Droid won't load web pages on open WiFi connection
December 18, 2011 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Probably a stupid Droid question: My Motorola Atrix will connect to open (unsecured) WiFi networks, but I am unable to load web pages. Can't even perform a simple Google search. There must be an option somewhere that I can't locate. Any ideas?

I've been thinking all along that it must be a phone option. But now I'm wondering if it's a browser thing. I'm using the Dolphin browser., but I'm not seeing any options related to open vs. secure networks. Any tips?

Please no lectures about security. It's not something I do very often and I don't connect to open networks automatically. But every once in a while, you need to Google, you know?
posted by mudpuppie to Technology (8 answers total)
Have you done troubleshooting stuff to narrow down what might be causing it? Specifically:

1) trying to load something in a different browser, or play a video with the YouTube app, or send an email though the gmail app, etc?
2) has this happened with more than one open WiFi network? My Android phone has this problem with my home open network, and after some poking around, I've concluded it's the very ancient (c. 2006) router setup we have. It connects fine to other open networks.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:09 AM on December 18, 2011

Are these public or wifi open wifi hotspots like Starbucks or something? Or are they a neighbor's hotspot? In my building there are a few routers I see that I can connect to but I can't use. My neighbors may have some sort of other way to keep their system secure or their router isn't configured correctly. Or they didn't pay their cable bill. Who knows? When I'm just randomly trying to find a hotspot while out and about I'll often have the same problem. But on my iPhone or computer(s).

In other words, unless you know the hotspot you're connecting to is working properly, you can't rule out it is the phone or your browser's fault. To make sure it isn't your phone do a test with a known good wifi hotspot. Like your own. If has WPA security, temporarily shut that off and try to connect. If you're still having the problem, then yeah, it is something in your phone which sounds improbable. But it could be some proxy/dns settings you have that is somehow breaking it.
posted by birdherder at 11:37 AM on December 18, 2011

Can you connect with a laptop or other computer? Lots of free WiFi hotspots still require you to go through an acknowledgement page even if you don't have to provide any other identification. With my Windows 7 laptop, sometimes that means a couple of attempts to open web pages before the acknowledgement page comes up.
posted by tommasz at 11:53 AM on December 18, 2011

Some open networks are not open to the Internet. If your phone is set to connect to anything available and you're like, in a transit station, that's probably what's going on.
posted by rhizome at 12:17 PM on December 18, 2011

Response by poster: Two examples: I work for a large university. The university provides both secure and open networks. The secure network's signal strength sucks in my office, but the open network is reliably available. I cannot connect to websites using the open network. (I'll have to check to see if I can connect via other software -- email, Pandora, etc. -- when I'm in the office tomorrow.)

I've also stayed at hotels that provide WiFi for guests. In those places, I can connect via laptop, but not with my phone.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:37 PM on December 18, 2011

In addition to the above checks (are you actually completing the connection and is the network actually able to access the outside world?).

Can you get to Google using an IP address rather than a hostname? If so, you have some kind of DNS problem. If not, you may have a DNS problem or you are not in fact connecting to the network.
posted by epo at 12:59 PM on December 18, 2011

erm, 2nd "DNS" s/be DHCP, my prof redding is not what it was/
posted by epo at 2:55 PM on December 18, 2011

I know the answer! Or half the answer. I have the Atrix and also find it finicky in regards to connecting. It connects to available networks but does not login to them, so when I try to browse use the Facebook or Twitter apps I get a no connection message.

What I find works is launching (and sometimes refreshing) the built-in Android web browser. It will eventually redirect to a login page and then I am good to go, If I start right off trying to use Opera Mini (my preferred browser) it is no go. Launch the Android browser and log in.

Now, does anyone know a way to get my damn phone to automatically login to commonly used networks? It remembers my home network just fine, but not my work network at the university.
posted by LarryC at 12:25 AM on December 19, 2011

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