I continue to be impressed with the Nokia E73 Mode. I especially like the form factor, keyboard and quality construction.
The E73 is a variant of the E72 made for and branded by T-Mobile USA. It comes with support for the operator's unusual 1700/2100 3G frequencies and also has a rather nice feature which T-Mobile calls "WiFi Calling" or "Unlicensed Mobile Access" (UMA) which lets you make and receive calls and texts using WiFi. UMA is not the same as SIP or VOIP, calls and messages made with UMA are charged against your included plan minutes, text bundle or prepaid balance. Where UMA is most useful is in keeping you connected connected when you are in an area with poor or no cellular service.
While UMA is a good thing it does require some extra setup steps if you want to be able to use WiFi data for browsing and with data aware apps. The setup is not complicated but it does not seem to be very well documented and the out of the phone's out of box default settings are not optimal.
I initially ran into several issues trying to use WiFi data on the E73:
- Connecting to WiFi frequently failed with "J007 Error, "Incorrect Security Certificate", which is a UMA error message.
- The browser and other apps didn't automatically use WiFi when it was available. I had to manually change the phone or app's connection settings to use WiFi and then change them back to use mobile network data.
- I got a different UMA error, "W006.1 ISP error" when tying to connect to public hotspots that redirect you to a web page to sign in or accept term and connections.
It took a couple of days but I was eventually able to find solutions or work arounds to most of these issues.
Getting rid of the "J007 Error, "Incorrect Security Certificate" was easy. All I had to do was upgrade to the latest latest firmware (currently 0.43.001).
Getting the E73 to automatically switch to WiFi for data should also have been easy thanks to Symbian 3rd Ed, FP2's new "Destinations" feature. A Destination is a group on cellular and WiFi access points arranged by priority order. When the browser or another app attempts to connect it goes through the access points of the default Destination in priority order until it finds one that is active. On most 3rd ed, FP2 phones there is a default "Internet" destination that initially contains your only operator's packet data access point. When you connect to a WiFi HotSpot, the phone automatically adds that access point to the Internet destination and sets its priority higher than the operator access point. That way the phone will use WiFi if a previously used hotspot is available and fall back to operator data if it isn't.
But the E73 oesn't work that way. The Internet destination contains the T-Mobile packet data access point as expected, but WiFi access points get automatically added to a "GAN" destination. GAN (Generic Access Network) is synonymous for UMA. Because the WiFi and operator access points are in different destinations apps can't switch automatically between them.
Fixing that was a little tricky . The first thing I tried was adding my frequently used WiFi access points to the Internet destination. That seemed to work at first but as soon as I moved out of range of WiFi the phone became very sluggish. I could make calls but was unable to switch to or kill any running apps. When I did a long press on the Home key I saw a mysterious system process called ShareCommServer running that I couldn't kill either. The only way I could recover was to power cycle the phone. Through trial and error I figured out that if any app tried to make a connection outside of WiFi range the phone would hang. Apparently the apps were trying to use the non existent WiFi connection and the OS was blocking on the connection request!
The solution was to remove all WiFi access points from the Internet destination and add T-Mobile's packet data access point to the GAN destination. Here are step by step instructions:
- In the phone menu go to Setup -> Ctrl. Panel -> Settings -> Connection -> Destinations (image top, left)
- Press Options - > Default connection and choose "GAN". The phone will automatically connect to WiFi access points in the GAN destination if they are in range.
- Back on the Destinations main page, click "Access Point Add new acc. pt." Say No to the prompt to automatically search for new access points.
- Choose "Packet data" and enter "epc.tmobile.com" as the access point name (prepaid customers may want you use "wap.voicestream.com" instead to get free access to a small walled garden of off-portal mobile sites).
- Add the new access point to the GAN destination. The packet data access point will automatically be assigned the lowest priority (image top, right)
- In the Nokia browser menu, open Settings Menu -> General and set the access Point to GAN.
- In Gravity set the default access point to the T-Mobile access point and enable "Auto-Switch to LAN"
- Leave all your Java apps Access Point's set to the default of "None" in the App Manager . This tells them to use the default Destination.
- Leave Opera Mobile's connection set to it's default of "System Default"
- Nokia Mail is not destination aware and its step up is a bit tricky. Go into Nokia Mail's Options menu -> Settings -> Mailbox Settings -> Advanced mailb. settings -> Incoming email settings and set "Access point in use" to the T-Mobile access point or "Always ask" . Do the same thing for the Outgoing email settings.
With the above settings the browser, Gravity and Java apps will use WIFI if available, operator data otherwise. The Ovi Store doesn't have any connection settings but seems to always use the operator access point. Opera Mobile isn't destination aware and will prompt you to pick an access point every time you connect. Nokia Mail will either use opperator data or prompt you to choose an access point every time it connects, depending on its "Access point in use" setting
"W006.1 ISP error" was the hardest nut to crack. This error occurs when you try to use a public WiFi access point at a cafe, store, university or library that requires you to open a browser and log in or accept terms and conditions. Trying to connect to this type of hotspot using the WiFi widget on the E73's idle screen will always fail. It looks like the phone is trying to talk to T-Mobile's UMA server before it allows a connection to be finalized. Fixing this will probably require another firmware upgrade but I was able to find a workaround.
- When you get a "W006.1 ISP error" (image above, left), open the browser.
- In the browser menu, choose Settings -> General - Access point and temporarily set it to "Always ask"
- Try to open any bookmark or URL The browser will prompt you for an access point.
- Choose "Search for WAN" (image above, right), select the name of the hotspot and press OK.
- The hotspot's login or T&C page will load. Follow the instructions on the page to connect (image below, right).
At this point the browser will work with the hotspot cconnection. UMA should also automatically connect allowing other apps using the GAN destination to work. Sometimes UMA doesn't seem to automatically establish a connection. You can tell UMA is connected by the presence of a pink globe in a circle icon in the upper left corner of the screen (image bottom, right). If UMA doesn't connect automatically and you want to use it for calling, texting or as a data provider for another app:
- Leave the browser open.
- Go to the phone's home screen and click the WiFi widget.
- Select the hotspot name from the list of available connections and press OK to connect. This will establish a UMA connection and add the hotspot to the GAN destination where other apps can use it. The image below, right shows that the "Borders" hotspot is connected. The pink icon in the top, left corner of the screen indicates that GMA is active.
If you found this post helpful, have questions or have discovered other E73 connection tricks please leave a comment.