sabato 21 giugno 2008

Fonera problems with portable devices: Nokia E51,E65,HP514 etc.

I writing this post as a list of workarounds for most of you. Sadly there is a problem in all the foneras I own. There are old foneras with the heatsink and new ones without. The problem is there to stay and I don't think it is going to be easily solved by a firmware upgrade.

According to my research on the topic the issue is caused by the way the fonera handles its double beacon feature. The private area (MyPlace) is usually the one that presents connectivity issues with small devices. Each Fonera offers Two separate wi-fi areas: a public unencrypted area for granting (free) wi-fi access to the community and a private encrypted area for creating a secure home network.

The Fonera can broadcast only one SSID ad once. The Atheros chipset allows the use of a trick for running Two beacons at the same time. This trick consists in putting the private area in sleep mode after each broadcast and then waking it up after bradcasting the public part.

This causes problems with most energy saving network adapters and the wast majority of portable devices. When they get the "sleep" message they obey immediatly and enter standby thus losing the next Wake Up signal. What happens next is that the device is correctly associated to the fonera but it just can't receive data because with each beacon swap it resets the connection.

As a side note I'd have now to rewrite most of the recent guides for accessing Voip providers with mobile phones after discovering this flaw...


1) The first workaround is to connect your device to the unencrypted signal. It works for all the devices I have... Connect to the open network, it's the one that always starts as "FON_". The additional burden is in this case that you'd have to go throught the FON portal and give your FON access credentials to unlock the internet (Voip won't connect fi you don't).

2) The second workaround is for Nokia Devices. You got to get into

Settings => Connection => Wireless Lan => Left menu, advanced settings (Don't be scared go on) => Energy Saving (Turn it off)

Once you do that and use the wireless network your device won't go anymore in sleep mode, but the battery will drain really fast (just like when talking). You can expect 3hrs standby time and a reduced battery life and so long... it's far from a perfect solution.

3) Nokia second workaround. This workaround is for downloading a Fon Client that automatically connects you to the public signal. Get the Fon connection manager from this page. (I personally don't like it that much).

4) Use another Wi-Fi access point (if you have it). Of course this is not a workaround by I am out of ideas...

Devices affected by this problem include:
WL-388 mini-USB device (Gemtek?) - Linksys WUSB11 V2.5 Instant Wireless USB Network Adapter - Intel PRO 3945 ABG (in Dell Inspiron E1505) - D-Link DWL-510 - D-link airplus DWL-650+ - Most Nokia Handsets including E65, E51, E61 - HP 514 Voice Messenger

Some References:

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2 Commenti:

Alle 25 agosto 2008 14:25 , Blogger Stefano ha detto...

Anch'io ho una Fonera e il Nokia E65, sai per caso quali altri telefoni Nokia sono affetti da questo problema oltre quelli da te indicati? Dove hai trovato le informazioni sulla compatibilità?

Alle 28 agosto 2008 18:44 , Blogger Enrico ha detto...

Le info stavano un po sparse, ma mi sembra sul forum di Fon.

Parecchi dispositivi portatili sono affetti, ma non è un problema loro quanto un problema della fonera.


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