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Windows 7: iPhone network location doesn't save when disconnected

27 Nov 2011   #11
Reggie Duff

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Same


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
13 Dec 2011   #12
mm42

Windows 7
 
 

Me too
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2012   #13
norgus

Windows 7 - 32 Bit
 
 
Same problem here too

I started getting this after upgrade to iOS 5.x.x. I am yet to find a solution out there and plan to talk to Apple about it, so will update with any progress.

There is another thread about this on the Apple Forum here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

17 Feb 2012   #14
benno007

Windows 7 32bit
 
 

Does anyone know if its possible to hack the registry on windows so that you can treat all new networks as 'Home' instead of Public? That may be easier, seeing as this computer is always on a home network... Cos I'm on network 111 for USB and 178 for WiFi, i'm thinking it'd just be easier to select default public, but then i can't share between my laptop and desktop and wd tv
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2012   #15
emy77

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Hi!

I have the same problem too. I'm on network 60 for wifi & 38 for USB. Here are my specs: iPhone 4, iOS5.0.1, used Personal Hotspot in conjunction with TetherMe (Personal hotspot doesn't show if TetherMe is not installed)

Other info:

1) While on iOS4.1 (didn't upgrade to the subsequent iOS4.2 & 4.3 etc), I used MyWi 4.0

2) After upgrading to iOS5.0.1, I used MyWi 5.0 but stopped using it after the trial expired. Then, I used Personal Hotspot (in conjunction with TetherMe)
I'm not sure whether any of the above could be the reason this is happening
Hope there's a fix for this soon.
Thank you
Regards,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 May 2012   #16
benno007

Windows 7 32bit
 
 

It's weird, AVG is saying my iPhone has a new MAC address every time I connect. I thought MAC addresses were meant to be unique to each physical device? How on earth does it change every day...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2012   #17
mail2diptesh

Windows7, Vista
 
 
Same Problem

I am facing the same problem. Just wanted to subscribe here and see if I find any solution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2012   #18
Spencer Flibble

Windows 7 x64 Enterprise
 
 

Hi, I can give a little insight in to why this is happening. Sadly, I can't give you a solution. Perhaps my insights might provide someone with some idea for a solution.

I have been tethering my iPhone 4 to my Windows 7 PC for some time. When I used iOS 4.x, the network identification was consistent with the USB cable. That is - the first time I connected it, I renamed the connection to give it a meaningful name (not just "network"). I even changed the icon to be an iPhone. Windows correctly identified the phone as the same connection every subsequent time I plugged the phone in.

Something changed with iOS 5.0.1. The problem with iOS 5.X, as described in previous comments is that each time the phone is re-connected, Windows 7 fails to recognize the phone as the same network it was previously connected to. After a bit of digging, I know why this is happening. Windows 7 goes through a series of tests when it connects to a network to try and identify it. If the network is "managed", that is it's part of a windows domain, then there's one set of criteria involving the name of the domain. That isn't the case here, the iPhone tethered connection is considered an "unmanaged" network.

What it boils down to is that windows looks at the MAC address (the hardware address) of the network interface that's acting as the default gateway for the network. Every time it connects to an unmanaged network like this, it looks at the MAC address. If it's already seen that MAC address before, it believes it's the same network that it was previously connected to.



It turns out that each time you connect the iPhone to the PC, the MAC address of the default gateway is different. I think it's random within a certain set of parameters. This is why Windows 7 keeps thinking it's got a different network.

If you want to know the details, or confirm this for yourself, read on..... here are steps to observe this effect for yourself:

1. Tether your iPhone. Give the network a distinctive name - say "Test12345" or similar.

2. Open a command prompt on your windows 7 PC - so type "cmd" at the run prompt.

3. Type:


ipconfig /all

(note, there is a space after ipconfig)

This will provide a LOT of information about your network connections. You are looking for the "Default Gateway" parameter. On my phone, the IP address of the default gateway is consistently 172.20.10.1, my PC gets an IP address of 172.20.10.2 in most cases.


4. Now, still in the command prompt, type:

arp -a

(note, there is a space after arp)

This shows the contents of the Address Resolution Protocol cache (ARP cache). Many of the IP addresses that your PC has connected to will be listed here, including the default gateway address. Along with the IP addresses, the MAC addresses will be listed.

The MAC address will be a set of 6 pairs of hexadecimal numbers. So as an example:



ac-de-48-7d-bd-2f

Remember, it's the MAC address of the default gateway you care about, NOT the MAC address of your PC's network card or similar. Make a note of the relevant MAC address.

5. Untether the phone. Wait a while (2 minutes ?). Tether it again. You should be prompted to identify the network as a new network. Give it a different name that's also distinctive (say Test23456).

6. Again, confirm what the default gateway IP address is (probably still the same as before, probably 172.20.10.1).

7. Type:

arp -a

(space after the arp before the -a, just like last time)

Again, to see the MAC address. It will be different. Probably the first 3 pairs of values will be the same as last time, but the second 3 pairs will differ.

Record this MAC address too.

Every single time I tether my iPhone, the MAC address of the default gateway always looks like this:

ac-de-48-XX-XX-XX

So only the last 6 digits change. So there are 16^6 possible combinations = 16,777,216. So even though it's random, you will statistically speaking NEVER hit the same MAC address you had before. If you kept connecting every 10 seconds, all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take over 5 years to exhaust every possibility.

7. Now close the command prompt and launch the registry editor. (regedit.exe). Navigate to this key in the registry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList


You will see two subkeys called "Signatures" and "Profiles".



First look in "Signatures", then in to "Unmanaged". Underneath you will see several (or many) further subkeys with very long numeric names. Look in each of these in turn, or search until you find the first MAC address you recorded earlier. Inside each of the numeric named folders, there will be a value named "DefaultGatewayMac". Against this will be the MAC address of the default gateway.

You should find an entry for both the MAC addresses you recorded earlier. It's because the MAC address of the default gateway changes that Windows thinks it's a new network every time.

I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet that in iOS4, the MAC address of the default gateway was a constant. It's probably something they changed to accommodate the improvements to the personal hotspot capabilities in iOS 5.x.

8. Now in each of the "profiles" that correspond to the MAC addresses, you will see a value called "ProfileGuid". Now look in the folder called "Profiles" that's on the same level as the registry as the "Signatures" folder. In the "Profiles" key, you will see subkeys corresponding to each ProfileGuid value. Look in the two subkeys that have names matching the ProfileGuid values from your two MAC addresses.

Note that inside those subkeys, you will see values called "ProfileName". Note that they have named like "Test12345" and "Test23456", the names you provided earlier.

So the net result is that the MAC address of the default gateway changes every time you connect, so Windows thinks it's a new network.



So great - what can the users do to fix this ?

I don't know. Sorry.

The only thing I can think of is a "brute force" approach to create every possible signature... so write a script to populate the registry with every possible signature....


ac-de-48-00-00-00
ac-de-48-00-00-01
ac-de-48-00-00-02
...
ac-de-48-FF-FF-FD
ac-de-48-FF-FF-FE
ac-de-48-FF-FF-FF


That would take HOURS to do even as a script and mean there would be 16,777,216 entries in the registry... so since each one is around 100 bytes of information, that would mean your registry would grow by 1.6 GB in size or so.... that's just not realistic.


So far as I know, there is no way to put wildcards in the signatures section..... pity..... If anyone knows how to do this, please let us know, that could be a solution.

The best fix would be for apple to fix the iPhone tethering so it has a consistent MAC address. But of course, even if they do build a fix in, we would have to upgrade the iOS version on the phone to get the fix. That would mean losing your jailbreak in all likelihood.

Any ideas ? Hopefully this at least explains why it's happening.
Cheers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 iPhone network location doesn't save when disconnected




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