Sunday, January 19, 2014

How to disable auto network switch on your Android smartphone

Are you having trouble keeping a stable connection to your Wi-Fi network on your Android-powered Samsung smartphone? That’s probably because your device has its auto network switch option turned on. In some cases, it’s better to disable it so you can manually choose which network (mobile or Wi-Fi) to use. Here’s how you do it.

Auto network switch

Note: As usual, I’m using my Galaxy Note 2 (running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean) to create this guide. Other Samsung smartphones (Galaxy S4, Note 3, etc.) have the auto network switch feature as well, meaning this guide could also be applicable to other devices.

How to disable auto network switch

Go to your phone’s Settings.

Go to the Wi-Fi sub-setting, usually grouped under “Network connections” or a similar section.

Tap/press your phone’s Menu button to display more options, and then tap Advanced.

Uncheck Auto network switch. Confirm choice if asked. And you’re done!

Android settingAndroid Wi-Fi setting showing Advanced optionAndroid Wi-Fi advanced setting

Hopefully, that fixes your sudden WiFi disconnections.

The auto network switch feature is somewhat similar to the roaming aggressiveness setting for Wi-Fi antennas in full-fledged computers, given that both check which network signal is stronger and more stable and consequently force the device to stay on that particular network.

Reasons to turn off auto network switch

Sadly, our smartphones are sometimes not “smart” enough to think that, even with a low signal, the Wi-Fi connection still provides a much faster Internet access. Such is my case, because even if my office (where I usually hang out) has a poor reception on my router, it’s still better than the reception on my cellular carrier. That is one reason why it’s more practical to have the auto network switch feature turned off.

Another reason why we don’t want our phones to automatically transfer to mobile data is that we all know some data plans have certain bandwidth limits. We certainly don’t want to exceed these limits lest we incur unwanted billing charges.

Perhaps yet another reason why we want our Samsung smartphones stay in a Wi-Fi network instead of using mobile data is we’re playing games in wireless multiplayer mode. Obviously we don’t want to be interrupted during our gaming sessions.

Last but not least, disabling auto network switch will somewhat lessen those “Your Internet connection is unstable and/or slow” error messages that pop up every 5 to 10 seconds.

 

Anyway, the Wi-Fi timer option is right below auto network switch. If you want it enabled, be sure you’ve set it to the correct schedule just so you don’t get disconnected from your Wi-Fi network abruptly.