Apple Watch WiFi connection while at the gym

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by sir42, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. sir42 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    NY, NY
    #1
    After connecting to my gym's WiFi I thought I could leave my iPhone in my locker but still receive notifications on my Apple Watch while on the gym floor. However, as soon as leave the locker room I get the red disconnected icon on my Apple Watch.

    I thought that Apple Watch could still talk to an iPhone on the same WiFi network, is that not true? Or is this a problem with how my gym has setup their WiFi network?

    thanks!
     
  2. Bromeo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Near Seattle
    #2
    Was your phone on the gym's WiFi network? A way you can verify it is working is to allow your phone to connect to the WiFi network, then disable Bluetooth on your phone. This should cause your watch to hop onto the WiFi network enabling most functions, such as Siri and Messages.

    Certain network setups can prevent WiFi roaming from working, such as range extensions or various router settings. Also, if your watch was just on the edge of receiving Bluetooth signal from your phone, it will prioritize Bluetooth over WiFi, and the result being inconsistent. I hope WatchOS 2 improves consistency on this a bit. I understand Bluetooth is more power-efficient than WiFi, but if the signal is dodgy on the edge, it should hop assertively over to WiFi.
     
  3. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #3
    The culprit could be the network, but if the wifi passcode somehow isn't stored in the Watch (especially if you already had the iPhone connected to the gym's wifi before you got the Watch) try forgetting the network on iPhone and re-connecting while in Bluetooth range. That'll ensure the passcode gets transmitted to the Watch.
     
  4. kazibole macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    #4
    Also some wireless networks prevent clients from communicating with each other as a security measure.
     
  5. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #5
    Does the gym WiFi require you to accept a T&C web page before it lets you in? If so, then the watch will not be able to get in the network.
     
  6. Hatton920 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    #6
    Also the watch can't connect to 5ghz networks.
     
  7. sir42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    NY, NY
    #7
    This seemed to do the trick. I turned the Bluetooth off on my phone while in the locker room and made sure the Watch could still talk to my iPhone. Then when I was out on the gym floor I was able to receive notifications on my Watch while connected to the gym's WiFi network.

    Now, I did keep Bluetooth off on my iPhone the entire time I was at the gym. So it's possible that if I had kept the Bluetooth on that the Watch would have tried to use that while out of range instead of the WiFi. It's funny, I'm seeing that in iOS 9 Apple is just now including a setting to jump back onto cellular if the WiFi is weak. They should really do this with the Watch and Bluetooth/WiFi.
     
  8. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Location:
    New Sanfrakota
    #8
    This shouldn't happen. Are you on iOS 9 beta because if so, it could be a bug?
     
  9. sir42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    NY, NY
    #9
    I am. But I was having problems at my gym while on iOS 8. I should mention, I'm using the gym as an example because it's really the only place I go where I would be out of BT range of my phone (in a locker) but still on the same WiFi network.
     
  10. sir42 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2003
    Location:
    NY, NY
    #10
    An update: my watch remains mostly a brick when I'm at the gym. My gym does require a T&C web page so that could be it. It's a national gym so hopefully they can work with Apple behind the scenes to ensure connectivity.
     
  11. exxxviii, Aug 24, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015

    exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #11
    There are two things in play that the networking and security gurus will need to figure out.

    1) AP/client isolation that prevents two clients on the WiFi network from accessing one another. This is a very important security measure, as you would not want any other random person on the network to be able to access your device when you are on the network. This fundamentally blocks traffic between two devices like a watch and phone.

    2) MAC-based authorization (the T&C splash screen) that lets the host present their terms & conditions for you to accept before granting access. When you accept, it unlocks your device's MAC address for WiFi access. The problem here is that the watch has no way to tell the router it is an acceptable device and to let its MAC address connect.
     
  12. ddkkpp macrumors 6502

    ddkkpp

    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    #12
    if you connect with your phone to a 5ghz network, then walk away from you phone, the watch won't connect? I always get the red "no phone" icon at work, (which doesn't require a T&C click through) when I leave my phone at my desk and walk to a different part of the building. I suspect it might be because I prefer 5ghz networks? damn.
     
  13. exxxviii, Aug 25, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2015

    exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #13
    Yep, the watch does not do 5GHz. But that is as much a local network design problem is it is a AW limitation.
     
  14. papbot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    #14
    At home my phone is always connected to a 5GHz network, I have it set that way. I have a dual band Time Capsule, but the watch stays connected no matter where I am in the house. The 2.4, and 5 are essentially the same network, just different bands, so there's no issue. If you're in a location where the entire network is 5GHz only that would be a problem, but I've never encountered that. There are too many devices, phones, printers, doorbells, etc. that can only connect to a 2.4 band so it would be unusual to only have a 5GHz band available. As long as you had the phone connect to the 2.4 once, you're good to go. I can even turn my phone off and still use the watch for messages and Siri.
     
  15. exxxviii macrumors 65816

    exxxviii

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #15
    That is correct WiFi network design. However, many sites setup the two bands with different SSIDs, so it screws up everything. The devices and access points should determine the best band based on the bandwidth demands and signal strength.
     
  16. papbot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    #16
    I think that's the problem. Usually locations like that log you out after a certain period of inactivity requiring you to launch that T&C page again. If that happens there's no way for the watch to rejoin the network unless you do it again on the phone.
     

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