Wifi Hotspots don't work despite 3 bars

meagain

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 18, 2006
2,563
23
I was traveling around today and had various unlocked wifi's come up on the phone. I had 3 full bars but when I went to check safari or send an email... it said "cannot connect to server". I thought I would only get this message if I was trying to get on a locked wifi.

Why wouldn't I be able to use any of these Wifi spots? I'm now questioning the value of wifi in the phone except for home use. Am I doing something wrong, or have bad settings to where my phone will only talk to MY network? It's puzzling me why I see the 3 bars but it doesn't work. Thanks.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,409
I've connected to open wifi spots all over NY and Denver.

The bars have nothing to do with wifi, they have to do with ATT phone network signal strength.
 

riverfreak

macrumors 65816
Jan 10, 2005
1,315
1,409
Thonglor, Bangkok
Just because a Hotspot is "unlocked" doesn't mean its free. Many hotspots require you to pay/logon via a web interface which requires that you can see and connect to the hotspot first. Try the T-Mobile hotspots at any Starbucks, for example.

Last week I ran into a really crazy scheme though. Free hotspot, requiring that the user first click on a policy agreement link on the default page. From there, some wacky javascript created a popup window. I was able to log on fine on my PB, but the iPhone couldn't deal with it. Other than that, I've had great luck using my iPhone as a mobile 'puter on free wifi...
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,409
Good point. Using the iPhone on my hotel's free wifi required connecting to the spot when prompted and then launching Safari to agree to their TOS.
 

japasneezemonk

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2005
414
0
Nomad
I've had the same problem with some open wifi networks, my iphone had the "cannot connect to server" problem. I just changed my dNS settings, and it worked fine.
 

woodbutcher

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2007
103
0
Just because your connected to a wireless network, does not mean that network is connected to the internet. You could have very easily connected to an unprotected laptop.
 

unity

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2005
926
0
Green Bay, WI
Just because your connected to a wireless network, does not mean that network is connected to the internet. You could have very easily connected to an unprotected laptop.
Bingo! For example, I did this today. I logged onto my local Ford dealer network while waiting for my car to get a recall service done. It connected, but no surfing. Instead it reverted back to Edge yet remained connected to the network too. In short, it knew better in this case.

I also know what other mean by that "usage policy" agreement page. Many hotels have that also. Must agree to terms before you surf.

Also some networks may be open, but only select MAC addresses are authorized to use the wireless. Again, login ok but no net access.
 

Cabrewolf

macrumors member
Apr 2, 2003
50
0
This is actually a pretty big problem with Safari on the iPhone. Many free connections require that you agree to their terms (it can cause legal problems if they don't). But, the iphone is not compatible with many of the requirements such as certain types of pop ups and some flash selections.
 

jecapaga

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2007
4,295
22
Southern California
This is actually a pretty big problem with Safari on the iPhone. Many free connections require that you agree to their terms (it can cause legal problems if they don't). But, the iphone is not compatible with many of the requirements such as certain types of pop ups and some flash selections.
this has to be it. I'm having a ton of problems connecting and even open safari to look for something to agree to and safari just isn't showing me anything so it just looks like i'm connected but never get the real option to.
 

Cabrewolf

macrumors member
Apr 2, 2003
50
0
Yep. I've brought my macbook pro to a number of hot spots that do not work on the iphone and it merely requires a box to be checked that does not exist on the iphone. Hopefully these free providers will change the way you accept.
 

meagain

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 18, 2006
2,563
23
Japas.. - So changing the DNS settings per that link helped you connect more frequently to these hotspots then without these settings? Is that correct?
I changed mine per the instructions and so far, my home Wifi works fine. I've not yet traveled around to test it.

My phone is not hooked up to AT&T - just wifi - so my goal is to optimize the wifi situation even more than perhaps some others desire.
 

japasneezemonk

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2005
414
0
Nomad
Japas.. - So changing the DNS settings per that link helped you connect more frequently to these hotspots then without these settings? Is that correct?
I changed mine per the instructions and so far, my home Wifi works fine. I've not yet traveled around to test it.

My phone is not hooked up to AT&T - just wifi - so my goal is to optimize the wifi situation even more than perhaps some others desire.
It helped me connect when i was in an open or closed network, and my iPhone still had the "cannot connect to server" message (even though i knew i was supposed to be able to connect).

This is a direct Quote from Andrew Escobar's Site, which solved my problem.

"In some cases, when connecting to a wireless router the iPhone incorrectly selects the network’s broadband modem to act as the DNS server. The broadband modem will not work as a DNS server with the iPhone though. In these cases the following error message appears: Safari can’t open the page because it can’t find the server."
 

wagwag22

macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2007
5
0
Wi Fi doesn't work at Panera & other locations

I'm having no luck connecting at Panera ( free ) - 2 locations and at Phipps (free) in the Pittsburgh area - I've sat inside, so distance should not be a factor. I've waited sufficient time for a connection to be made and 3 bars are present.

I've made 2 trips to the Genius bar at the Apple store - no resolution either - Wi Fi does work in the store , both on the Apple Wi Fi and a local free Wi Fi network.

I've reset the iPhone software as recommended - still no luck.

Always get the same msg
" Safari cant connect with the server "

Checked the DHCP IP Address #'s - they start with 192. - Genius told me that should be OK


Is this :

1. a problem with my 8 Gb phone ?
2. a problem with many iPhones ?
3. is an Apple software update fix likely ?

Any gurus - please help

TIA
:confused:
 

meagain

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Nov 18, 2006
2,563
23
Wag - at Panera, did you get a Panera welcome screen that you had to click on something to get in? You should get that screen. And, I'm curious if you changed the DNS settings as above - if you find success. So if you try it, could you please report back if it helped you or not? thx.
 

wagwag22

macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2007
5
0
Wi Fi does work at Panera

Wag - at Panera, did you get a Panera welcome screen that you had to click on something to get in? You should get that screen. And, I'm curious if you changed the DNS settings as above - if you find success. So if you try it, could you please report back if it helped you or not? thx.
Just got back and after changing the DNS Settings to an

IP address to 208.67.222.222 as per

Andrew Escobar's Site, - solved my problem.
http://andrewescobar.com/archive/2007/07/06/change-iphones-wi-fi-dns-settings-to-connect-to-the-internet/

Was able to connect to Wi Fi and stay on - switched off the iPhone and tried again - perfect reception - didn't have to change the IP address.

Thanks so much to Andrew Escobar

Will check other locations later.

Do let us all know if there are any other successes or failures.
 

jecapaga

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2007
4,295
22
Southern California
Just got back and after changing the DNS Settings to an

IP address to 208.67.222.222 as per

Andrew Escobar's Site, - solved my problem.
http://andrewescobar.com/archive/2007/07/06/change-iphones-wi-fi-dns-settings-to-connect-to-the-internet/

Was able to connect to Wi Fi and stay on - switched off the iPhone and tried again - perfect reception - didn't have to change the IP address.

Thanks so much to Andrew Escobar

Will check other locations later.

Do let us all know if there are any other successes or failures.

Ok..so call me dumb, it's ok, so am i to assume that a possible fix for wifi out in the world when I seem to connect but don't is to go into settings on that specific hot spot and change the DNS to what you've listed above? Am I correct in thinking there isn't a fix all DNS change/entry that would allow wifi on the fly to always just work...like I want it to?
 

specops

macrumors regular
Jun 29, 2007
244
0
I'm having no luck connecting at Panera ( free ) - 2 locations and at Phipps (free) in the Pittsburgh area
What Panera were you at? my friend said he saw somebody with an iphone the other day at Panera. I laughed because i havent seen anybody else who owns one yet "in the wild" lol
 

EricBrian

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2005
631
0
Hello all,

I finally got the DNS entry right by changing it to 192.168.1.1 for the WiFi here at work.

I get to the authentication part but now it says:
Can not read sata from Cookie. Please check your browser.

Anybody know why this would be? I didn't think Safari had issues with Cookies?!?!?!

Thanks. :)
 

japasneezemonk

macrumors 6502
Jun 13, 2005
414
0
Nomad
Ok..so call me dumb, it's ok, so am i to assume that a possible fix for wifi out in the world when I seem to connect but don't is to go into settings on that specific hot spot and change the DNS to what you've listed above? Am I correct in thinking there isn't a fix all DNS change/entry that would allow wifi on the fly to always just work...like I want it to?
You're right, you do have to change the DNS settings for every specific hotspot.
 

wagwag22

macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2007
5
0
What Panera were you at?

What Panera were you at? my friend said he saw somebody with an iphone the other day at Panera. I laughed because i havent seen anybody else who owns one yet "in the wild" lol
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