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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers Other Hardware
A few months back, I replaced my FIOS router when the Verizon-provided model died one day. The replacement worked OK, except for an annoying issue with DNS: every so often, seemingly randomly, my Macs would cease to load any web pages, just sitting there with a "looking for macosxhints.com" message. Clearly, there was some sort of DNS problem, but it had me stumped. It didn't matter if I set the DNS on the Mac or on the router, nor which DNS I told it to use. After a few minutes of not working, DNS would magically begin working again, for some other random period of time. (I'm not going to list the router I used, as I'm not sure it's a general problem with this brand; it may be something peculiar to my setup.)

Finally sick of trying to solve this problem, I replaced the router with a Netgear WNR3500 Gigagbit Router (about $105 at various places). Once connected, the DNS issues were gone (and the admin interface is a marked improvement over the router it replaced). However, I then had a new problem: I couldn't reliably login to iChat (using a MobileMe AIM account). Sometimes it would work, but more often than not, it would connect then disconnect rapidly, leading to a message from AIM stating I'd attempted to login too many times, and I'd have to wait a while before trying again.

After much searching, I stumbled upon this thread in the MacRumors Forums, which contained a simple solution: change the AIM server port (in iChat's preferences) to 443, the port for https connections. Make sure you're logged out of iChat, then go to Accounts » Server Settings, and just change the port from whatever it is (5190) to 443, then close iChat's preferences. (You'll need to make this same change on any Mac on your network, of course.)

I'm not sure what's going on with the Netgear and the default port; it may be related to some of the firewall features in the router, but I really don't know. In any event, this change fixed the problem -- iChat is now fully functional. I don't know if other Netgear routers have this same problem, but if they do, try using the https port for iChat for a simple fix.
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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers | 12 comments | Create New Account
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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 28, '09 08:47:23AM

It may be to do with the inordinate amount of ports that iChat uses and changing to 443 may tunnel all traffic through one port....which is "trusted" by netgear router



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Vonage
Authored by: SOX on Jan 28, '09 09:40:19AM

I'm wrestling with vonage. My vonage router appears to sit on the ichat addresses. So even asking the router to open the ports does not produce the desired result. I can't find any definitive solution. Some websites have said they have gotten vonage to move the ports by commands from vonage to the router, but when I call vonage they say they have no idea what I'm talking about. Any thoughts?



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: allentown on Jan 28, '09 11:37:38AM

I believe, disable SPI on you router, and it will solve a lot of issues like this, it did for me, and it was also a NetGear, and a Belkin.



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: SOX on Jan 28, '09 01:35:54PM

what is spi?



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: taxi on Jan 28, '09 02:30:17PM

Stateful Packet Inspection.



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: woodgie on Jan 28, '09 11:11:52PM

I would be a bit careful doing that.

What you're doing by turning off SPI is turning off your firewall capabilities thereby leaving yourself open to the big bad internet.

Just my tupp'orth.



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: allentown on Feb 02, '09 03:16:34AM

Not entirely true. You are still largely protected by NAT as well. SPI logs packet requests, and generally only lets in the ones that are as a result of some action on your end. So you ask for something, and SPI logs it, then knows to let something get a reply. In general at least.

If you have some virus or other junk on your machine, SPI is not going to help you, since you make the request out anyway.

SPI can help you from getting DDoS'd, but really, how often is your local machine going to get that? Turning off SPI is, more or less, in my strong opinion, very safe, and well worth it since it is complicated to implement right, and to date, most routers do not, as we are seeing now.



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: joelseph on Jan 28, '09 11:39:22AM

Hmm... I've had a similar problem in the past with my AIM account (via Adium) when I was on a Netgear wifi network at a friend's house. I think changing the port to 80 helped sometimes, but not reliably. I'll have to keep this hint in mind the next time I have the issue... sorry, I don't remember what model number the router was.



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: Frederico on Jan 28, '09 07:26:52PM
Sometimes Apple Support is worth your first stop:

[link:]http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1643

[link:]http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1507?viewlocale=en_US



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: robg on Jan 29, '09 05:05:13PM

Thanks -- I actually searched there, but clearly not with the right words!

-rob.



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: Frederico on Jan 29, '09 08:40:36PM

FWIW, I have had the same problem more than once as guest on various networks; I almost always forgot the solution, but I did recall that searching Apple Support for 'ichat login error' always gets me that article as top hit.

I threw in the second link to port specifics for general usage by non-netgear login issues.



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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers
Authored by: enthusia492@mac. on Jan 28, '09 09:31:08PM

the exact same thing happened to me! I am also using a Netgear router. The way I fixed it is (unsure of how this works): I go to preferences, delete my account, add my account again (putting in passwords and such), save, and my buddy list should show up again the way it used to be.



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