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.

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