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854 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 125


Topic # 148907 4-Jul-2014 22:40
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I've been thinking about how I consume mobile data when out & about, normally I use the arrangement of a Pocket-WiFi with a Data-Only SIM, with two devices (typically Nexus Phone and either a iPod touch or even sometimes a iPad - if traveling).

What I'm wondering is if the following is kind of possible and if anyone else has had experience with the arrangement and how smooth it is:

- Cut out the Pocket-WiFi completely, move all the 3G data onto Nexus 4 (I'd likely save a bit of money this way with the current pack deals these days).
- Setup the Android Hotspot feature with an appropriate SSID/key/WPA2 so my non-3G devices can connect when out & about via my N4 instead of the PWiFi
- Additionally connect to (lets say) Telecom Free WiFi on both devices.

Now if I understand correctly, the general rules of discovery should still apply, as the Telecom connection becomes known and good enough to attempt a connection to, I'd assume the following would happen:

- N4 drops 3G/Hotspot
- N4 attempts connection
- N4 connects to TFW, goes about happy
- other devices lose association with HotspotConn, but notice TFW, connect to that instead
- somewhat seemless transition.

As long as I'm not streaming a movie from Quickflix I should be kind of good right?   And the hotspot feature does work like that, i.e. it doesn't prevent the phone's known network search right?

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580 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 46


  Reply # 1081255 4-Jul-2014 23:05
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When you turn on the mobile hotspot feature, you'll lose the ability to connect to WiFi networks. You'll have to manually turn off hotspot in order to be able to connect to the Telecom WiFi network. This is a general limitation of the Wi-Fi hardware in mobile devices, not something specific to Android.

Depending how much data you use, it might be better not to use Telecom's WiFi network at all. In my own experience, it takes ages to connect and speeds range from alright to abysmal. Mobile data is much faster and you don't need to stay within range of a payphone to use it.



854 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 125


  Reply # 1081258 4-Jul-2014 23:24
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nzgeek: When you turn on the mobile hotspot feature, you'll lose the ability to connect to WiFi networks. You'll have to manually turn off hotspot in order to be able to connect to the Telecom WiFi network. This is a general limitation of the Wi-Fi hardware in mobile devices, not something specific to Android.


Rats, I actually secretly feared as much, I seemed to recall this in the past but for some reason thought they changed it, hence the question.

Depending how much data you use, it might be better not to use Telecom's WiFi network at all. In my own experience, it takes ages to connect and speeds range from alright to abysmal. Mobile data is much faster and you don't need to stay within range of a payphone to use it.


My understanding is that it depends on the payphone and what kind of connection Telecom could provision it, I just had this image of a while not perfect, close enough hand-off between 3G and Free WiFi's that I wouldn't care (I'm not a walk & type away at the screen kinda guy most of the time).

It seems the solution is to just either do it manually, or stick with what works (pocket-wifi), or a combo of the two.

The sticking with the Pocket WiFi has mainly been due to the frequency of power outages and preserving battery on other devices (why waste their batteries for tethering).

Thanks nzgeek.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1081508 5-Jul-2014 16:11
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Only a windows PC (and maybe linux with a modified driver stack) i have seen be able to both simultaneously associate with an AP and broadcast as a virtual AP at the same time on the same hardware.

580 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 46


  Reply # 1081700 6-Jul-2014 02:29
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eXDee: Only a windows PC (and maybe linux with a modified driver stack) i have seen be able to both simultaneously associate with an AP and broadcast as a virtual AP at the same time on the same hardware.

Maybe it is possible. I'm not an expert of WiFi costs and what they are capable of. The one thing I do know is that mobile devices often use a single chip to control WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular connections, and it's quite possible that this will have some effect of the functionality available. A cellular device is also less likely to contain multiple antennae, which might be needed for simultaneous connections.

Assuming that the simultaneous bit is out of the question, the phone would still need to (a) be able to scan for WiFi networks while in hotspot mode, and (b) drop our of hotspot mode in order to connect. I can't seem to do (a) on my S4, but this could be a side-effect of turning WiFi "off" for hotspot mode. And there are questions around whether you'd want to do (b) automatically, especially if there are devices connected to the hotspot. There are certainly times when you want to keep that hotspot running, such as when the WiFi network is having problems, or if you're providing data for other devices that can't connect to the WiFi network. The only surefire thing is to get the user to make the choice to switch.

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