How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

Summary: Nah, it couldn't be, could it? It couldn't be my branny-new iPhone killing my network. Could it? Really?

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Shortly after I got my iPhone 4S, I decided I wanted to check out this AirPlay thing. I have an Apple TV, I now had a phone modern enough to be AirPlay compatible, and I thought it'd be neat to see what all the shouting was about.

See also: The two reasons I avoided Android and finally upgraded to the relatively boring iPhone 4S

So, I fired up my iPhone 4S, enabled AirPlay, saw my iPhone screen connect to the Apple TV, and, then...

...nothing...

And, by nothing, I mean nothing. No Internet. No internal connectivity. No shares.

Nothing.

Weird, well, okay, I'll do the time tested thing of rebooting the router, and if that didn't work, I expected to reboot the cable modem. One router cycle later and everything was back. Deep sigh of relief.

Okay, so where was I? Oh, yeah, I was playing with AirPlay. I fired up my iPhone 4S, enabled AirPlay, saw my iPhone screen connect to the Apple TV, and, then...

...nothing...

And, by nothing, I mean nothing. No Internet. No internal connectivity. No shares.

Nothing. Again?

Nah, it couldn't be, could it? It couldn't be my branny-new iPhone killing my network. Could it? Really? Fine, let's be scientific about this. Let's try it again. I fired up my iPhone 4S, enabled AirPlay, saw my iPhone screen connect to the Apple TV, and, then...

...nothing...

And, by nothing, I mean nothing. No Internet. No internal connectivity. No shares.

Nothing.

Wow, apparently my iPhone was killing my entire network. Next question: was it just me? As it turns out, the answer to that is no. There is, according to the nice people on the Cisco Home Community Forum what you might call a problem.

As it turns out, the Cisco E4200 router has some sort of incompatibility with AirPlay. When you run AirPlay, out of the box, with an unmodified router, AirPlay takes down the router.

For the record, I really like my E4200. I do hate the fact it doesn't have any indicator lights (apparently, the 140-character generation also doesn't like extraneous data that comes from indicator lights). The E4200 is the most robust router I've ever used for smashing large amounts of video across my GigE pipes here at Camp David.

It just can't handle AirPlay. At least until you apply a fix so generously described by user AdminLB. Here's what you do:

  • Login to your router
  • Click on Application and Gaming
  • Click on QOS
  • Disable WMM Support
  • Done

So, yes, using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network. But it's a pretty easy fix to make it stop.

Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Smartphones

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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63 comments
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  • Nice

    Thanks for the tip. Good to know.
    happyharry_z
  • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

    Wait, so is this a post about how the iPhone 4S can kill your network, or about how Cisco built router so crappy that it can be brought down by one of the most popular and ubiquitous network devices on the planet?
    dsf3g
    • Putting Cisco in the headline means no one would read

      It.
      baggins_z
    • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

      @dsf3g *rolls eyes* I've yet to meet an iPhone/iPad user that uses AirPlay. I'm not even sure they know it exists.
      Aerowind
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        @Aerowind I'm one and I'm guessing there are a lot more. I had no problems setting it up on my wifi network at home.
        psquared007
      • I know several

        @Aerowind
        Although none of them has ever had a problem like this, if anyone does it is good to know what to suggest.
        use_what_works_4_U
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        @Aerowind Good question. Does Airplay work only with AppleTV. My brother had some sort of app for his iPhone, a 3g I think, and he was using his phone to change channels. But I think that was because he had whatever application installed that lets you watch tv over the internet remotely
        richvball44
    • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

      @dsf3g

      Since I also have a E4200 Router, and a band spankin' new iPhone 4S, it was informative to me. Albeit a click bait headline, at least it meant I'd read the piece and learn something.

      [i]or about how Cisco built router so crappy that it can be brought down by one of the most popular and ubiquitous network devices on the planet?[/i]

      Actually, it's probably the best router I've ever owned. Just because they included one feature that Apple doesn't play nice with (or vice versa), does not make it a crappy router.
      Badgered
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        @Badgered very well put.
        Yuniverse
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        @Badgered

        It might be a feature, that sounded good to have in the checklist, but actually nobody ever tested it.. that WMM thing.
        Most other wireless devices I have come across have this disabled by default. Perhaps for good reasons.

        Maybe a firmware update of the router will fix this issue.
        danbi
    • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

      @dsf3g <br>The very same device that is showing more problems by the week. Battery's, double data usage, tracking and security issues, killing a device from one of the largest manufacturers on the planet that also makes the routers, hubs and switches that feed the rest of the world Internet, so your $500 iphone (you paid for with a smile) that lasts 2 hours on battery can work for you. Routers that let you send that text message to the person you just tried to call but couldn't hear you because apple has not fixed the outbound calling issue. I bet that router didn't cost $500 and the issue can be fixed in seconds, which I can not say for all of the iphone 4s glitches that still have not been fixed or ignored because good ol' apple says there is no problem.
      Nate_K
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        @Nate_K depending on usage I get between 7.52 hours and 19 hours, so your 2 hour comment sounds like a fanboy lie. I remember the HTC Touch Pro 2 I was issued at a Job that was barely able to make it three hours, without needing to be plugged in.
        Rick_Kl
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        "I bet that router didn't cost $500 and the issue can be fixed in seconds..."

        My God, he's [i]psychic![/i] How could he know this?!
        WarhavenSC
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        @Nate_K point by point - because I like to point out your FUD and lies...[b]

        The very same device that is showing more problems by the week. [/b]

        Now imma let ya finish but I gotta tell ya that the issues are entirely overblown and sensationalized so the gullible Apple Haters (like YOU for example) are sucked in.[b]

        Battery's, double data usage, tracking and security issues, [/b]

        The correct spelling of the word is "batteries" and while ihaters like yourself claim that it happens on every iOS device the fact is that it does not - it's a pretty small percentage and Apple has replaced the defective devices and put out a couple of software fixes.

        Double Data usage - what double data usage? you mean the charge for broadband and tethering/hotspot using the same bucket of minutes and being charged twice? THAT is a carrier charge that applies across the board on iOS, Android, WP7, and RIM devices. FAIL!

        Security Issues? Come up Nate_K come up with some links! Seriously the whole "Apple sucks because I say so" thing is getting old.[b]

        killing a device from one of the largest manufacturers on the planet that also makes the routers, hubs and switches that feed the rest of the world Internet, so your $500 iphone (you paid for with a smile) [/b]

        Ahhh again with the say something first, ask question later mentality of the average iHater. I bought an iPhone 4 32GB that was $299 NOT $500... no research, that is why you FAIL again.[b]

        that lasts 2 hours on battery can work for you. [/b]

        Funny I have an iPhone 4 running iOS 5 that lasts 2 days on a charge with moderate to heavy use. By comparison my old RIM BB Curve lasted about a day and a half and my Android based Samsung Fascinate lasts about 10 hours. but don't let the facts stand in your way! [b]

        Routers that let you send that text message to the person you just tried to call but couldn't hear you because apple has not fixed the outbound calling issue. [/b]

        Again, PROOF! Come on dude, post some links verifying your claims or have a nice tall glass of shut the fck up! Thus far I have your word about all of these issues and yet my hands on personal experience differe completely from what you put forth as facts.[b]

        I bet that router didn't cost $500 and the issue can be fixed in seconds, which I can not say for all of the iphone 4s glitches that still have not been fixed or ignored because good ol' apple says there is no problem.[/b]

        Yet again provide some sort of proof. My God man you are almost as bad as The Linux Geek...
        athynz
      • Wow

        @Nate_K <br>Double data usage - So using the phone more, by your own choice, is a bad thing? Better yet - it's the phone's fault that you chose to use it over some other device?

        Tracking and Security issues - from the only phone that requires you to *opt in* before your data is collected, *anonymized* and **encrypted**? That's more of an issue than CarrierIQ which you have to opt out of despite not being told of its existence?

        Killing a device from ... - Despite the fact that it does nothing of the sort. A 30 second setting adjustment fixed it. Apple designed a device that plays well with every other router out there so perhaps it has something with the way Cisco implemented QOS on this one device? nah, couldn't be anyone but Apple's fault.

        Battery issue? - See Rick KL

        Outbound call issue? - This one might be a legitimate problem but after all you "sky is falling" one is tempted to pass it over. I know several dozen people with iPhone 4s and 4Ss and not one has the issue. After a Google search it does seem to be real for a percentage of users, but I wonder how big a percentage? Apple is replacing phones that show the problem. Based on my brief Google search, combined with the reports of satisfaction from the vaset majority of iPhone users and the fact that not one of the people I've ever met has that issue, I would conclude that it is real, but not widespread.<br><br>So one out of five claims has some (but how much I am not convinced of how much) validity. Sounds like a reasonably successful product to me, although it'll be another year until I can upgrade and get mine.
        use_what_works_4_U
      • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

        @Nate_K

        Don't be silly, although it bears the Cisco logo, that device is actually made by Linksys.

        Unfortunately, Cisco is not what it used to be.
        danbi
    • So, this is a story about a Cisco router having trouble with Airplay...

      @dsf3g Yeah, this is obviously another troll-labeled article designed to bring page views. Sadly, it worked. This story says the iPhone 4s can bring down one model of Cisco routers. The headline doesn't match. Sorry, but the iPhone 4s does NOT kill MY entire network, as the shock-value headline proclaims. (true story)
      BillDem
    • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

      @dsf3g It's about how Cisco built a crappy router. But "Apple killing my network" guarantees more page hits than "Cisco built a crappy router".
      athynz
    • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

      @dsf3g
      How much do you want to bet that the router was released long before the phone? You sounds like Steve Jobs... and that's not a good thing.
      kstap
    • RE: How using an iPhone 4S can kill your entire network (true story)

      @dsf3g yes, that is correct. The problem lies in that Cisco router, the E400 he specified. In fact it could be the only model from Cisco that needs to have setting corrected to make it function properly.
      In fact if he were being scientific about it, as he claims, he would have checked the forums at Cisco to see if other users of Cisco are having the same problem when using a "branny-new"iPhone 4s.
      But he is just a journalist and finding fixes isn't something he will do. Just find a problem with a product and cry wolf about it

      I would be saying the same thing if it were any other phone/router combo if the journalist wrote the same thing. Mislead.distort to get hits
      richvball44