Can you help me debug the unreliable internet connectivity on my Android Samsung Galaxy S1?
April 9, 2012 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me debug the unreliable internet connectivity on my Android Samsung Galaxy S1?

I am becoming bored of the unreliable nature of the internet connectivity I'm getting from my Samsung Galaxy S1. It's often intermittent, for no obvious reason. This occurs either directly on the phone itself (browsing, email, etc) or when I use it as a wifi access point with my laptop.

For background info.... my carrier is O2 and I'm in the UK. When I check with O2, they usually tell me there are no outages when I'm having problems. The 3G/GPRS/etc indicator on my phone sometimes shows traffic (the little red and green arrows light up) and sometimes zero traffic, even if I'm actively trying to use the connection. The signal indicator typically shows a strong signal, but no web pages load, and other services (email etc) fail to sync. As I write this, my laptop reports a strong wifi connection to the phone, and the phone reports good coverage. And yet web pages are timing out, both on my laptop and on my phone.

Disabling/re-enabling data mode and flight mode occasionally fixes things, but temporarily. Rebooting the phone ditto. Obviously this is a tremendously irritating workaround. This seems to have become more of an issue since upgrading the phone OS a couple of months ago -- this phone/provider/laptop combo has certainly given me way more reliable internet access in the past.

As well as trawling all the usual forums, I'd like to be able to debug this myself. Where do I start? Presumably there are debugging tools that would help me work out what's going on. Does anyone have any recommendations? Free apps only. Would rooting my phone be a good step e.g. allowing me to access otherwise-hidden log files?

I'm running stock Android 2.3.3, build GINGERBREAD.XWJVH, on a Samsung GT-I9000, Galaxy S1. I'm using Zeam launcher on the phone, the laptop is Windows 7 Home Premium, 64 bit.

I'd simply like to know how to start debugging these issues. I appreciate that a good debugging approach might be to start with a factory reset, but I'd prefer to avoid that if possible. I'm happy tooling around with Linux, so... where do I start? I suspect I should root the phone and try some sort of logcat; does that sound right? What next? (Cygwin will probably get installed on my laptop at some point!)

Many thanks one and all.
posted by ajp to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I have a Galaxy Tab 7" that runs Froyo or maybe Gingerbread and I have the connectivity issues you describe. (I use it infrequently enough that I don't care that much about it.)

I have a Samsung Galaxy S1, but it runs Ice Cream Sandwich. I never ever have connectivity problems. suggestion is you should spend your efforts on upgrading Android to Ice Cream Sandwich.
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:37 PM on April 9, 2012

I have a Samsung Nexus S (the Google phone) and it has the exact same problems - my internet connection is generally either teetering unreliably on the brink of failure, or simply failed. Rebooting fixes it for a bit, but not for as long as it really should. This morning it got an update and now I'm running Android 4.0.4. It rebooted and internet was fine. I just checked it again now and it's deadly slow but technically working. Try and upgrade the OS first of all.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:22 PM on April 9, 2012

If you're already running 4.0.4, there's a little bit of stuff here - I'm downloading the No Signal Alert app referenced on the page to play around with (though I understand that "no signal" is different from "no internet").
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:25 PM on April 9, 2012

There's been a known Wifi issue - a get around which involves setting a static IP address
This may help Fixing Samsung Galaxy I9000 Wi-Fi Connectivity Issues
posted by Dub at 9:30 PM on April 9, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all, these are great suggestions for solutions to connectivity problems. However, I'd really like the tools to be able to debug what's going on. Any pointers? I shall of course trawl the forums and interwebs.
posted by ajp at 3:43 AM on April 10, 2012

As a system tool, Elixir (E2 - check the Android shop) is free and has a few handy features. If you have "rooted" your phone, Elixir specifically references an add-in that allows "debugging data roaming", so that might be a good place to start.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:54 PM on April 10, 2012

Response by poster: Apparently O2 here in the UK aren't keen on rolling out ice-cream sandwich to the Samsung Galaxy S1. So an upgrade might be a little more hassle than I'm looking for.

If I had oodles of time and was a little more confident about tinkering with it, I'd root it and try installing ICS from the source.

In the mean time, Elixir it is. Thanks!
posted by ajp at 7:14 AM on April 12, 2012

You can download updated Androids and install them directly, I did it just recently. Have a bit of a Google around.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:54 PM on April 15, 2012

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