Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One solution for Facetime Problems.

For most of us the iPhone 4 is an upgrade from either the iPhone 3G or 3GS.  Unfortunately, this little upgrade appears to be causing a small problem with Facetime.  It turns out that there are about 5 port ranges that need to remain open during a Facetime conversation.  Additionally, a small amount of Port Forwarding takes place in the Router (required for current Facetime usage on wifi).

It seems that if you set up your router to include the 5 port ranges, leaving the ports open, you will not necessarily solve the problem.   Additional Port Forwarding on a manual basis does not help either.  I used a Linksys router for the past few years and I thought that I had to update the software.   I eventually got Facetime to work on my Linksys router, by first of all not changing any of the 5 port ranges recommended by Apple or invoking Port Forwarding.

So what is the solution that I found?  Well, I actually didn't find it.  It was a simple suggestion that was suggested to me by one of the Apple Geniuses at the Genius Bar.  I applied the recommendation on the two phones and voila, Facetime worked like a charm.  If you are going to do this, you will need to know the following information:

1.  The following actions will reset the Wifi connections on your phone, but will leave all telephony and app data alone.
2.  It will not erase your phone, if done correctly.
3.  You will have to put in ALL network passwords to get on Access points or Routers again.
4.  It will not affect Exchange Server data.
5.  It will NOT erase your phone.

What I did was this and in this order:

1.  Go to Settings.
2.  Go to General.
3.  Go to Reset.
4.  Select "Reset Network Settings."

Once you confirm that this is what you want to do, do a soft reset of the phone.   The AT&T logo will take a little longer to come up and your bars should come up also.  You will have to set up your wifi connection on your phone again.  But before doing this, ensure that you turn off your Router and leave it off for about 15 seconds before turning it back on.  You can then turn the router back on and sign in to your network.

The only issue with this is that you will not be able to tell if Facetime will work if both phones are in the same household using the same router.  That will usually always work.  The proof will be when the other person is at a Wifi hotspot and calls in or if you call them on Facetime.  That is the test.

The first inkling that I had of this problem was the fact that I was able to do Wifi Facetime to someone outside of my home only if I was at an Access point outside of the home.  I could only communicate via Facetime with my wife who also has an iPhone while we were both on the same router.  We could not communicate outside of the house.  With the Reset, I am now able to do so. 

My theory is that the mechanism to do Facetime, including getting around ports on the router without having to reset the router were not available until now. The 3G setup is probalby deficient somewhere in making iPhone work.  The settings on the 4G are different, hence the need to fully erase the 3G settings and leave only the 4G settings being sent to the Router.  Since the change was made, we have no dropouts and Facetime is wonderful, even 30-50 miles away at times, which is as far as I've travelled to use it.

Let me know what you think about Facetime and if you have any other solutions to give others.

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