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I also guess that the iPhone and laptop exchange messages in order to keep the connection active
There's no guessing here: FMP Host (Pro or Server) and FMP clients use an always-on connection because of the client-server model that FM uses. It is one of the most defining features of the FM platform; it is how a client can receive updated data from another client without having to explicitly ask for it. Even if there is no data to be updated, the client will ping the server at least once a minute to check if the server is still there. If the server does not receive a tickle from a client in a 2-minute timespan, and there was no data to be updated in the meantime, server will decide that the client has dropped off and close its own connection to that client.
It makes FM's network fingerprint a lot different than most other activities likes browsing web pages, or opening a Word document from a network share,...
You stated it a little better than I did.
The problem I encountered with GO was that when connecting to my laptop using the Internet connection, GO was being dropped even with the setting for 30 minutes. Once I changed to my own wifi router, a battery operated T-Mobile hotspot not connected to the internet, the drops stopped and speed improved.
So, the rule seems to be if you want to use FileMaker Pro as a server for the 9 or less clients, use an isolated wifi router that won't send you to the Internet or use an ether net hub.