Fixing Android Wifi Woes

If like me you own a smart phone running android 2.2, you might have encounter a rather annoying niggle which arises when trying to connect to a router using Wireless-N protocols. Recently my HTC Wildfire informed me of an update availible, upgrading me handset from Eclair (2.1) to Froyo (2.2) which i prudently installed. Once the phone has restarted, i discovered to much annoyance that the handset would not connect to my wireless network for love or money. Several hours ensued with me trolling through the settings of my Linksys WRT300N and i come up with nothing, aside from stress and a lot of acid.

So what in heavens was the matter with my phone and the Wifi? After further seaches online i discovered other people where also having the same issues as I. However nobody seemed wise as to the problem, apart from it was localised to routers using wireless N draft. For those of you not in the know, Wireless N is the successor of the ageing Wireless B/G which you will find in almost any laptop built in the past five years, in fact there are still devices being sold now, which are sold with a wireless B/G adaptor.

However until recently Wireless-N was not finalised, meaning devices where being built using a preliminary release of the Wireless-N standard. Leaving manufacturers to decide on how they implimented the draft standard in to their devices. While companies have spent of lot of time fixing the issues, there are still some devices, like my WRT300N. Which are no longer recieving firmware updates, simply due to their age. Meaning those bugs can only be rectified by purchasing a replacement device. As my router works fine with the rest of my devices, i was not prepared to spend money simply because my phone didn’t connect to the wireless. So i decided to leave it. Several months passed when during an update to my ZT-180 tablet i was faced with the dreaded wireless problem once more, this time it was serious. The life line to an android tablet is it’s connection to the internet, without which the device in my opinion becomes a bit useless. As a consumer device, was good was it, if it wasn’t consuming my bandwidth?

Determined to address the issue, i took once more to the internet and discovered after some time. A random post on a forum, the url of which i’ve subsiquently forgotten. The poster suggested using the advanced wifi settings in the android OS and setting a static IP address. A static IP is useful if your router is struggling to assign DHCP addresses or your device is simply getting a bad IP address. There was a time many moons ago, when our whole network at home was running with static IP’s and BNC cable. OH how i miss those days, yes..like a sore tooth! 🙂

So now i’ve waffled on, lets set your android device to use a static IP

Assuming your are on the “desktop” or main screen of your device as it where.

1. Press Menu
2. Press Settings
3. Press Wireless and Networks
4. Press Wireless settings
5. Press Menu
6. Press Advanced
7. Now select “Use Static IP”

Now here comes the part that will require some advanced knowledge and the use of a computer. Assuming the machine is running Windows, under Win XP, click run from the start menu and type “CMD” then press the return key. A window should appear on the screen, type “ipconfig” press return.

In Windows 7, click the menu button and in the seach field type “CMD” press the return key. Hopefully a window should pop up. Making sure that you are typing within this window enter the command “IPCONFIG” press the return key.

OK now if your still with me, XP and Win 7 users. A lot of information should now have filled your screen. The important parts we want are Default Gateway and Subnet Mask. Make sure to enter this information in to the appropriate field on your android device. Usually the Gateway will be something similair to 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. The subnet mask is typically 255.255.255.0.

IP address, pay attention to the IP address listed on your main computer, it should be listed under IPv4 address. Now let us say your gateway address is 192.168.1.1, your computer might have an address of 192.168.1.2 or even 192.169.1.12. Really is depends on how many computers are linked to your LAN (local area network) Lets go further and say like me you have a main PC and a laptop. It’s highly likely you do not have more then say 3-4 devices in your house hold. But to be on the safe side, give your android device an IP address of 192.168.1.30. This will put it well out of the way and hopefully not interfere with your routers ability to handle DHCP addresses as usual. Please note you will need to adjust your IP address accordingly, so if your gateway is 192.168.0.1 then you will need to use that address as reference and incriment the final digit.

Next is the DNS setting! right now usually this would be an address provided to your router by your service provider. However for your android device, your router IS your service provider. So enter in your default gateway address in to the fields for DNS1 and DNS2.

Now press the Home button or the back button to get back to the main screen and hopefully if you try your wifi, it should work. Note if you plan on using the wifi at starbucks or a friends, be sure to untick the “use static IP” in your advanced settings. Dont worry, your device will remember the settings for when you get home.

All the best

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