Set Priority of 3G vs wifi possible?

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by Earendil, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Earendil, Jan 3, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011

    Earendil macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003
    I tried to do a search, but am not exactly sure what to call this, so I found nothing.

    In OSX it's possible to set the priority of the connection type, such that if a new type appears, OSX will use the highest available connection type.

    I cannot find a similar mechanism for my iPhone 4G. I can't even find a way to easily switch it, or even tell which type (3G or wifi) the phone is currently using. Am I missing something obvious? This issue happens in two scenarios the most, with each having a different priority issue.

    This most often gets me when my phone comes across a wifi network that uses a web interface to "open" the network. My phone auto connects but does not have access to the internet at large. So instead of using the strong 3G signal, it continues to try and use the closed (yet connected to) wifi connection. I have found no solution to this type of problem.

    Though less often, the reverse scenario also happens with a frequency that bugs me. My phone tries to use the poor 3G connection in my house to get at the internet, instead of my strong wifi signal.

    I have found a solution this, though it is very poor. If I put the phone in Airplane mode, it shuts off all connectivity. Then one can independently turn on the wifi connectivity, forcing the iPhone to use that port. Taking it out of Airplane mode at this point is usually okay, and the phone will stick with the wifi connection. But this is tedious, takes a while, and takes my phone off the air. It also doesn't work 100% of the time to take it back out of airplane mode.

    Is there a better solution to this? Even if I knew the logic or algorithm for port selection for internet usage, I may be able to manipulate it into doing what I want. As is, it's just frustrating...
  2. seajay96 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    To answer the title question...there is no way that I'm aware of to set a priority connection. The iPhone automatically prioritizes wifi over 3G, but prioritizing among wifi networks, I believe is by signal strength.

    For the undesired wifi networks, I suggest you do this:
    1. Under Settings/Wi-Fi, turn off "Ask to join networks"
    2. Under Settings/Wi-Fi, in the list of networks, find the offending ones (you have to be in range) and click on their blue arrow, then, either turn off auto join and auto login or click "forget this network"

    For the shift to 3G at home, my guess is that it's searching for a wifi network other than your home network and, not finding it, defaults to 3G. Or, it found a wifi network with a stronger signal that you've logged into before but that network doesn't have Internet access and jumps back to 3G. My only suggestion here would be to go through all of the networks you can see while you're at home follow the procedures above.

    Remember you don't actually have to login to a wifi network to be connected as far as the phone is concerned. So every time that popup asks you to join a network and you say yes, you're compounding this problem.
  3. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 27, 2003

    This could work, though I don't really want "Forget". It usually happens at StarBucks coffee, where I use their wireless when I'm inside, but don't want my 3G and pandora connection trumped just because I'm using the drive through.

    I can tell which wifi server I'm connected to, and I know its my own. However it fails to use it at times. My guess is that if for whatever reason it can't acquire an internet connection it'll default to 3G, even if the wifi connection returns a moment later.

    This is not technically true. You can communicate with a wireless server, but you can not connect to it in the traditional sense without a login and password. However some wireless servers, like StarBucks, are "open" servers but do some sort of filtering once you are connected, forcing you to a website portal in order to gain accesses to the rest of the web. This is bad for the iPhone because it can not distinguish this type of server from a regular open and free server.

    Anyhoo, thanks for the idea! I'm open to other ideas, or an app that accomplishes this :)
  4. seajay96 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    Then, just turn off auto join and manually select the wifi network you want, when you want it. The iPhone can't distinguish between the drive-thru and sitting in a faux leather chair inside. It's just trying to do what you told it to.

    Actually, it IS technically true. The iphone (or any wifi device, really) doesn't care one whit about web based credentialling to give you access to certain services. You have an IP address and traffic on a specified port or a PING response...therefore, you are connected.

    As I said, simply turn off the auto log-in and you should be able to enjoy Pandora with your iPhone in ignorant 3G bliss in the drive thru

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