issue as well - as well as other issues (yellowish screen compared to my old 4, high battery usage, after restore from ios5 iphone 4 to 4s, the photo app kept transfering photos to my created albums constantly - had to delete and re-create albums to get it to stop).
Some places in the house the 4S cant even get any WIFI connection where as my old 4 has full bars.
I’m curious if anything ever happens as a result of these discussions? It seems that my 4S connects to my home wifi easily when I manually connect but it does not auto connect and it drops off each time the phone locks. I’ve had the 3G, 3GS, & 4 on this home network and never saw any of these issues. The other oddity that I’m seeing is that when I open the phone back up, it asks me if I want to join my guest wifi network but not the one I have setup the phone with.
We are having the same issues with wifi dropping randomly. We have 3 4S phones accross multiple wifi networks...so clearly not the network. Is it possibly an IOS 5 issues...seen lots of posts there as well. We got hit with major data useage from ATT, as phone flips to 3G during dowloads...and can't catch while asleep. This is a MAJOR APPLE issue. When will they get a systematic fix. Need to have stable, reliable wifi access.
This isn't about your router or your distance from it. I posted this problem a week ago. Noticed it immediately. In fact, I have the 3GS sitting here next to the 4S and it never drops the signal. This is my third phone and never had even the slightest problem holding a connection with priors. Nothing else in my house has changed. It is clearly another issue with the 4S waiting to explode into the press. The 4S drops WiFi after idol for a period of time and certainly it's gone by morning. For those who reboot the phone, save yourself the hassle. All you have to do is turn WiFi off and on again. Once dropped, it won't pick up the IP address again, static or not, until you do. Can we have a fix here please. If I have to spend half a day at that Genius Bar once more, I'll shoot myself.
This is an update to my original post:
I've since purchased an Apple Airport Extreme 5th gen. router. I was going to do this anyway because I was using an old outdated Linksy's router. I have to say that my iPhone 4s no longer drops my wifi signal. I still noticed that it's in 3G when I first wake/unlock the phone but then switches immediately to my wifi. Not sure if my 3gs did that too. In sleep mode (3G) I don't think it transmits much anyway so I don't think that will affect my data plan. Or does it?
I wonder what other people with this same problem are using for their wireless router? Wonder if there is some connection with the router and how the 4S switches back and forth.
Anyhow, I think I'm satisfied for now. However, Apple needs to fix this issue for everyone else.
This issue is bleeding over into poor battery life rumors too you know. My phone will not go back to 3G when it drops Wifi. It is totally disconnected and will spin indefinitely trying to get the Wifi connection back. If not caught, my battery is dead in an hour. So the rumors are out that 4S has a battery issue when in fact it's likely this issue.
Anyway, the good news is, from my nephew who's on the sales floor at the Apple Store and other threads here on this subject, I've learned that Apple is very much aware of the issue and to look for a fix very soon. In the meantime, I just have to be careful not to let it spin down, and to switch Wifi off and on again to reconnect.
Yes, I've noticed this too. Three times in less than 1 minute of turning on/off WiFi - I lost connection. Let me explain:
1. Turn on WiFi.
2. Hit Safari to go to Reddit.com (~3 seconds).
3. Click on 2 links in Reddit.com (~5 seconds).
4. On third link, I just get that spinning cog wheel and ... bam no more connectivity even though the Wifi symbol is on.
I repeated this process 3 times in a row. As you guys say, I could see how this would drain the battery if it's sitting there trying to reinitate conact with the WiFi router.