Damian Mehers' Blog Xamarin from Geneva, Switzerland.

30May/110

HTC Gingerbread–automatically switching from Wifi to costly data connection

I have an HTC Incredible S, and it’s a very nice phone indeed.

I recently upgraded Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), and discovered that the Wifi connection was dropping in places at home where it had a perfectly usable (albeit weak) Wifi signal.  Places where previously it had worked.

I fiddled with my Wifi base station, repositioning it, to no avail.

Finally I googled and found that HTC had decided to switch from Wifi to data if the Wifi signal dropped below a certain strength (88dbm).  How nice of them to decide on my behalf that I wanted to switch from my (free) Wifi to my (expensive) data plan, even though I still had a perfectly usable (and free) Wifi connection – one that worked perfectly well in the previous OS version.

This is annoying for a couple of reasons.  Firstly I can now run up horrendous data plan charges even though I’m within range of my Wifi.  Secondly, I have services I run on my local Wifi (IP Cams, remote control software) that can no longer connect when I’m off my Wifi.

I’ve been a big HTC fan for a long time, and have gone through many of their ‘phones.  This is a big disappointment for me – it stinks of paternalism/arrogance – deciding what is best for me without giving me a chance to override it.  I am sure that it isn’t arrogance/paternalism – I am sure it made perfectly good engineering sense, perhaps because less battery will be consumed on data than on Wifi when on a weak link, but give me a choice.

I contacted HTC support and was told that yes, this behavior is new and that no, there was no way to downgrade – the suggestion was to switch off the Data connection when I was at home. Right, as if I will remember to do that.

I’ve ended up installing Tasker, and setting up a rule to switch off my Data connection when within range of my home Wifi.  Not ideal, but it works.

Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments
26May/1124

How to: Windows 7 incoming VPN from Android

A couple of weeks ago I tried to get my HTC Incredible S, running Gingerbread to connect via VPN to my Windows 7 box.  I failed, but today I succeeded.  This is how.

I created the incoming VPN on Windows 7 by following instructions I found on the web:

Open the Network and Sharing Center

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Click on Change Adapter Settings

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Press Alt-F, and select New Incoming Connection

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Configure the incoming connection

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Change the IPV4 properties to specify a DHCP range

Make sure the range you specify is on your LAN, and out of the range served by your DHCP server (you can updated your DHCP server to exclude this range).

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Check the firewall

I went to Advanced Settings under Windows Firewall, clicked on Inbound Rules, clicked on the Local Port column to sort by that column, and then verified that the line for port 1723 was set up and enabled (Routing and Remote Access (PPTP-In).

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Set up port forwarding

I then went to my Router configuration, and set up port forwarding, so that external connections to port 1723 were forwarded to the machine I just configured (which is always allocated the same IP address by the router):

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Now my Android device can connect to my internal VPN using the default settings.  You’ll need to know your external IP address.  You can find it using tools like http://www.whatismyip.com/ but it may change.  I have mine set up using http://www.dyndns.com/

Filed under: Android 24 Comments