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.