Commendable efforts on trying to isolate the "problem", which is more than I can say for the deafening silence from Apple so far.
My current situation is now that my wifi connects to my home network only when I'm within 1-2m range from the router.The moment I step out of this range it loses all wifi connectivity - I have tested it by using airplane mode to make sure the phone isn't sneakily using 3G when wifi signal is lost. Actually, my 3G speeds are significantly faster than wifi.
Like others, I have tried all that has been suggested here - reset network settings, reset and forget all settings, restroing ios5, rebooting my router, trying another different new router, assigning static IP addresses, open DNS, disable/enable MAC filtering, assigning DHCP allowed clients, restoring as new phone. Some of these measures work temporarily at best, which serves to ramp up the frustration-o-meter.
I cannot connect to any public wifi networks, tried this at the Apple store in Leicester and they had one look (which took 2 seconds) at my Diagnostics & Usage screen and said "It's a hardware fault, get it replaced". I am awaiting a replacement 4s from Vodafone UK but they are currently out of stock (which is not what they told me last week!), but am not holding out for much with the replacement.
I don't have exactly the same apps as you do. Whilst it could be a possible conflict problem with certain apps, I still suspect it's a fundamental ios5 or hardware fault - or as Apple would call it, a "mathematical problem", much like their antennagate problem when the iPhone 4 was first release. Until Apple refutes this or comes up with a patch/solution, I don't see any reason to not suspect this.
My main gripe is this - why do Apple users put up with this substandard quality/performance everytime?? I absolutely love the 4s for what it tries to be and for what it could be, but I am beginning to wonder if I am just holding onto a romantic notion of an icon that should no longer have this iconic status due to its poor reliability.
As for the conflicting apps / router / interference hypotheses -- if I build a new road, I expect by default for the road to be able to be used by all current road vehicles, especially if I was going charge a toll to drive on my road. Our collective wifi / connectivity / poor battery performance issues suggests substandard planning / troubleshooting and lack of proper real-world testing. Is Apple too big to fail? I think not, is the answer. "It just works" just rings pretty hollow to me at the moment
I think it is funny how people freak out about their new gadgets. Every iPhone has had some small quirk shortly around launch and it ends up being fixed.
Problems with wifi networks are rarely caused by one thing. I have found that turning the "setting time zone" feature feature off helps with the wifi issue (this is also said to resolve battery drain)". So why might this work? Simple GPS features can interfere with wifi signals if you have a GPS always activating and in this case it is currently activating more than necessary it becomes A) battery drain and B) a lot of noise the that needs to be processed out of the wifi signal. Wifi networks do not like noise and use algorithms to compensate and make adjustments so you can maintain connection at a decent rate of speed. This fails when either the device or the wireless access point (wifi router) cannot react appropriately to the wifi interference. So you may see improvement if you update to the latest and greatest router that has a faster processor and some really good software to make the adjustments needed to maintain a stable wifi network. Which translates to a router that would most likely cost over $100 and by a manufacturer that updates firmware routinely to help accommodate new technology. Now I believe apple has new wifi & gps chips in the 4S and that the software iOS 5 needs to be tweaked a bit so that the 4S uses its GPS chip more appropriately and efficiently. The same applies to the wifi chip when it comes to efficient use but it needs a better algorithm to filter network noise. Here you may also see improvement when you remove some variables to 4S connecting to a wifi network. Those variables could be in the form static ip addressing (versus dynamic) and static DNS settings on the phone. By doing this you have reduced some processes albeit minor but these little fixes help deal with wifi issues in way that results in less actions that are needed to negotiated between a wifi device and it's wifi access point.
I know Apple is aware of the problem because I have spoken to employees of Apple that are experiencing the same issues with their devices. Also this problem is common but the solutions are unique. There is a lot of experimenting required to find the balance needed to negotiate all of those wireless functions so that they interfere each other as minimally as possible.
So giving demands on Apple "they better fix this or else" puffed up consumer ego is really not constructive. Relax the sun rose today and it will most likely set this evening and chances are you are broken from the perspective of many people around you. Instead why not establish what has worked and has not without adding your BS ego and emotion. You can save that for those who have made a commitment to love, live and maybe honor you.
Thank you for your explanation on interference and the complexities of 3G and wireless and making even mere simpletons like me appreciate the nuances of the inner workings of the 4s.
So the Apple employees are experiencing a similar problem. So every new iphone always has its "quirks" - Does that still make it right / excusable and diminishes the problem? Yes, yes I know it's not the end of the world if my wifi doesn't work - I don't need anyone telling me to take stock and look at the big picture. What I would like, however, is for someone from Apple to acknowledge that they are aware of the possible problem here and that it's not just an isolated bad batch of phones due to poor quality control, and that this is fixable.
"The problem is common but the solutions are unique" - that's so very reassuring and eases all my frustrations and stress, thank you very much for that.
Very few of us are demanding that " Apple better fix this or else...", simply because there IS no "or else" - we either put and shut up (never an option), or move on to a different provider (seriously contemplating this option).
Lots of us have established what has worked for us and what hasn't - read through the threads and you'll find no commonality in solutions that sticks and fixes the problem - the only commonality is that it is ios5 and the 4s.
Plus, why do we, as the consumers, have to figure out how to fix this problem?? If you buy a car and it breaks down every 5 minutes, wouldn't you expect the manufacturer to look into it or at least acknowledge that there may be a problem with the product but they are trying their best to sort it out?
****, if I come up with the solution and fix, I'd like a majority share in Apple please thank you very much.
I think you misread and misunderstand genuine frustration on these forums. Please do not misinterpret this angst for "BS ego and emotion". Maybe we are not all as cool-headed as you may be. I believe that not acknowledging this problem with the 4s is the real loss of perspective.
My response was posted in reply to the original post so it would not target anyone. However after you read my post you seem to feel that it applied to you. I think your "choice" in responding as if my post was being directed to you says it all and I truly feel bad for your frustration. While I agree that the wifi problem can be inconveinent I really do not think it is worthy of an emotion (for example "frustration" or "angst"). Why give up so easily a moment of happiness for an inanimate object? Or even just a neutral moment for one that can make you feel bad in any way over an object?
Again to refocus the thread
WiFi signal drop improves for some under these factors:
- disabled the "Setting Time Zone" option which may improve battery life- Settings ->Location Services -> System Services -> Setting Time Zone (select off)
- A router with the most recent firmware or possibly a more recent router that has a faster processor and current software that helps reduce the affects of wifi interference
- Assigning your 4S with a Static IP and Static DNS (like OpenDNS 18.104.22.168 | 22.214.171.124)
What is fairly certain to happen is a fix from Apple that will make the above bullet points moot.
Remember a person is not perfect and so what they collectively or by themselves design, create, and manufacture is not perfect as well. So why would you expect something new to be perfect from the start? Our cars are not perfect; there are countless of problems every year. Spend 30 minutes at any dealership and witness the problems experienced especially on expensive luxury models with complex electronics. And the original cars did breakdown frequently, but now they have been made for over 100 years the combustion engine principles are the same just added with conveinences. But I can point out that a 1995 Honda Civic VX does better consistent gas mileage than any hybrid 38 city and 44 highway without having to strip-mine rare metals to make a hybrid battery (source is the epa) So how does a car from like 16 years ago operate more efficiently then a modern vehicle? Are all the new cars with electronics fuel injection systems malfunctioning "every five minutes" and wasting resources? Most likely no, but then again maybe we do not know as much as we pretend to think. Nothing works flawlessly; that is a misguided perception based on what criteria we use to determine things to be "working" or "bugged" etc.
Whoa there, you've lost me on your vehicular analogy!
You're right in redirecting the focus of this thread, after all, we are all striving to get the bloody thing to work, so there's not point ending up having cyberspace fist fights over this.
But, a few points, if I may:
- Setting Time Zone, already set to off - no improvement
- Have used 2 of my colleagues' brand new wifi routers with most recent firmware - DLinks and Airport Extreme - only provided a temporary fix, wifi drops again after 30 minutes and when you walk out of range of around 5-6m
- Static IP and open DNS - again temporary fix, wifi connects then slows down to a halt after 20mins and kicks me off wifi back onto 3G
I disagree though with not feeling frustrated about this - for one, I do not always have the time to continually change settings on my phone just to get it to work. I do not have the time to hang around for Apple tech to tell me to do what I have already done. I run a healthcare/tech division of a multinational and we were thinking of distributing 4s phones to employees (around 5000 of them) but reliability and wifi is a big criteria - at the moment it looks like we're going to go Blackberry instead.
I'm not expecting the iphone 4s to be perfect - to be perfect it would have to do my job, earn me my wages and get me laid every night. Surely it's not too much to ask for a brand new phone to be reliable and just to function without having to fiddle with it every so often? If we were to accept that the 4s was flawed, why on earth was it released before it was tested properly in the real world?
I guess some of us are just prepared to accept flaws and unreliability. I cannot afford to, both personally and professionally, especially not on new technology that purports to "just work". So on this matter, I guess we have to agree to disagree.
I will hold further judgement until I receive my replacement 4s - in the meantime, I am happily typing this on my brother's Samsung Galaxy S2 - guess what - I'm outside in my garage and the wifi works! Funny that isn't it?
Apologies to other forum users for going off thread / focus - from now on the focus will only be "constructive" and I will hold off the rants and refrain from displaying any emotion on this thread.
Still experimenting with the suggestions offered both in jest and anger.... Still get wifi dropout. Wifi signal shows top of homescreen but not locking in settings display so it cannot get internet. (data turned off so that it does not use mobile).
As a matter of interest, to ensure that there was no other interference, I tried disconnecting every source of radio interference including house telephone and video senders. I live in the country so no interference from neighbours. Then rebooted iphone 4S. No luck.
Turned off router and on again and presto it locks on.
As mentioned by many others in the thread, every other apple device continues to work as normal. Ipad, 3gs, 4 and ipods. Only the iphone 4S is affected. OS5 software updates in Ipad, Iphone 4 and 3GS works as expected.
Hopefully Apple is following this and taking note that replacing Iphone 4S with another iphone 4S is not the solution.
reporting in. i tried removing a few of the previously mentioned apps that had been updated around the time that my wifi started freezing up on me. I had thought i found the root cause when i removed Meebo and my wifi was good for a couple hours. But, then it started freezing up again.
So, last thing i tried was i restored my iphone from a backup that was taken on 10/15. This was my first backup on the iphone 4s (i had migrated from an iphone 3gs). I believe that even though the backup is from 10/15, the app versions are "current", meaning if the app was updated after 10/15, even though i restored a backup from 10/15, the latest version of the app gets installed along with the restore. However, any new apps that i installed after 10/15 are not on the phone right now. With that said, I've gone about 12 hours with no wifi issues since restoring from the 10/15 backup. Some of the key differences in this configuration from 10/15 are:
- i haven't setup Notifcation Center all the way. For instance, emails are not setup for notification center.
- there are a few "new" apps that aren't installed. The ones that *might* be related to the issue are: Trillian and Airport Utility. Although, I have Airport Utility installed on my 1st gen iPad on ios5 and am not having issues on that.
I'm going to leave my phone alone today and see if any of the wifi freezing behavior returns. If by this evening i don't have any issues, i'm planning on resetting my Notification Center as i had most recently had it configured. Then, will let that bake for a little while and see if that introduces my wifi issues. If that pans out ok, then i'll start adding back my newer apps one by one.
I know everyone believes this to be a hardware issue, and that was my first inclination, too. That still may certainly be the case, but my latest testing from yesterday is currently implying that there may be a configuration or app issue that occured sometime after 10/15 which may be the root cause.
Will keep the info coming as I gather it. And, yes, I am an engineer, so I can be very systematic in my testing... ;-)
So, here's what i've found. If i try to restore from any recent backup, i encoutner my wifi issue within the first hour. However, if i restore from my backup from 10/15, things seem to work ok. My 10/15 backup was my last full backup off of my iphone 3gs, running ios 4. This was the backup that i used to originally migrate my iphone 3gs to the new iphone 4s. When i restore this backup on to my iphone 4s, after the restore is complete, it gives me the menu options on my iphone 4s to complete the ios 5 setup (picking language, region, etc).
It seems to me that my specific wifi issue, where it just freezes and wifi needs to be turned off/on on the iphone to get it working again, is not hardware related, but rather software related. I can't say for sure if it's an app or ios 5, but i now suspect ios 5. Something about my configuration on ios 5 must have become corrupted, causing my wifi issues. I know that's a rather broad generalization of the root cause, but the two ways that i've been able to get my wifi problems to go away is to either reset the iphone back to factory (without restoring any backup) or to restore a backup from before i was on ios 5. Considering that my original problem appeared suddenly after almost 2 weeks of running on ios 5, I don't have a ton of confidence that my problem won't eventually come back. But, for now, this seems to be working for me.
So, for those of you who are still battling this specific issue, if you migrated to an iphone 4s from another iphone, i would suggest restoring the last backup you took from that old phone. If you are running into this issue and the iphone 4s is your first ios device, try resetting back to factory defaults. I can't guarantee success, but it seems to be working for me.
i'll report back if anything changes on my end.
I bought an S4 a couple of days ago and the whole thing seems to be related to the router only and not to the encryption setting nor to the wi-fi range. Quick example: I tried to connect to my university network via wifi and at first it didn't work out but when I moved to another building which has another set of routers mounted it works fine even if the connection is weak (1-2 bars) and for more than 1hr.
I don't know which type of router works and which doesn't...this is the best I could experience so far with a brand new italian s4 but I guess there's nothing different in terms of hardaware/software setup...
Thank you guys for all your work on this issue. They definitely need to do something about it!
I'm sure they will.
that is happening to me, i am getting a really slow connection from my home network, so slow infact that my 3g leaves it in the dust. But when at university on their wifi and using a friends network i get up to 15mbps download speed, and up to 20 mbps upload speed.
but at home im lucky to get 1mbps download speed. and 100 ping.
i've been reading quite on forums, and it seems it's the next big fault from the 4S after the battery problems. i hope this also get fixed with the update apple are saying is going to fix the battery drain problem.
I think it is safe to say after several days and using the device on multiple wifi networks both private and public that my wifi is working properly:
What worked for me and a another iPhone 4S having the same issue was this
The biggest improvement came from a simple "reset all settings" (settings -> general -> reset -> reset all settings)
**Note: I did NOT select "erase all content and settings"
Once the phone reboots eventually you will come to the initial setup page. When it asks you to either restore from backup or setup as a new iPhone - I used setup as new iPhone (did not restore). Then all of my apps were there in the places I had organized them and all of my data files were intact (music, movies, docs, etc). The only thing wiped was all of the settings relating to customization (backgrounds, ringtones, networks, etc). It still had in memory my old Bluetooth pairs but I deleted those and repaired the devices.
I also disabled the "setting time zone" feature.
(settings -> location services -> system services -> setting time zone (select off)
Because I believe this to cause unnecessary battery drain and interference to the wifi. I recommended doing this right away as it is on by default and it appears that the wifi chip has some learning capabilities which may cause some false data to be recorded on how the wifi chip deals with interference (this is speculative at best) which maybe the reason why some are not having issues and some are. It also could explain why a reset would only resolve the issue temporarily and overtime the wifi is degraded.
I'm not sure a router replacement is essential but if you are running an old router like I was (wrt54G rev 1 using tomato USB and dd-wrt firmwares) and have some extra cash to spend you may want to upgrade. I really like my wndr3800 by netgear with the latest update installed it supports time machine on lion for over the network backups of my mac pro. It also provides the ability to run open source firmware without hacking. Although the stock upgraded firmware is very capable for most home and very small office networks. The wndr3800 functions as good if not better than the latest airport extreme but opens accessibility to more configurables.
Note because my home internet is via clear wireless my network is double NATed and with default DNS's and the iPhone is dynamically addressed (DHCP) and performance matches my iPad 2 both within my home network and countless others. This is also true for a peers iPhone 4S that was having the same issues as mine. This environment due to the double NATing can be challenging for mobile devices and the iPhone 4s is performing better than expected and does not seem phased by the extra hop required to get to the first Internet server.
May all benefit and I truly hope this helps. If it does or does not work for you please respond to this post. Just make sure that the procedure is followed exactly above. I also want to mention that I did have a couple tests (~4) the yielded poor results after the performing the procedure above but since then it has greatly improved with consistent expected performance (2nd day seemed to be stabilized which seems to indicate some learning on the chip's part). In short be patient let the device figure it's balance.
Matt - sounds like you and I both ended up at similar resolutions. I hadn't tried "Reset All Settings", but I had tried "Erase all Content and Settings" followed by a restore from a backup. As I'd mentioned, restoring from a current backup did not work for me. I had to go to a pre-ios5 backup. It sounds like a "Reset All Settings" would have worked for me, too, doing essentially the same thing. Good to know if there are future occurences, since i can't keep on restoring to a backup from 10/15...
For the record, I have not had a recurrence of the wifi freezing issue since restoring from a pre-ios5 backup
Agreed. But I do feel that (while I understate by saying it is speculative) disabling the "setting time zone" is a crucial step in preventing the wifi configuration data from being corrupted by contending with a GPS signal that is currently overactive and will be address it the next update. Ever since the days when I would use GPS with even the old Dell windows PDAs you use to turn off one or the other in order for them to function at all. Now that our mobile devices have faster processors running more advanced and efficient code they can appropriately work with each other with little negative affect. That remains true unless one is not functioning properly in this case the GPS remains on when not requested by the various functions of the phone causing the battery drain but also not shunting itself when the wifi is trying to connect or maintain a connection. The result would be wifi drops and or low speeds due to this interference. That is not speculation - I just don't have the time to reverse engineer to prove that is what is happening but I'm 90% this step will resolve the issue of the wifi Config degrading over time.
thanks. I had not turned that off previously, but did after read your post this morning. I have seen the additional discussions about that setting in other threads, but they were all related to battery drain and i wasn't having any battery issues. I see that ios 5.0.1 beta has been seeded, and to your point should contain the Time Zone/Battery fix. I was hoping that patch would also include a fix for whatever is causing this issue. To your point, maybe the cause is the same.
To my knowledge I'm the only one who has posted this setting being the culprit but - I am certainly not alone in coming to this conclusion. I have spent sometime with some engineer buddies (to be noted I'm not an engineer) and they definitely think it is valid theory. My experiments (using that term very loosely) over the last three days involved 2 iPhone 4S units both had the same problem first I resolved mine but still didn't post because I wanted to wait to see if the positive results would last. Then later that day I borrowed a friends iPhone 4S and only did the reset but left the "setting time zone" feature on. Within hours that unit started to have wifi issues (while mine was still functioning properly). I then reset the phone again and immediately turned off the "setting time zone" feature and both phones have been performing well for almost 3 days.
I am well aware that my testing is not scientific but I have put enough time into this already and my wifi is working appropriately. If anyone does one or the other chances are it will not work you must reset the phone as I mentioned in an earlier post to remove all of the errant Config files that have been generated (I do not believe resetting the networks will do this properly). Then once the phone is rebooted set up as new phone *do not recover* (but as long as you didn't choose to erase your files/data and apps will be intact) and then immediately disable that "setting time zone" feature.
OK I'm done - I have a life to attend to. LoL