Strange inconsitent wifi behavior with iphones and android

Booshanky

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Jun 29, 2010
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Hi everyone,

I do IT work for a living, but I don't really play with phones too much. One of my clients uses their wifi a lot though and said they're having problems. Here's the best way I can describe it.

Essentially I can ping the phone from a PC, but the initial ping (say when the phone is just sitting in my pocket) returns abnormally high latency. Then when I pull the phone out of my pocket and hit the power button, I get no response at all for a sec. If I try and access the internet (using the speedtest.net app in this instance), I get no response for a few seconds. I can just keep retrying but it only works after a few tries. That's what's happening in this photo. I've pressed the power button and the latency lowers then disconnects.

1.jpg


In this shot, I'm basically hitting retry on the speedtest app. As you can see, it goes from timeout to totally unreachable.

2.jpg


Finally, it connects after a few seconds, then the ping drops to a normal level and the phone behaves normally. Great speeds and latency on the speedtest app.

3.jpg


Once the speedtest is completed, it drops again, wash, rinse, repeat.

4.jpg


5.jpg


Now, I should note that the entire time this is happening, I don't see anything going on in the phone. The wifi looks consistently connected. it's not dropping the signal as far as I can tell. Also, this is on a Netgear N-300 router running the latest DD-WRT. Laptops, printers, virtually anything else that uses WIFI is totally fine. It's only phones that have this issue, and it's irregardless of brand/make. Iphones, android, it doesn't matter.


Any ideas? Thanks.
-Mark
 

PvilleComp

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Jun 13, 2010
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Check the advanced WiFi setting on the phone. In Gingerbread it under Settings -> Wireless and networks -> WiFi settings -> Menu button -> Advanced.

Set the Wifi Sleep policy to Never. Most default configs will put the wifi into a sleep or semi sleep mode when the screen is turned off to conserve battery life. What you are seeing is the WiFi reconnecting when coming out of sleep.

Hope this helps.
 

Booshanky

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Jun 29, 2010
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Ah, that makes a lot of sense and I thought it might be due to power settings on the phone.

What I still don't quite get, is why it does this on not just android phones but iphones as well. That's why I thought it might be a setting in the router, as I don't have this same issue (nor do the people at this office) on other wifi SSIDs.

I've been reading a bit and apparently there's an MTU setting (I think) in DD-WRT that's a default which doesn't work well with phones. But I still have to try it out.

Thanks for the responses. Big help.

-Mark
 

epidenimus

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Apr 13, 2011
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I expect that it is mostly for power management purposes on the devices. How many operations do most handset clients really need to run that require network connectivity when the screen is off? Email push and IM? Heck, 1G is more than enough for that kind of traffic. Obviously, constant ping and latency checks do not enter the realm of most end users or their apps. Fortunately, Android accommodates guys like us, too. :)
 

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