Iphone wifi blues in Spain
September 21, 2008 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I've just arrived in Spain and my iPhone wont access the internet even though it recognizes the hotel's WiFi network. My Apple Air laptop works just fine with this same wifi network. Why isn't my iphone enabling safari or email access on the iPhone? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
posted by emberm to Technology (7 answers total)
So, are you sure it's actually using the hotel's wifi network? Did it ask you for permission to use the network?
posted by mpls2 at 11:40 AM on September 21, 2008

Many hotels will attempt to redirect you to a landing page to authorize access to their wifi network (usually making you agree not to do anything bad and a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo). Sometimes you will need an access code from the front desk. Perhaps Safari on the iPhone is not redirecting to this landing page properly? I would ask the front desk if there's anything special you have to do to get on the wireless there.
posted by genial at 11:49 AM on September 21, 2008

What happens when you try to access a page on Mobile Safari?

Does the little blue progress bar that appears under the URL pause for a long time before it makes it very far from the left side, before finally giving an error about not being able to find the server, or something?

I've had trouble using the iPhone with many (but not all) unsecured WiFi networks. It seems to be a problem with using the provided DNS servers.

First thing is to go to the WiFi section of the settings widget, look at the details for the hotel wireless network, and tell it to forget the network. Then return to the home screen, and go back to the WiFi settings and try reconnecting to the network and see if that works.

If it doesn't, you can try deleting the DNS servers for the network, and manually entering the IP of some public DNS servers. Try & They are apparently operated by Level 3, which is a reputable company.

If the hotel WiFi uses a captive portal that requires you to acknowledge terms, or enter a code, before continuing then the public DNS server trick may not work.
posted by Good Brain at 1:07 PM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The hotel's wifi network does not use a captive portal and when I connected to my mac laptop to the same wifi network I got connected immediately without any fuss.l. When I look a the network details there's nothing i the DNS area. I've told iphone to forget the network and reconnected but still the same thing. All the iphone apps that utilize an internet connection are not working (weather, email, safari etc.) in similar fashion. I'm really stuck. Does my ATT voice/data plan have anything to do with using iphone wifi? I am not currently on an international voice plan.
posted by emberm at 3:04 PM on September 21, 2008

With your Mac connected to the Wifi, go into the Airport Card section of System Profiler. (Available from the button in "About this Mac" under the Apple Menu...)

If the Airport Wireless Channel says any number above 12, the hotel is using a Wifi hotspot on an "international" channel. US channels are only 1-12, and 13 and 14 are sometimes available in European countries and Japan.

If this is the case, your Mac has an international-compatible Wifi card and your iPhone doesn't.

I ran into this same issue in Prague, where only one of our Mac Book Pros would connect, but all of the iPhones would, and the one Mac Book Pro that did connect had been bought from an independent dealer, instead of direct from Apple.
posted by tomierna at 3:36 PM on September 21, 2008

Oh, sorry - the solution we came up with was to ask the hotel if we could reconfigure their wireless access point. They allowed us to and we changed it to a US friendly channel.
posted by tomierna at 3:37 PM on September 21, 2008

Response by poster: the wireless channel the hotel is using is 11. The MacBook Air continues to access the wifi fine. ONe interesting wrinkle...as I sat in bed awake with jet lag I got the safari browser on the iphone to access several websites! Then the email fetch worked across three pop accounts. Then 30 minutes later I start getting the same problem again: 'Cannot open Page' either because the server could not be found or just recently (after I added the DNS to the wifi specs) because the server 'stopped working'. Is this an apple support question or an ATT support question?
posted by emberm at 10:25 PM on September 21, 2008

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