So anyone with a smart phone will probably at some point (if you haven’t already), run into a restriction with an App that requires WiFi and won’t work over your carrier’s 3G connection. In fact, even the iTunes and the Apple App Store won’t let you download over 3G if the file size is too large and you will promptly get a message telling you to use WiFi. Worse yet, FaceTime, the video calling tool available on iPhone4, iPad 2 and even a Mac will not run over the iPhone4 or iPad 2′s native 3G connection by design due to an agreement to block it with their respective carrier. (For now)
So tonight we spent a few hours testing FaceTime from our iPhone4′s (both Verizon & ATT), from our iPad 2 and FaceTime on our Macbook Air, all connected over a group of different WiFi hotspot devices to get us around this restriction. (You can also use this method to download files/movies/Audio/Apps larger then they allow over native 3G, iTunes too)
We called with FaceTime over each device and each WiFi Hotspot as well as received FaceTime calls on each, hoping this would give us a good understanding of video and audio quality as well as an understanding of what worked and what didn’t.
We tested the WiFi devices below in HotSpot Mode (meaning you can connect any WiFi device to them over WiFi only and these devices use 3G or 4G to connect you to the internet: (some of these devices will also let you connect to them via USB or Bluetooth for internet access, for this test, we used them all in WiFi mode)
iPhone4 (Verizon) in 3G Hotspot mode
iPhone4 (ATT) in 3G Hotspot mode (requires iOS 4.3)
MyFi 3G (Verizon) (5 connection dedicated Hotspot)
Atrix 4G (ATT) running in 4G Hotspot mode
Xoom Tablet 3G (Verizon) running in 3G Hotspot mode
(MyFi 4G Overdrive (Sprint) is traveling in Gill’s bag, so no testing with it, I suspect it will work just fine)
If we turned off the native 3G on the iPhone4 and iPad2 and connected to any home WiFi connection, FaceTime worked, of course it did, that is how it was meant to work, over your home WiFi and not over ATT or Verizon 3G/4G natively.
So we did exactly that, but turned off the home/office WiFi and made each device connect over each hotspot list above, FaceTime worked and connected every time, the video quality was decent considering the reduced connection speed of 3G/4G over home/work WiFi.
If you want to use FaceTime on the road, you need two devices, one for FaceTime the other to act as the WiFi Hotspot… It seems completely stupid to us or actually, maybe it is brilliant on their part, we haven’t really figured that part out.
Oh, did I mention, you can go iPhone4 to iPhone4 using your native 3G (same device) with the latest version of Skype with video, you can also go to/from a PC or MAC and iPhone4 as well, pretty flawlessly…
Tell me, if FaceTime won’t connect over your native 3G on iPhone4 or iPad2 and Skype will, why are we trying to use FaceTime? Thank you Skype! We hear an Android Skype version with video is coming soon too! Click here for more information on Skype Video for the iPhone4: