As I zip down Broadway in a bus in Vancouver, I pick up a ShawOpen WiFi signal every few hundred feet.

Sometimes, at a stop, or during slow moving traffic, this is enough signal to start a page load or download.

But, when leaving the range of the signal, and dropping back to cellular data, whatever what was going on hangs.

Is there a no-effort way to avoid this? I would prefer to not have to turn off my WiFi when I'm on a bus and then reactivate it when I'm off of the bus. I'd prefer to use the WiFi when it is stable, but if not, it should just stop attempting to use this fleeting signal for a while.

Things I've thought of:

  • NFC triggers (but don't think there is any NFC on TransLink busses)
  • multipath TCP (but I can't tell that this is ready for compilation into a custom ROM)

Maybe there is another option I haven't thought of.

I am on CyanogenMod latest for the Note 3.

  • How about disabling auto-connect for ShawOpen networks?
    – tidbeck
    Oct 2, 2014 at 7:50

2 Answers 2


Couldn't you decide to do the simplest thing that can be done?! Just go to Settings -> Wi-Fi -> Advanced and tick the "Avoid poor Internet connection" voice... This way your device will stop using weak WiFi connections ;)

  • I've found that feature to be unreliable for the use-case the asker described. Once Android sees an AP with a "good" signal, it will try to stay connected to that network even if you move out of range. Android also has problems if an access point's signal strength fluctuates between "poor" and "good". I look forward to the Android "L" release, which claims to offer "seamless network switching". Oct 3, 2014 at 0:55

Unfortunately most mobile clients are not the greatest at WiFi roaming. Don't get me wrong, they will roam but given the conditions you are describing WiFi will not be stable. This is why your phone will connect intermittently but still try to hang onto the connection despite you on the bus moving away from it. If there is no better access point for your phone to connect to it will most likely hang onto the bad connection until its physically not possible for your phone to transmit and receive data from the original access point. Unfortunately there is no built in WiFi auto on/off. You are on the right track with NFC triggers.

My advice:

Use tasker or some other profile setting control application to turn your wifi off automatically when signal is low.

Use an NFC tag to turn on your WiFi with a simple tap.

You may be able to have WiFi turned off based off of your location change but that may defeat the purpose as your location will have to be on the whole time which will sap your battery. However if battery is not a concern this may be the closest thing. So if you get on a bus, your location service on the phone will recognize you are on not stationary, which will then turn off your WiFi. Not sure about turning on.

As far as I know this is probably the closest you can get to a no-effort wifi automation.

Personally I just turn my WiFi off unless I know there is something stable to connect to. Any voip or streaming application will just suffer without a stable connection so I rely on my network at that point.

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