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which database version do you use? If it's some 11g release, you have to enable network services for the APEX user. Especially for the upgraded 4.1 instances, you have a new database user (APEX_040100 vs. APEX_040000 from APEX 4.0) that needs to get the ACLs again, even if you've done this for the (old) APEX 4.0 installation. See the corresponding[url http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/E23903_01/doc/doc.41/e21673/otn_install.htm#BABBHCID]APEX Installation Guide for details.
If this doesn't solve the problem in your scenario, could you please post the error message(s) that you get when the authentication fails?
Thank you Udo for your reply. The problem is caused by the fact that I am using 220.127.116.11 which has some significant changes in the way ACLs are processed. The solution was to add the following permission
acl => 'portal-permissions.xml',
principal => 'APEX_040100',
is_grant => TRUE,
privilege => 'connect' );
I hope this can be useful for someone else as it is not well documented.