Wi-Fi Calling and Texting Workarounds

I have poor cellular reception, so I wanted Wi-Fi calling and texting. Republic Wireless 5.0 plans are supposed to provide this, but they didn’t work reliably for me. What I did:
Wi-Fi calling: My voicemail greeting message tells callers to call me on my landline! Lame, I know.
Wi-Fi text: I got a Google Voice number and switched my Android contacts to that number. I have an iPhone, and iMessages mostly get through, but sometimes are delayed for a few days, and sometimes they are green, not blue.

Hi @johnc,

I’m surprised to hear WiFi calling isn’t working well on your iPhone. When it comes to carrier WiFi, iPhone regardless of carrier and plan typically just works. What’s going wrong with WiFi calling?

iMessage is used only when all parties to the conversation are using Apple devices. If there’s a mix of Androids and iPhones, your iPhone falls back to SMS (plain text) messaging and MMS (picture and group) messaging.

This likely explains the blue vs. green bubbles. When you see blue bubbles your iPhone is using iMessage. When you see green bubbles, your iPhone is using SMS/MMS.

Hi @rolandh,

Very often, the calls just go straight to voicemail without ringing. I’ve tried very many fixes for this, but nothing has worked.

I can make outgoing calls–the problem is incoming calls

The confusing thing about iMessage is that I get green bubbles when messaging with another iPhone user. Sometimes the conversation has a mix of green and blue. I can’t come up with a theory about why this would happen.

Maybe something is wrong with my iPhone, but I’ve tried many solutions, including resetting it to factory settings! Anyway, my current workarounds seem to be working for me.

Maybe with Boost Infinite, Wi-Fi calling will just work. I will let everyone know.

This sounds more like a network issue rather than a phone issue. Perhaps. @jben has some ideas?

If it’s strictly iPhones involved, someone’s (not necessarily yours) iPhone is using SMS/MMS instead of iMessage.

It seems unlikely. At its core, Boost Infinite is just another wrapper for the same service sold as RW by DISH. It’s sort of like buying a Chevy instead of a Buick or vice versa. Under the hood it’s the same thing. That said, :crossed_fingers: things improve.

Thanks, @rolandh. I will post my experience with Boost Infinite starting next month.

Hi @johnc,
I would be glad to take a stab at your possible wifi network problem, am in the middle of having a new AC installed, as well as an ATT rewiring/burying of my internet so you might get caught in one of the many outages I am seeing.

  • In the meantime, please let me know things like your ISP, modem, router etc that you are using.
  • You may want to take a look at Router Tweaks
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Thanks, @jBen!
My ISP is Pioneer Connect of Philomath, Oregon. Pioneer Connect is a telephone cooperative. I have asked them about the problem, and they say it isn’t anything they are doing.
The DSL modem/router is a Comtrend VR-3060.
I’ll need to study the router tweaks document.

Could you check page 51 of your user doc, and let me know the setting that they have for SIP ALG, or ask your ISP … I found the manual at https://usermanual.wiki/Comtrend/VR3060U/html

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Thanks, @jBen, I checked the settings and everything is disabled. is that good?
image

I have been unable to determine the meaning that Comtred has assigned … so I would change it to Enable (SIP ALG only) and monitor

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I’ll give it a try–it could take a while to get results. Thanks for your help!

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No problem, anything for a fellow Oregonian (and I left there in in 1954)

I tested the change by calling my cell phone from my landline. It went straight to voicemail. I changed the setting back to where it had been (disabled).
Really, this is not a big problem for me because everyone knows to call my landline, which my phone company bundles with internet.
Thanks for your help, @jBen!

Normally if a call goes straight to voicemail, it is because of a lack of any connection to your phone. Both cellular and WiFi failed.

  • My understanding of your situation Pioneer Connect provides both your cellular connection and your Internet connection? Please confirm

No, Pioneer Connect provides internet, but Republic Wireless (AT&T) provides cellular.
This might be relevant: sometimes people try to call me via FaceTime but my iPhone doesn’t wake up and take the call–but sometimes it does.

@johnc,

  • When you had the failure above, was the phone on WiFi or Cellular?
  • Is your phone on AT&T (5.0), or T-Mobile ((My Choice), and how many bars do you normally see :signal_strength:

It was on Wi-Fi, in airplane mode. I leave it on airplane mode to avoid draining the battery as the phone looks in vain for a cellular signal.
I’m on a 5.0 plan (AT&T) and I usually don’t have any signal–which is why the original Republic Wireless was a great solution for me. In certain spots in the house, I can usually (but not always) get one bar.

There’s your problem. Cellular phones work best with a cellular connection. There are many power saving routines that make a Wi-Fi only connection unreliable for receiving calls.

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Thanks! I was afraid it was something like that. I don’t have a cell signal in most of my house.

Do I need to have the phone keep trying for a cell signal in order for Wi-Fi calling to work? Could be! This drains the battery fast, and seems to require recharging the phone in the middle of the day. (It’s an iPhone 13 mini. In airplane mode, it can run all day and have plenty of battery left.)

The workarounds I’m using seem to be doing the trick for me, but it’s good to know why Wi-Fi calling doesn’t work.

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Carrier WiFi, unlike the old Republic’s proprietary approach, generally needs to periodically sniff cell signal to properly function.

A phone’s attempt to find 4G LTE signal isn’t known to be a battery hog but 5G is a different matter. Presuming you’re running iOS 16.4 or later, you might try turning 5G off on the phone.

Here’s a how to do so from ironically Android Authority :joy::

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