T-Mobile WiFi Calling

A month or so ago I signed up for this new T-Mobile plan that allows you to use your cell / mobile phone to make unlimited calls from almost any WiFi connection.  The reason I say almost is because there are two types of WiFi connections it will not make, a secured WiFi network that you do not have the security key for and any "free" WiFi connections that require you to accept the terms of use (most public access points).  When I saw this deal I signed up almost immediately. The idea that you can be on the road using your normal cell phone tower and them walk in to you house and seamlessly have the call transferred to your wireless network was awesome. So I purchased four Samsung Katalyst T-739 phones which have WiFI / UMA calling built in and my journey began.

Since then I have had two months of unreliable WiFi calling connectivity. My first connection attempts were with my AirLink AR430W SuperG Wireless router that I purchased for $15.00 dollars at a local Frys Electronic store. With this router I would get sporadic WiFi/UMA connectivity on all four phones.  Some of them would connect, some of them would not. I would get one of a few T-Mobile errors; W002 and W010.  After googling for days and weeks, there was not a lot of information about these errors on the Internet. Most of the errors pointed to Blackberry connectivity issues and that errors W002 and W010 means that the device could not get an IP address which was quite strange because both laptops, my Wii and Xbox 360 all connected fine.  So I began my troubleshooting...

First I tried to connect to a friends un-secure router, every connection attempt was successful and I was making calls but this was not legal. So I tried to un-secure my wireless network, this worked for some of the phones some of the time. I tried changing the network beacon timeout, this worked for some of the phones some of the times.  The phones would sometimes connect after rebooting the router but this was unacceptable.  After about a month I decided it was my cheap $15 dollar router, so I went out and purchased a TrendNET TEW-631BRP 300Mbps Wireless N Broadband route. I continued to have the the same issues as above so I went back to Google and found a few sites that suggested to turn off MAC filtering, this was not applicable to me, or to try to assign static IP addresses to the phone so I tried this but no dice.  After about six weeks of troubleshooting and phone tag with the T-Mobile WiFi calling help desk we came up with a solution.

The solution

It turned out that the sporadic access was because I had the router set to automatically determine a channel.  The T-Mobile WiFi/UMA service will only work with channels 1,6, or 11, which I why it connected to my neighbors router (channel 6).

Here are all of the settings that you can apply to router to make it function similarly to the T-Mobile branded LinkSys router.

Setting Value
Beacon Period 100
RTS Threshold 2347
Fragmentation Threshold 2346
DTIM Interval 1
Wireless Channel (try in this order) 11, 6, 1
For a secure network WPA 2 is preferred over WEP

I hope this helps solve some of your problems and that T-Mobile documents this somewhere.

9 Comments

  • Very cool, I am looking into getting this myself. Do you know if these setting are required because of T-Mobile or your phone? I'm looking to get Nokia'a 6301 and wondering if I will deal with this issue with that phone as well.

    How does that call quality using the net compare with using T-Mobile's cell towers? How smooth is the switching between the towers and the router? Are there periods when you find yourself in-between and not being able to receive / make calls?

    Thanks.

  • The issues have to deal with all of the phone and connectivity. Most of the router settings are the defaults except for the channel in some cases. The transition from tower to WiFi is very smooth.

  • This was very imformative article. I am trying to get new service for my personal blackberry and I like tmobile. However, I don't have decent coverage at my home although coverage is stellar everywhere else that I am normally at. The idea I can still use it on my wi-fi router is enticing.

    So a question, does ATT wi-fi not work the same way? Their 8820 is wi-fi but I see no indication that they can do anything similar to this. Basically just makes it a fast surfing PDA.

  • My problems with the T-Mobile Katalyst are very similar to yours jguadagno. I live in Reston, VA and the T-Mobile GSM network is very weak in my home area. I bought the Katalyst after the sales people convinced me it would connect to my wireless network in my home. At the time, I had Comcast Internet service and a Linksys (WRT54G) Wireless-G router w/o security (no WEP, WPA, etc.). The phone worked flawlessly from day one as long as my Comcast network was up. Unfortunately, my Comcast network wasn't very reliable. We experienced many outages that lasted several days at a time. We had cable TV, Vonage phones, and Internet service that were all impacted by frequent service outages.

    So we switched to Verizon as soon as FiOS came to our neighborhood. BTW, all my neighbors switched also. The Verizon FiOS service included a wireless router with WEP (64-bit) encryption. We had problems connecting the Katalyst phone to our network from the beginning. The Katalyst recognized our network and correctly identified the SSID. I entered the 64-bit WEP code. However, we got error codes W0002 and W0010 everytime I tried to connect to it.

    I called the T-Mobile support line. I did FAQ searches on the T-Mobile on-line web site. I visited my local T-Moble retail store. Nobody could help me. Verizon sent me another router and the results were the same. Today, I called the T-Mobile support line and they agreed to ship me a relacement phone.

    I don't think a new phone will solve the problem. I have no problem connecting my laptop to the new network. Guests who come here have no problem connecting their laptops. I think it's a T-Mobile/Katalyst issue.

    I am not willing to disable my router security feature as T-Mobile has suggested. I will repost when my new router arrives and I try again to connect the Katalyst.

    Henry

  • Thanks for the heads up Joseph-

    I've been having the same problem for only the last couple of months. I've had my Nokia 6301 for 5-6 months- and it seemed to me that it hooked up automatically to all my saved networks perfectly. I was totally happy with it- then all of a sudden a couple of months ago- I kept getting the "error" messages- and it seemed anywhere I use to pick up an automatic signal- the phone wouldn't hook up automatically or would kick me off.

    I'm kind of wondering if something has changed on t-mobile's side- if they've actually limited the channels or something- because it is really useless now. I've been round and round w/ SO many techs- they are even shipping me a new phone (even though I believe that it's not the phone- it's the service which has changed). I'm irritated to say the least- because it was indeed the perfect solution for me, and now that it's not been working- I'm left w/ a phone I chose based on that feature alone- that I'm not all that blissed with. Thanks for you help- i'll try this.

    astro

  • Had the same problem connecting my Tmobile phone to an actiontec Verizon router. The solution: use the Verizon router as a network bridge and use another router (in my case a linksyswrtg54) for wifi access. Just take note this is applicable if you have fios internet only because your fios tv might not work if you modify the verizon router settings.

    Heres the link I found:

    http://agaric.com/note/how-setup-linksys-router-verizon-fios

  • Thanks for the info. I and a new Fios user coming from Concast. We use the Nokia 6301. My wife wanted a base to charge on, I wanted UMA so we could ditch the land line. This phone fit the bill. We do have the unlimited talk forever plan ($9.99/mo)that allows unlimited minutes from wifi. I am told that if you are just looking for just the better connection at home you can get a Tmo UMA phone and use wifi (no charge).

    My previous Linksys router I had when using Comcast was ok most of the time, it did cut out and had trouble re establishing wifi. Same errors mentioned above. The Actiontec one I have now has the same problem. No problems at other houses and hotspots. I believe I am set at channel 2 and will make the change to hopefully fix.

    So far as the no land line, cell as home phone (we ported our home number to the cell) and auto cell to wifi switching when it is not having the problem above has been no problem. My wife used 2200 minutes last month and there were no extra charges on my bill (500 minute plan). Saving the $30/mo land line cost is also a big plus. Thanks for all the info here... this fix or suggestion is hard to find. My Tmo tech rep did mention the preferred channels and ports...so it looks like this information is getting to them. Good work.

  • i purchase a samsung ch@t3353 with a wifi setting, whenever i tried to connect to wireless network it always ask of the key, what can i do to solve the problem?

  • This detailed solution was extremely helpful! I have been trying to solve the sporadic uma connection issue I have at home, and finally I switched my channel from 11 to 6 and so far for 20 minutes, I have had a steady uma connection!!! You're a life-saver! Mimi

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