When both Broadband & Tethering FAIL

I'm through some infurating issues. When my home broadband Internet connection failed, I was not alarmed, as I had my iPhone tethering available through Fido 3G. I have done that before, it's never been an issue. Except that this time, it did not work.

IMG_0444My home Internet provider, Distributel, is quite reliable. I’m getting speeds higher than 10 Mbps most of the time for download and around 500 kbps for upload. But for the first time since I started purchasing my Internet service from them, in the evening of September 30, the connection progressively worsened until it became unusable.

“No worries”, I thought, “that’s what iPhone 3G tethering is for!”

I used tethering before with no problem and had no reason to expect it won’t work this time. In case you have never used it, here are the steps you need to take to pipe your computer’s Internet through your iPhone – it’s called tethering:

1. Turn on iPhone 3G/3GS. Turn on Computer.

2. Plug iPhone 3G/3GS into Windows via the iPhone USB cable.

3. On the iPhone 3G/3GS, go to ‘Settings > General > Network > Internet Tethering’ and switch it to ‘On’. When prompted, choose the ‘USB’ option.

4. Windows will recognize the USB connection and should start working immediately. If not, go to the ‘Windows Control Panel’ and open ‘Network Connections’. The iPhone 3G/3GS device will be listed there.

5. ‘Right click’ on the new “Local Area Connection” listed and select “Enable”.

6. Go to a website on your Windows computer.

Note: The setup method for USB will only have to be done one time per computer. When you want to tether in the future, simply do only Steps 1, 2 and 3.

And this is precisely what I’ve done. When I connected the phone, I disabled my dead Ethernet connection and 20100930-001-screencaplet the computer get an IP lease from Fido, over 3G. But it didn’t work. The little yellow ball kept moving from left to right and back in the tray20100930-008-screencap, and eventually the yellow triangle with an exclamation mark indicating “limited connectivity appeared.

20100930-003-screencap 20100930-002-screencap

The default IP showed up in my settings and the warning box told me that there is no problem with the computer, but rather with the network – namely, Fido. I tried “Repairing”, just in case:

20100930-005-screencap 20100930-007-screencap

Unsuccessful, I tried to disable and re-enable the connection, then I tried manually from the command prompt to ipconfig /release then ipconfig /renew to refresh the IP lease, but that did not work either. 20100930-006-screencapAs a last resort, I called Fido tech support, pressing 3, then 3 and finally 1 or 2. The first time around I got disconnected after about 15 minutes of waiting on hold. The second time I got through after 10 minutes. The CSR who answered was named Christina. She asked me what was my IMEI because “we don’t have it on file”. I told her that I got my iPhone straight from Fido by mail. She then asked me to enter *#06# to get it, but that did not work as I was in a phone call:

IMG_0443I had to do it twice, obviously. Here it is, modified with a certain key, for future reference: 011981001501155

She told me she was going to refresh the IMEI but other than that there is nothing else that can be done; I should call Apple if I have further questions: 1-800-263-3394. I was a bit frustrated but then again, it’s not her fault. If indeed the problem is at Fido, as it seems, the problem is far more difficult to solve and would require more clearance than my CSR had. On my part, I plan to upgrade to iOS 4 soon – I’m still on 3. Hopefully, that will solve the problem.

Sources / More info: enable tethering, symbian-tethering, yt-iphone-tether

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