Hail Mary Fix to Wi-Fi Connectivity Issues

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by zachlegomaniac, Dec 19, 2015.

  1. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    #1
    My iPhone 6 running iOS 9.2 won't connect to my home Wi-Fi (Airport Extreme and Express). My family's other iDevices (iPads, iPhone 5s, 6 Plus, and 6s), along with my Macs and Apple TVs, do not have this issue. I have literally done EVERYTHING I could find to address this issue online. That includes the suggestions by Apple here: If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch won’t connect to a Wi-Fi network - Apple Support, as well as some of their other supporting information. I had a troubleshooting session with Apple Tech support to no avail yesterday, and then got a new iPhone at the Genius Bar today. I still have no Wi-Fi on my iPhone 6 in my house (it works everywhere else). Apple has told me to contact my ISP, which I am planning on doing tomorrow (and will update accordingly), but I don't have high expectations on that front. I'm simply doing it so that I can rule EVERYTHING out.

    Does anyone have suggestions? I have no cellular reception in my house so Wi-Fi calling was a life saver for me. Now I basically don't have a phone whenever I am home. I was using a network extender, but sold it. Plus, when I do get a "bar" I don't want to be using my data constantly.

    Also, once in a while I will pull the phone out of my pocket and it has suddenly find the network, I will go out to run an errand, return home, and it will not find the network again. When I select the network it just shows that little spinning wheel that indicates it is processing.

    Thank you in advance for any insights you may have!
     
  2. JamesMB macrumors 68000

    JamesMB

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    #2
    Are you using you own router or an ISP supplied modem/router combo. Have you made sure that that router is running the newest firmware? Have you tried your phone on a different wifi network?
     
  3. JamesMB macrumors 68000

    JamesMB

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    #3
    Edit...Duh, I just reread your OP, and you answered most of my questions...
     
  4. HEK, Dec 19, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015

    HEK macrumors 68030

    HEK

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    #4
    You probably have tried forgetting network on phone and trying to remind it. Try this several more times. It may not work right off but then work subsequently. Don't know why, but easy to do and worth several more try's.

    Also I have an AirPort Extreme and I had a hard time once getting phone to connect. Even though my iPad, MacBook Pro and Apple TV connected fine. I completely started from scratch re-creating the wifi network. Took the AirPort Extreme to default as new condition and recreated my home network same address same password same name just fresh. For whatever reason that worked and when I linked my devices to it again they all worked including the phone that was having trouble connecting.

    At first I didn't think it could be a router problem as the other devices connected just fine. But since it solved my similar problem why not give it a try. Since all these are easily done by yourself over 15 minutes it certainly is worth a try. I never did find out why this worked, but once it does, who cares. Oh be sure the airport has the latest firmware update. You might also try not using the express. That might be confusing the phone, just a thought. I used to use and express with the extreme, and found I got better connection without the second router. I put my extreme central and higher up.

    It's highly unlikely you got two phone with wifi issues. I suspect the wifi router. If you were using an extender for wifi, especially so. I have AT&T wifi calling and it's great at home. Good luck and let us know.
     
  5. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

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    Sep 20, 2008
    #5
    Tried all of these things as my ISP isn't open to call yet. I have Wi-Fi! Thank you. I also played around with the settings of the modem/router from my ISP (Netgear CG4500BD). Since it's been working intermittently as is I'm hoping I don't come home from work tomorrow to no Wi-Fi, but I'll take it today!

    For some reason I couldn't update the firmware to the modem/router. It wasn't even an option form the admin control panel. I opened Airport Utility on my Mac, and it is set to check for new firmware automatically.

    One strange thing is that Airport Utility on my iPhone was showing that the internet, Extreme and Express were all functioning fine (via my 1 bar 4G connection) even when I couldn't connect to the Wi-Fi.

    Thanks to you and @JamesMB . I will post an update if things revert back to no connection thanks to helpful folks like you in this community.

    ZLM
     
  6. JamesMB macrumors 68000

    JamesMB

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    #6
    Do you have your Extreme and Express set up with the same SSID? Are they connected/bridged wirelessly or via ethernet? The reason I ask is, I'm wondering what happens if you test your connectivity with each router separately. You can also use the Airport utility to see exactly which router that you are connected to. Open the Utility, click/ tap on one of the routers, then click/tap on wireless clients. Since this is intermittent, it may be that your phone is just refusing to find one or the other of your routers.

    BTW, it won't be an ISP issue, since you have your own routers, the LAN/Network belongs to you. The ISP just supplies the internet connection, and is not responsible for your network. As a matter of fact, you can disconnect the incoming WAN/internet connection to your router, and you should still be able to connect to your LAN without any problem.
     
  7. HEK, Dec 20, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015

    HEK macrumors 68030

    HEK

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    #7
    When I still had the Comcast modem/router I used it only as modem. Disabled the router portion and used my AirPort Extreme.

    Now I have my own modem, not renting from Comcast and using AirPort Extreme as LAN router. When I had connection problems with only one device no amount of playing with settings helped. I had to take AirPort Extreme back to as bought status. And create the LAN network fresh. Without using the express at all

    Did you try that yet. Completely starting from scratch and only one router. When I had my connection problem I did not get any error message. All tests checked out ok. But starting over as if I had just purchased the AirPort Extreme and that did the trick. Be sure your modem/router is se up as modem only.
     
  8. Tom G. macrumors 68000

    Tom G.

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    #8
    This sounds like a problem I was having. I would assume that your AirPort Extreme and Airport Express are connected in a master/repeater manner. If so, what fixed my problem was to unplug the unit that is the master, wait about 10 seconds and then plug it back in. This fixed the problem right away.

    I think the cause of my problem was a comm struggle between my Time Capsule unit, which is the master unit and the Airport Express which is the repeater. By unplugging, and re-plugging the master unit it put them back in proper sync.

    What was maddening to me was that my iPad Air2 did not want to work on Wifi, but my iPhone 6S + had no problem at all with it.
     
  9. HEK macrumors 68030

    HEK

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    Sep 24, 2013
    #9
    Sounds like same reason I had trouble. Didn't think to just unplug. Same effect by setting up as new. Since I stopped using repeater, the problem never reoccurred.
     
  10. HEK macrumors 68030

    HEK

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    #10
    Very true. When I check my LAN speed, I see 400Mbps between my iPhone, MacBook Pro and iPad Air 2. The ISP cable connection to Internet gets only 120Mbps.
    image.png
    image.png
     
  11. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

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    Sep 20, 2008
    #11
    Although I have resolved the issue (I hope it's permanent as it worked for about a week and then I had the trouble out of nowhere again a few weeks ago) these are all suggestions that I will use should I walk into my house and the other shoe drops.

    The Express is connected wirelessly as I can't get ample Wi-Fi coverage all over the house. I did use Airport Utility on my phone, and located the phone connected to the Express/Extreme (as I moved about).

    I am going to Google how to disconnect the incoming WAN/internet. My setup is a little weird in that my ISP supplied Netgear modem/router is used by family at one end of the house, and by me on another floor. That is why I purchased the Express. I bought the Extreme a year and a half ago, and when I moved in with some family I used the Express to get Wi-Fi over to the in-law apartment.

    I am also going to Google how to set up the Extreme and the Express with the same SSID. Thank you very much for the suggestion. I'm a bit green with this stuff, as you can see.

    Exactly! It was driving me nuts how the three other iPhones in my house (all of different iterations) PLUS all the other Apple (and non-Apple) devices had no problem connecting to any of the Wi-Fi signals available. I also could not update the firmware to the Netgear modem/router that some of my family uses (and that I have my Extreme tethered to) as there were no options when I navigated to the control panel. I wish I could just get rid of it and have them all hop on my network, but, well, they can be pretty stubborn (especially the ones that aren't as Apple-centric as I am).

    For the reasons mentioned above I, unfortunately, won't be able to disable the router portion. I think creating the new LAN network is what resolved my issue, but I was playing with some settings in the control panel for the Netgear modem/router at the same time (foolishly) so I don't know what solved the problem. The weird thing is that I had tried power cycling all of the potentially problematic devices before without any luck. I'm hoping that by taking some of @JamesMB 's other suggestions (set up Extreme/Express with same SSID, etc.) I will be able to completely resolve the issue if/when it arises again.

    I was psyched when Wi-Fi calling arrived a few months back for me, and I got to ditch the network extender. I didn't realize how much it would suck to have no Wi-Fi or cellular in my home until it was gone, of course. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!!
     
  12. JamesMB, Dec 22, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015

    JamesMB macrumors 68000

    JamesMB

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    #12
    The way you describe your network, it almost sounds like you have three different LAN's set up, either by design, or more likely by mistake. It it were my network, the router in the Netgear modem/router would be disabled (as HEK mentioned earlier), and the Extreme and Express would be "bridged" making a single LAN.

    The way that you describe your network, I'm not surprised that you are having major issues, because each router/device is trying to act as a separate router, on the same network, instead of having one "router" and one or two access points....And that setup can be very iffy at best, not to mention, a nightmare to troubleshoot....

    Also, my previous statement about the LAN being yours is not necessarily true, since it appears that you are still using the router in the ISP supplied Netgear. The way you have it now, part of the LAN is yours, and part of the LAN belongs to the ISP. Not good; and as I said, a nightmare to troubleshoot.

    I can see now why you are having issues, and you will continue to do so until you set the network up correctly.
     
  13. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

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    Sep 20, 2008
    #13
    So you suggest disabling the Netgear router (for use as a modem only), and bridging the Extreme and Express, correct? If this is true I assume that a simple Google search will give me the guidance needed to execute both tasks. Thank you.

    If I cannot disable the Netgear router I assume bridging the Extreme and Express (if the are not currently configured this way) is at least the next best option.
     
  14. JamesMB macrumors 68000

    JamesMB

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    #14
    It it were my network...I would disable the router portion of the Netgear router/modem (your ISP should be able to help with that), connect the Extreme to the Netgear with ethernet cable (this will be your LAN router), and then bridge the express to the extreme (preferably with ethernet cable, because you will lose bandwidth using it as a wireless bridge) (the express then becomes an access point and has nothing to do with routing.

    Once you get the Netgear set as modem only, set the Extreme back to default settings, connect it to the Netgear (with ethernet cable) and let it do its auto setup. The express will also auto setup, depending on whether you use a wireless bridge or wired bridge (recommended). If using a wired bridge, set the express in bridge mode and select DHCP, and you should be good to go. If using a wireless bridge, let it auto set up, and choose bridge when it asks what it will be used for.

    With the network like this, you will have one LAN, and your devices will auto connect to the router (Extreme) or access point (Express) depending on which one has the strongest signal to your devices. It will also be much easier to troubleshoot, because the WAN (your ISP), ends at the Netgear, and the LAN (your home network) begins at the Extreme.

    This setup will give you one router, and you can add more access points to that router as necessary.
    I have a rather large home (around 6000 sq feet) and one router just won't do it, so I have an extreme as the router and a wired Time Machine for backup and access point, and another extreme, also set up as a wired bridge for another access point. My router (Extreme) is sitting next to the ISP modem, and connected with ethernet, the TM, and other Extreme are in different parts of the house and are both wired back to the main (router) extreme. I can go anywhere in my house and get a full wifi signal on either 2.4 or 5 GHz.
     
  15. HEK macrumors 68030

    HEK

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    #15
    Excellent explanation. And my experience shows same thing. Modem as modem only, AirPort Extreme as router. Not rich enough to need extender, grins.
     
  16. thatanonymoususer macrumors regular

    thatanonymoususer

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    Oct 12, 2015
    #16
    I'd agree with JamesMB with just a little bit of extra explanation since you said that you're green on this stuff.

    Your router in your network assigns ip addresses. It hosts a DHCP (Dynamic host configuration protocol) server and keeps track of the home-network IP addresses that are assigned. This is where your device gets its 192.168.*.* ip address from (or other ip address). These ip addresses are only accessible in your home network. If your Netgear is set up with its router (and DHCP server) on, it will have its own ip table that routes ip addresses to devices.

    Each of the devices that you listed have the ability to run their own DHCP servers. By default for easy setup, the DHCP/router portion is turned on for each device because most people only have one router. This would mean that each router would try to assign a different ip address to your device, and the DHCP tables wouldn't match between the routers. @JamesMB is suggesting that you turn off the routing for all but one of your devices (the AirPort Extreme) so that only one router does all of the ip assignment processes, and so that only one DHCP table will exist in your network at a time. You own your AirPort Extreme, not the ISP, so that makes it the most logical candidate for the DHCP server.

    When you set your other routers to have their routing/DHCP turned off (or bridge mode), the routers (called routers because they use the assigned IP addresses to route the traffic to your devices) will become dumb network switches. They handle incoming communications, but they don't try to route it. For example: if you buy a network switch to use with your modem-only device, you won't be able to connect to the internet because there isn't a router in your network to assign an ip address to the modem or your device, and they wouldn't know how to talk to each other.

    With regards to the SSID (router name), if all of them have the same name, password, and router, your phone and other devices should automatically recognize that your routers are part of the same network. If you set them up this way, you could walk all around where you have Wi-Fi connectivity and never have to pause your streaming services to re-connect. This is how a work or school Wi-Fi network works in order for you to be able to walk across-campus and keep downloading your content.
     
  17. JamesMB macrumors 68000

    JamesMB

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    #17
    One other thing to add...LOL
    If you do decide to reconfigure your network as described, make sure that you "forget" these other networks on your iDevices, and just use the new SSID. If you aren't familiar with forgetting networks on iDevices, you can also Reset Network Settings, on all iDevices, Laptops, etc in the house, and then let them discover your new network.
     
  18. zachlegomaniac, Dec 22, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015

    zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a

    zachlegomaniac

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    #18
    This article from Apple was hugely informative, as were your posts. Until I get the time (after the holidays) to clean up this mess at home with regards to my network my Airport Utility shows the Router Mode as Off (Bridge Mode), the Network Mode as Extend a Wireless Network, and the Wireless Network Names and Passwords as the same for the Extreme and Express. Is it safe to assume this is the best setup until I can reconfigure my network as described above (i.e. nix Netgear router, hardwire ethernet from Extreme to Express, etc.)? @JamesMB @thatanonymoususer

    The only weird thing is when I click on the Extreme in Airport Utility it states Connection Unknown.

    I think my devices are switching pretty seamlessly between the Extreme and Express right now so I am guessing that it is.

    Also, since my post has strayed quite a ways from my original belief that this was an iPhone issue could a moderator move this thread for me?

    Thanks!
     
  19. JamesMB macrumors 68000

    JamesMB

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    #19
    There isn't really any "best", until you reconfigure, because at best, if the extreme and express are bridged, you still have at least two separate LAN's (the netgear, and the express), and the DHCP tables still won't match, unless you're extremely lucky. What amazes me is that you aren't having more issues than you are reporting.
    As far as the "connection unknown" on the extreme, who knows what it thinks that it is connected to...LOL
     

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