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Michael Gracie

Improving your iPhone’s indoor reception with Wi-Fi calling and some basic network trickery

No shot against AT&T here, but the reception in my home office sucks. It’s probably just the combination of zombie-proof glass, the custom kevlar/copper mesh in the walls, and the tin foil hat I wear, but I called the carrier about it anyway. They suggested I buy one of those mini cell site jobs for ninety bucks. Instead I spent several times that amount for a new phone because I heard it was capable of Wi-Fi calling i.e. using my internet connection to make and receive calls. Sure enough it seemed it was …

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Unfortunately, even after upgrading the network I still experienced warbled voices and dropped calls, meaning pineapple and broccoli pizza showing up at my neighbor’s door. Very bad.

However, all was not lost. With a little network trickery – mostly tinkering with IP addressing and port forwarding – I was able to get consistent Wi-Fi calling. Crystal clear with near zero drops, and my favorite Chinese takeout joint is again accepting my orders. Very good.

Note that the instruction that follow were done using a plain vanilla iPhone 6s and an Airport Extreme, but that doesn’t mean the general premise won’t work with a Samsung Galaxy and old Linksys gear. All is being provided in as layman-esque terms as possible for this reason; technical types providing commentary such as “you didn’t define NAT correctly” will be punished via intentional disregard. Further, everything that follows assumes you have Wi-Fi calling activated. If not, read the instructions here for getting it running.

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Information overload the cure for couch potatoes

To all you couch potatoes (you know who you are), there is some good news in your fight against lethargy. It turns out that the digital home entertainment craze is slow goings, with folks using their media PCs for computing instead of fun.

The media PC gang is blaming home networking headaches – I say it is a case of information overload. People are inundated with internet this, internet that, compute this, read that, email in, out, someone’s IMing you, da-te-da-te-da. Who the heck wants to try settling in their living room, when the threat that they can so easily hop on their Yahoo! Mail lingers so closely?

In summary, if you want off the sofa, just buy a media PC and a big ‘ol screen, then you can comfortably run out to the movies.
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