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Uh-Oh! Android 2.0.1 Update Breaks DROID Wi-Fi with WEP Encryption

I Love My Droid. It truly simplifies my life and makes me more productive. As mentioned before I don’t love SplashID for Android, but I use it.

Err . . . or at least I did, until the Android 2.0.1 software update arrived and broke WEP-encrypted Wi-Fi.

Oddly, neither Verizon nor Motorola seems to understand this problem exists, nearly a week after the software update was rolled out. Google wrote the operating system, so . . . well, I don’t even know who to ask for help!

When does the spirit of business coopetition break? When no-one is in charge.

Droid, the first SmartPhone good enough to garner a recommendation from The Computer Answer Guy, includes Wi-Fi for those times when you can’t get a decent cell signal, or just want a faster connection. Or, as in the case with SplashID, when the only way to make the software work is by connecting through a network you control. So really the Wi-Fi isn’t that important and the Verizon / Motorola / Google triumvirate can be forgiven for not knowing about this problem for so long. Nevertheless, it went out, and there’s no fix. Yet.

By the way: if you’re using a Droid and the update comes down, by all means install it; the improvements far outweigh the problems, and I’ll bet that if you use Wi-Fi at all it’s under conditions that aren’t effected by this problem. But . . . there’s really no excuse for something as careless as this; Big thumbs down to . . . someone.

20 Comments

  1. Not to rain on your parade, but I’ve had problems with WEP encryption since the start.

    • Thanks, Nick; I don’t feel rained on at all. In fact, here’s an update straight from Motorola Level 3 technical support that happened while you were commenting (How’s that for a coincidence?).

      It seems that yes, there are issues with the way the Droid talks over WEP. When the 2.01 update got pushed here, it kicked in a problem that others like you have had since they first started using the Droid ; the devices sometimes transmit their information cleanly and sometimes get into a never-ending and never-connecting loop.

      The solution? specifically entering the Droid’s MAC address into my router. Worked instantly.

      Now here’s a new problem: as a result of entering the Droid’s MAC address (or specifically, creating a MAC address white list), one of the other computers on my network lost the ability to connect until I entered its address. So far all the other devices on the network are OK, but it begs the question: what is the Droid doing when it authenticates that causes some routers to mishandle some settings under some circumstances?

      In other words: maybe it wasn’t specifically the 2.0.1 upgrade that broke WEP; maybe Droid just doesn’t play by the rules when using that encryption method.

      And Motorola isn’t exactly coming clean.

  2. I’m not sure if this will help you guys or not, but after failing to connect by typing info into the network entry created byt Droid’s discovery prograam, I noticed the “Add Wi-Fi Network” entry at the bottom of the list. Ading my wep info there got me connected.

  3. The problem i am having is that the router does not recognize the mac address of the droid. I use a linksys router. I have read that i might need to upgrade my router.

    • Nancy, I hear ya.

      As you know, we don’t have a real answer to this mess that Google, Verizon, and Motorola have created with the Droid, and I’ll say right out loud that the problem with your MAC address not being recognized brings this to a whole new level of frustration; I mean, if you can’t get it done that way . . . and with a Linksys, no less (the ‘standard’, if there is such a thing)!

      The one piece of good news is that we’re right at the top of all searches on this subject, and I have to believe that if Motorola (and on reflection I believe it’s more their fault that Droid has these problems than either Verizon or Google) is paying any attention at all they’ve seen this.

      And of course, there’s always Android 2.1 to look forward to . . .

  4. I was able to connect via wifi using WPA encryption once i turned off mac address filtering on the router.

    • Happy to hear it, Nancy.

      I’m not surprised about you getting it hooked up when you switched to WPA, as most of the issues that the Droid is exhibiting seem to be WEP related. The fact that turning off MAC address filtering fixed your problem is … weird. Sure, I understand it under the circumstances you’ve pointed out, but it’s extremely troubling that turning MAC filtering on works in some cases, but off works in others.

      Let’s hope Android 2.1 fixes Motorola ‘s problems for us Droid users. And it’ll be here in a couple of weeks!

  5. I just got my Droid and was able to briefly connect to my Linksys WRT54GS router last night. Then nothing. I upgraded my firmware, tried different forms of security and the MAC tricks above but still no go.

    While testing I figured out that IP addresses worked, just not friendly names. Got me thinkg about my DNS. I had three DNS servers in my router, the first two are for a private network I support. My public DNS was listed third. I moved the public DNS server up to #2 spot and everything now works great. I suspect that the Droid may only support two DNS servers??

    Hope this helps someone else. Anyone know of a utility like IPConfig for the Droid?

    ~Robert

    • Wow, Robert, that’s the closest thing to real “what the heck is going on with my Droid and Wi-Fi?” (and WEP . . . and MAC issues, . . . and WPA encryption) , that I’ve seen yet. Thanks for posting!

  6. There are some interesting assumptions, fixes, etc. here. So, I thought I would just leave here what worked for me.
    Like Nancy above, I have a Linksys router. And BEFORE Android 2.0.1 Update, I could connect with no problem.. better yet, I should say that my network was seen by the droid. Now, to be honest… I’m glad that for some reason after the update, the droid no longer could ‘see’ my network. Because that means that possibly no other droid or even scans in the area would see it either! So, like Nancy..
    1. I just went into router as admin
    2. created a whitelist of acceptable MAC addys (did one for droid, one for another pc, one for laptop, and one for xbox 360)
    3. saved list, then saved settings

    And did a scan with droid (while at the wifi menu in droid, clicked menu… and then scan). My networked popped right up and and accepted me. Like I said, I’m glad that this problem even came up.. because in fact by setting up that whitelist im even more protected than previous.

    • Your “more security in the aftermath of Android 2.01 and WEP not working together” is a great way to make lemons from lemonade!

      And I’ll tell you what: I’m not happy about this fiasco affecting so many Droid users, but I’ve actually referred to it that way myself :”I have an extra layer of security now!“.

      I almost believe myself when I say that, too. ;)

  7. Hello, I recently got a Samsung Galaxy i5700 Spica and I have to say that I really like Android it is by far the greatest mobile os I have played with. The endless supply of apps makes every day with my phone an adventure.Sorry for my long rant I just wanted to tell you my experience with android. Have a nice day and thanks for a flawless blog.

  8. I logged into my router, changed the default transmit key to #1 and am able to connect.

    • Hey Walt: Thanks for sharing!

      Really really glad you were able to fix it, and . . . I just wish Motorola/Google/Verizon had made Wi-Fi on the Droid easier/more reliable than what it is when people like you and I have to figure out solutions, pass them on, and hope it helps others!

  9. I DOWNLOADED THE NEW DROID OP SYS UPDATE. THE LOAD DID NOT COMPLETED THE CYCLE, NOW ALL I GET IS THE MOTOROLA LOGO SCREEN. HAVE TRYED TAKING THE BATTERY OUT, NO JOY…COMES BACK TO THE LOGO(MOTOROLA) SCREEN. ON OFF BUTTON NO CUTTING OFF EITHER. WAS WORKING FINE BEFORE THE UPDATE…HELP

    • Rob, you’re gonna have to either call Verizon and have them tech-support you through it, or hire someone to clean that up. I recommend trying the former, first; it’s free, and the worst thing they can do is void your warranty on a phone that you currently can’t use anyway . . .

  10. I too have a droid 1. I can connect to WIFI at work and other places. have a netgear router at home with WEP. work is WPA. my wifi settings on phone say im connected with excellent service. When I try to open any page other than googles home screen I get a web page not agailable screen???????? cant figure it out and not a computer literate person. any easy fix that I would understand

    • Two questions:

      1) you can get ‘net over 3G; it’s only WiFi that fails you?
      2) are you sure you’re getting google at all? if it’s cached you might see it but not have had it (anything) delivered over the wifi

  11. Yes 3g works
    And its probably a cashed google page. wi fi works at work and other locations. Desk top laptop and ipod touch all connected to wifi and workikng fine.

    • Joe, that tells me that you’re going to have to do something you won’t like, but ought to work to get that Droid doing Wi-Fi

      You need to set up a specific “allowable devices” list in your router’s configuration. In other words, even though you’re already using encryption, you need to add an extra layer of security. Each MAC address you specifically allow will be able to get through your router.

      The good news is WOW will you be secure. The bad news is it’s a pain in the behind.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Problem during calls - Android Central Forums - [...] went from Android 2.0 to 2.01, and I only have the problem with WEP, not WPA, but we've heard …
  2. Droid Gets Android 2.1! Err...Not So Fast... - [...] of Android 2.1 for Droid being broken, and I pay attention mostly because that report suggests that Wi-Fi is …
  3. Mobile Phones, Car Dealers, Three-Ways, The Wall of Shame - [...] In the case of cell phones, the issue is that the customer isn’t even one of the three parties. …
  4. How Do I Set Up My Wifi Router For My Android Device? | Click & Find Answer ! - […] http://answerguy.com/2009/12/11/android-2-0-1-update-breaks-droid-wi-fi-wep-encryption/ […]

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