Bell Home Hub 2000: A Newly-Discovered Peeve

The router I have, that manages my LAN, as well as my WiFi, as well as my access to the WAN, is a “Bell Home Hub 2000″ router. Overall I’m very satisfied with this router, especially since I’ve been able to operate a Web-site, in spite of having this router, which does not provide loopback-capability. But just last night, I discovered a detail in how this router works, that disappointed me just a little.

I additionally have a Samsung Galaxy S6 phone, which can sometimes famously suffer from the problem of dropping its WiFi connection. Through a process of elimination, I found out that on my WiFi, this problem was caused, by some sort of issue with the 5GHz frequency-band.

WiFi today has the capability to operate at center-frequencies of either 2.4, or of 5 GHz. When the Samsung S6 sees that both versions of a WiFi access point are available, it will automatically try to connect to the 5GHz version, because doing so can offer the greatest connection speeds.

At the same time, this router does not allow, for the 2.4GHz access point, and the 5GHz access point, to have different SSIDs – which are the codes that people commonly use to identify an access point. In reality, by offering both the 2.4 and the 5GHz option to connect to the WiFi, my router is offering two different access points, that happen to have the same SSID.

Further, some advice given on the Internet is invalid, that states, users can force their Samsung S6 to connect using the 2.4GHz channel, out of their WiFi-settings, on the phone. With its present firmware, the Galaxy S6 has no such setting anywhere; its behavior is always automatic.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Phone System Update Today

My Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone was running Android 6.0.1 until today, when the notification reached me, that a System Update was available.

So once I got home, I eagerly installed that, and my phone is now running Android 7.0 – which is also known as Nougat.

I am impressed with this, even though the main feature I see is the screen layout. Obviously, there is more to Android Nougat than that. But, while it seems at first glance that everything worked as planned, I cannot honestly claim that everything is in fact 100%, because I haven’t had the time to test many of the new features yet.

For the moment, I’d say that the update was a success.

There was one detail which I specifically did check. One of the usage habits with which I’ve used Marshmallow and Nougat in the past, was to white-list some of my apps, from Battery Optimization. The reason I need to do this, is my desire to allow some of these apps to run in the background, even though I may not be making any foreground use of them. And, these apps are often older, in that their devs have not adapted them to the newer ways of allowing this to happen. Since modern Android aggressively kills apps that fit this description, my devices have white-lists of apps that should not be killed.

What I did expect is that the update to 7.0 would roll back all my personal white-lists. But I still want them. If the app is too outdated to run on 6.0.1 correctly, then it will probably also be too outdated to run on 7.0 correctly.

It took me a few tries, to find where I can do this.

One of the things which Samsung has done with this update, is to design a UI which is user-friendlier, and also more different from Stock Android, than earlier Samsung versions were. And this means that if I want to find something advanced, I need to poke around in the new settings menu a bit.

I have restored my own preference, that my phone is to have a more extensive white-list, for Battery Optimization, than I feel the Tablet should have. And this relates to the fact that while I do want my phone to send me my many notifications, there is little use if the same notifications are always sounding on the tablet. Chances are, I’ll have my phone in my shirt-pocket, while I’m sitting in front of my tablet. And then, if I want my tablet-view of something that the phone just notified me about, manually activating the corresponding app on the tablet works just fine.

I think that any data-miners might get confused by my habits, of inviting many notifications on my phone, but often not tapping on them, to open the corresponding app-pages. But the way I’m set up, the notification text itself usually gives me enough information, that I can just swipe the notification away, and still have a general sense of what’s going on in the world.


(Edit 05/20/2017 : )

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Testing the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 external sound device, with my Samsung S6 Smart-Phone

I have tested, whether this external USB recording tool, works with my Samsung Galaxy S6 Smart-Phone, using an ‘’ OTG adapter. The results were mixed. In An Earlier Posting, I had tested whether this external USB Sound Card, works under Linux. And the answer to that question was a resounding Yes.

Scarlett 2i2 _1

When we plug an OTG adapter into a smart-phone or tablet, this puts the mobile device into Master / Host Mode, that would otherwise normally work in Slave Mode. Thus, we can then plug in a USB storage device, and hopefully have that recognized, while by default, we can only plug our mobile device into a computer, and have the computer recognize this mobile device, as the storage device.

But it is also plausible to connect other external devices to our mobile device, when using an OTG adapter. All this happens because the OTG adapter itself contains an additional chip, that gives it the ability to act as a USB Host. Whether such external devices will work or not, generally depends on two factors:

  1. Whether the micro-USB port on the mobile device can output enough current, to supply the external / Slave device, and
  2. Whether the mobile device possesses the drivers needed, for the USB device in question. Under Linux, this last question is more likely to be answered in the affirmative.

The OTG adapter I was using, uses its micro-USB side as the only power-supply. This means that if the connected device draws a full 500mA of supply current, we are pushing the limit, that is generally set for USB 2.0  PC ports.

Continue reading Testing the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 external sound device, with my Samsung S6 Smart-Phone

My Samsung Galaxy S6 Phone is behaving better between Reboots now.

One of the facts which I had reported to personal friends in recent months, was that I needed to reboot my phone frequently. This led to some puzzlement, because many owners of computers and smart-phones, and tablets, realize that in general, each of these device-categories should be able to run for extended periods of time. Back then, I was rebooting my phone, almost every week.

What I now find, is that I do not need to reboot it as often as I used to, and the reason for this is somewhat obscured, in that I also never really stated, why I needed to reboot it before.

One app I use a lot, is ““. The behavior of this app in the past was, that after having played songs several hundred times, it would just refuse to keep doing so, and would cut out on me, until I did my reboot. My instinctive response to this was to assume, that Android could easily be prone to memory leaks.

But what I seem to have learned, is that some update to this exact app in the past few months, completely fixed this behavior. So this was actually just due to a bug in one app.

The fact has been recorded, that by now I am using Bluetooth Headphones to listen to my walking-around music, instead of cheap ones that just plugged in to the headphone jack. But I also recall, that immediately after making the switch in headphones, this behavior of no longer playing music, did not stop. This behavior continued even after I had switched to the BT Headphones.

But in a related way, I once had a reason to reboot which was not fully related: Power consumption would increase, and grow intolerable. My explanation for this remains, that I have hundreds of apps installed, many of which run in the background, but after a reboot, some of the triggers are not set, that will cause these to do so. Only after several days of normal use, do programs run, which would like for the device to wake up later, so that the same program can run in the background. And so the power consumption will plateau at some level, which I was finding bothersome.

Well it is not likely, that the overall model would have changed, by which Android schedules programs to run in the background. Yet, now that I am walking around with my Bluetooth Headphones, I find that the power consumption is tolerable as well, in spite of not having rebooted for several weeks.

The only explanation I can think of for this second improvement, is that the 16-Ω headphones I was using before, must have been requiring a high drain on the battery in the phone, just to drive the headphones themselves.

OTOH, When I am using my BT Headphones to listen to music constantly, their drivers are being powered by a separate battery, belonging to the headphones themselves. Hence, the actual phone seems to be spared some amount of power drain.

Obviously, my BT Headphones are using Bluetooth 4, which consumes much less power than BT 2 did. But I had not imagined that the improvements would be as dramatic as they have become.


Please Note: I would not recommend that people buy Bluetooth Headphones, specifically to listen to music, unless the readers have also assured themselves that their new headphones also use A Suitable CODEC, which allows them to appreciate the music in High Fidelity. Standard BT Heaphones are designed for making phone calls and little else.

(Edit 09/02/2016 : ) I should also add, that before making the switch to my Bluetooth Headphones, I typically had the Bluetooth feature of my phone turned on anyway, to enable it to access my “Vivofit” tracking bracelet. Thus, adding the headphones did not add the need for more chips to be turned on than already were, and both the Vivofit bracelet and my BT Headphones, use Bluetooth 4.