Category: Computers and Technology

Upgrade for home non-traditional ISP

I do have the good fortune of receiving a lot of mobile devices to test and muck around with at work. Around November 2015 I ditched paying the $60/month for Comcast and went with an unlimited plan from my mobile ISP. I now have 17GB of tethering per month (before throttling) and I push it through a Raspberry PI with some nice forwarding rules setup in iptables so it really just acts as the DMZ router.

This has been OK, except when I want to get a lot of work done, I can blow through that quickly. Additionally I do occasionally like having remote access to my stuff, and when I take my phone, then my network goes offline.

So…. now I get to test a Samsung SM-V100T. An Android hotspot from T-Mobile that has a tethering limit > 50GB/month. The unit comes with a battery, some nice additional features if this was someone’s primary mode of Internet connectivity such as a MicroSD card slot and DLNA support. I’m excited that the unit comes with Android and I’m curious about sideloading apps and getting a better UI setup for it. Linux detects it as if it was a Gear S2, so there’s hope for what I can do with it.

I have had a small problem with tethering some of the other test devices previously, and when I tested a Samsung S6 Edge, I found that certain models respond poorly to the amount of power that the Raspberry PI(a) can output from the USB ports.The symptoms specific to tethering is that the device continually knocks itself offline and behaves as if it has been connected to a new device again, and thus prompts for a connection method.

I’ve found previously that using a 2.1 amp charger for a tablet produces sufficient power to work through most of these devices, but the SM-V100T was responding the same way as the previous devices did. I didn’t have a powered USB hub on hand, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a USB charger capable of greater than 2.1A output.

And then I had a great idea… I remembered back in the day external slim CD/DVD drives often connected via two USB cords. One for data and power, and an additional cable for just a bit more juice. Voila! Power supply to the hotspot fixed.

To do:

  • set hotspot to tether by default when plugging into a Pi.
    • Currently the device will default back to MTP, requiring a UI login to change this back to tethering
  • Side load apps
    • I must find out how to sideload the Android agent for MDM control. The SM-V100T represent a threat to the integrity of network behind it since it’s based of out-of-date Android
  • Disable Wi-Fi hotspot
    • If this is used for tethering 100%, no need to have another Wi-Fi signal saturating the channels
      • Maybe the WPS button could be changed for Wi-Fi hotspot on/off?