Zune Wireless Sync Issues (Updated)

Zune Wireless Sync Issues (Updated)

This is one of the best features of both the Zune devices and Windows Phone in that you can synchronise them wirelessly with a computer so that you can keep your media updated without always resorting to plugging in via USB.  I had this working with my previous router, a Linksys WAG160N, but now that I’ve replaced that with a Netgear DGND3300 (v2) I can’t send any new media to my Windows Phone (a Samsung Omnia 7) although it does send any new pictures or videos I’ve taken to the computer.  The image here shows that it has partially synchronised, some pictures and videos I’d taken yesterday now appear on the computer, but then just stops when it tries sending anything new down to the phone.

After many hours trying to figure this out, with some really great support from both @WinPhoneSupport and @ZuneSupport on Twitter, I finally figured out that with the DGND3300 it can only wirelessly sync to another computer that is also on the wireless network.  It seems that although my Windows Phone is able to connect to my wired computer there is something not quite working correctly when the router is passing data between the two network types.

If anyone else is having problems there is a great Zune Device Sync Diagnostic Tool which although intended for troubleshooting Zune devices it also works with Windows Phone so you can see SSPD, UPnP, and PnP data passing between the devices.

All this reminded me very much of the early days of version 1 Windows Home Servers when only certain routers supported the UPnP automatic configuration of ports to enable remote access to the server.  Many people resorted to manually configuring their router to forward the required ports and even Microsoft put up support pages for this purpose.

I’ve opened a support ticket with Netgear, and posted on their forums, so maybe they can find a solution but knowing how well home routers are supported I doubt I’ll get them to fix this with a firmware update.  I thought it might be useful to try and build a list of routers that do work with Zune Wireless Sync so with that in mind I have created a forum post where people can post Routers that work with Zune Wireless Sync.

UPDATE: There are times when you’ve scratched your head so many times trying to figure out why something doesn’t work and that you get so close to a problem you can’t think of the obvious things to try.  It’s not easy to admit when you’re wrong, especially when you’ve posted something public like this, but unfortunately this is one of those times.  After a few email exchanges through the official Netgear support channel, not the public forums, they were very quickly able to understand the issues and the second suggestion they made was to try the laptop, the one working over WiFi, with a wired LAN connection to see if that worked.  As it turns out, for better or worse depending on your point of view, it worked perfectly clearly showing that the problem very likely has nothing to do with the DGND3300 router.

This does clearly show that something must be blocking it on the computer but I’ve tried everything I can think of (re-installing the Zune software, comparing registry settings, turning off the Windows Firewall) but it simply refuses to send data to the phone.  I am very technical, although clearly sometimes even I can be made to look a fool, and if there is some configuration preventing this from working that I can’t isolate I do wonder how a consumer would approach this when they bring home their shiny new Windows Phone and they can’t get it to sync with their computer for whatever reason.

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