Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birdstep SmartConnect for S60

http://www.birdstep.com

11/28/2008 Updated: Version 1.2.61 is now available on Download! which fixes a bug that can crash the phone when SmartConnect can't connect to any access points in its list. So go download it now unless you like crashes.

07/21/2009 Updated: SmartConnect is now free for select E-series and N-series phones.
Nokia Eseries: E50, E51, E51(no camera), E52, E55, E60, E61, E61i, E61i China variant, E62, E63, E65, E66, E70, E71, E75, E90
Nokia Nseries: N76, N78, N79, N81, N82, N85, N86 (8MP), N95, N95 (8GB), N96
You can download BirdStep SmartConnect 1.3.6 directly from BirdStep.


Birdstep's SmartConnect for S60 helps you manage your access points so you can seamlessly move from high speed limited range WiFi access points to highly accessible data packet access points to keep you always connected. Now you can have all your applications connect via one access point and not think twice about choosing the access point.

And now it's free for Nokia E-series devices on Nokia's Download! service.

For a full review and rating follow the jump...

Built-in access point management is not included in S60 FP1 and lower. Nokia had tried to address this in their earlier E-series devices with Access Point Groups but the feature lacked the ability to prioritize access points and many applications didn't support it like Nokia's own Mail for Exchange. A few software vendors tried to address this issue with Psiloc Connect and Birdstep SmartConnect. Thankfully Nokia is providing SmartConnect to E-series users through a free download - and it's definitely worth the download. So in this blog entry I'll be reviewing Birdstep SmartConnect for Symbian OS Standard Edition 1.2.5.4.

By using a SmartConnect access point, it let's you workaround that annoying bug in newer versions of Fring where it won't let you select a hidden WiFi access point!

If you're like me, then you want some proof that this application is worth installing before you clog your highly optimized smartphone. Here's a little walkthrough of features in SmartConnect:

The connection groups created in SmartConnect resemble a data packet access point so you can use it in any application:

For each group you can also control whether SmartConnect will stay connected to the access point it's currently using or switch to a better one when available. By default it's set to Stay connected which I recommend.

You can select any number of access points:

If you're wondering, you can't select another SmartConnect access point to be in a SmartConnect access point to create an infinite loop.

You can reorganize the priority of the access points in the SmartConnect access point:

If you like fast access then you'll want WiFi access points at the top

Settings:

Control the number of notifications given by SmartConnect, allows SmartConnect to prompt you to add the new access point, and disable roaming so SmartConnect won't use data packet access points when you're outside your carrier's network

You can even add hotspots that support WISPr like Boingo and have SmartConnect automatically authenticate:

Add the hotspot like you would a WiFi access point then highlight and select options > Connection Settings > Hotspot settings

Adding a new access point will prompt you if you want to add it to an existing SmartConnect access point:

You can disable the automatic prompt in Options > Advanced > Settings > Prompt on new conn.

During my week of using SmartConnect I've only encountered one hang where I was using a SmartConnect access point and I tried to edit it. I tried reproducing the problem but it didn't hang again.

If you have no data plan or a limited data plan and frequently visit the same places with WiFi access points then SmartConnect is a no brainer. SmartConnect removes the need for setting all your applications to "Always Prompt" in the connection settings. For those of you using Mail for Exchange this is a must have so your mail seamlessly gets sync'ed no matter which WiFi point you're at. For those of you that do have unlimited 3G data plans, WiFi is still faster and SmartConnect will help you get that extra speed without any extra work.

Software rating: Highly Recommend

37 comments:

Joan Pons said...

seems very good, but doesn't work on my e90; it says "license invalid"

i can accept to have a problem, but what is not acceptable is that the support service didn't answered me why.

The product is always the product + the service.

Eric said...

Hi Joan,

I don't have a E90 on hand to test but I've read on threads that you can download SmartConnect for your E90 from Download! in the folder: Menu -> Download! -> Office -> Birdstep SmartConnect (source: http://tinyurl.com/68pkrh). Of course this all depends on your SIM since Download! reads that to determine what you get and what you don't.

Anonymous said...

For "license invalid", try to install again from Download! ;)

see FAQ:
http://www.birdstep.com/launch/SafeMove-for-Nokia-Smartphones/SmartConnect-FAQ/

Anonymous said...

Excellent! This is much better than Psiloc Connect (which I bought more than half a year ago and been using since)!

The main benefit of SmartConnect over Psiloc Connect is that you can create your own list of AP's to use. Psiloc Connect simply uses any available non-secured WIFI AP over UMTS. Which in many cases I do not want.

Anonymous said...

"License Invalid" here too!

As far as i understand, it is a Problem with the new Firmware of the Nokia E90.

I suppose you installed the 300*** Firmware on you E90.

I couldn't solve the problem yet.

Any ideas? This software would be great if it worked on my E90.

Eric said...

I don't have a E90 with v300.34.84 so I can't test :(

If I make it out to the S60 user group meeting this coming Tuesday at the NYC Nokia Store then I'll see if I can test it out on an E90 at the store. I'll keep you posted on that.

Anonymous said...

could someone please post or fire me Birdstep 1.2.60 file as i am not able to download it for my E71 here in Canada and its driving me nuts ! :)
Thanks in advance
If you can e-mail it to: costav at yahoo dot com

Vincent said...

Hi there,

I'm using this program and it seems very handy but my problem is that it doesn't automatically switch to the wifi networks that are on top of the list in the group.

Once connected to the 3G, it stays there...

Any ideas why ?

Tx !!

Eric said...

Hi Vincent, try going to your connection group, click Options > Group Settings > On better connection set to Disconnect. So if your wifi is a better connection then your phone will disconnect and switch to wifi.

Eric said...

I didn't get a chance to go to the Nokia store so I wasn't able to check the E90 yet. I'll let you know if I find anything.

Vincent said...

Hi Eric, tx for your quick answer !

I did that before but it didn't work, I've just installed the latest version and I'll try that again today...

Vincent said...

Bad news, it still doesn't switch automatically...

When I leave home and loose the Wifi it just stay disconnect until I say otherwise.

When I come back home, it stays on the 3G :'(

Mark said...

Vincent, I am having the same problem as you - once I leave my home wifi and connect via 3G but then come back to my home wifi network, it still stays on 3G. Hopefully, someone may have another suggestion on how to fix this.

Eitan said...

Indeed great software, adds a missing piece to the E71.

However I’m encountering problems when using this software with the E71 VPN client.
I'm using a cisco ASA VPN and manage to connect directly (with SC). When I set SC to be the access point used by the VPN I keep getting connecting... and nothing actually happens.

Any solution for this?

Lukasz said...

Hi guys!
I have similar problem with Psiloc Connect. But I have noticed it only when I use application like Nokia Messaging (email.nokia.com) with "Push mail" settings.
It means this application keeps connection all the time and Psiloc Connect doesn't disconnect it. If I set Nokia Messaging to check every hour, I suppose should work great (disconnect after every check, than connect again using Psiloc Connect AP, which will choose best connection at this moment).
I'm not sure if I'm 100% right because Nokia Messaging in newest version in this moment doesn't allow to choose an AP. It connects still using GPRS :(((

I have contacted Psiloc Support to ask for this issue while testing beta version of Nokia Messaging. They told me they work on it. Newer version than 1.17 should have forced connection switching feature.

Max Waterman said...

I find the same problem as a few others here. I see the option 'On better connection' but it doesn't allow me to select anything else than 'Stay connected". It says in the 'help' that 'this option is not available when seamless roaming is enabled'- it's talking about the 'Disconnect' option - but even when I select 'Disable' for 'Roaming GPRS', it doesn't seem to make any difference...is it referring to something else?

Eric said...

@Vincent I encountered the same behaviour. I was browsing via 3G then got home and it didn't switch to WiFi. I'm skeptical "On better connection" really does what the Help says it's suppose to.

@Lukasz Is your Nokia browser set to default to GPRS? I found that some of Nokia's software like Ovi File use the default connection settings found in the browser.

Paul said...

Downloaded this yesterday and it seemed to solve the E71's lack of connection management. But... It doesn't seem to be particularly reliable at the moment!

I've set the wifi connections at the top of the list, as suggested, but it seems to spontaneously, and randomly, drop the connections and refuses to reconnect.

Please help and advise as this is the perfect solution to my one disappointment with my new E71!

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem with 3G v wifi connections. It refuses to switch from 3G to wifi, but happily switches the other way. It would seem the 'stay connected/disconnect' option simply does not work, or my definition of 'better network' is different from Birdstep. This bug needs fixing if it's going to be truly useful.

Anonymous said...

Same problem here.

BTW I had to revert to this download, since the new download icon after firmware upgrade gave me a version that did not want to install.
http://gerrymoth.googlepages.com/Birdstep_SmartConnect_S60_3_1_v_1_2_.sis

Like with Psiloc Connect, I have also tried to set settings/connection/wireless LAN to scan every 10 min for networks. It works in Psilco but not in SmartConnect.

Brownie said...

Glad to see I'm not the only person having the problem with the WiFi not getting priority once back in range.
SC was recommended to me yesterday, and if this issue get fixed will very useful, until then it's kinda pointless for me.

Anonymous said...

Anyone tried this on Nokia 5800?
5800 has this widely reported issue with WLAN connection, and I was wondering if SmartConnect solves this...
Slate

Anonymous said...

A few days ago I got an answer from Birdstep concerning the problem that SC doesn't switch from G3 to WLAN:

'There seems to be a some issue with forcing the connection change from 3G to WLAN. The behaviour seems to be dependent on used application. We are currently investigating the matter but we cannot provide any timeschedule for fix.'

It's now also added to the FAQ

http://www.birdstep.com/Products/Birdstep/SmartConnect/SmartConnect-FAQ/

Anonymous said...

"By using a SmartConnect access point, it let's you workaround that annoying bug in newer versions of Fring where it won't let you select a hidden WiFi access point!"
It is the great news as it also opening the door to use Fring together with SymVPN from www.telexy.com
This "annoying bug in newer versions of Fring" is not letting you to select VPN access point created in SymVPN, but again, if SmartConnect is allowing the workaround then it will be really nice.

For those who doesn't know, SymVPN is the only PPTP VPN solution for Symbian based phones, Nokia and others. Works over Wi-Fi or 3G. Contrary to other existing VPN solution for mobile phones, SymVPN is easy to install and configure. It will allow you to connect any Windows based computers, many VPN providers, or devices supporting PPTP VPN (ex. various DD-WRT based routers) and all this over secure VPN channel. Works like a charm on my Nokia N95 and E71. Should work on any S60 3rd edition phone. With some trick it will work in Nokia 5800 too!

However, with SmartConnect installed there may be a problem with SymVPN registration.To avoid this problem SmartConnect should be uninstalled. It can be reinstalled later after SymVPN registration is performed.

Mark.

pcoyle said...

I've got SmartConnect 1.3.6 working with my Nokia 5800 (which is officially not supported) but it does not switch back from 3G to WiFi - regardless of the application (Nokia Messaging or Internet browser).

Anonymous said...

I have a similar problem. It does not stay on my home WiFi when I'm home. I think it might have something to do with th programs that call for a connection. When using the inbuilt browser on my E75, it stays on WIFI, when I use Opera, or use Bloomberg or AP app's it only want to connect with 3G. Same with Nokia Maps, only seems to want to try 3G. And these programs don't seem to have the option to 'change connection' in their respective menus.
Ripping Silk

Anonymous said...

Ripping Silk: For Opera etc apps connection that you want to use can be chosen in application manager (or what ever the english name is).
Pete

jenna said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://cellularaccessoriess.com

Anonymous said...

just installed on 5800 xm, it seems work ok. however it said it not support on this.

Jojo said...

Just a thought,.. have you guys turned wifi scanning off . if that is the case, the phone and therefore the app will not know that there is wifi around, and therefore will not switch.

nolande said...

i

This app more and more seems to be crap!! NO AUTOMATIZATION. Whatever i do nothing works by itself. So i have weather app constantly ON and it updates info every hour. But when it wants to update i always get an pop-up window from my E61 asking me to what i want to connect, I set the SmartConnect AP to primary in Internet setting it is set as primary in weather program, but still ... When i want to connect with my browser it's the same. Always pop-up window. So i always have to chose what to connect trough insted SmartConnect would do it for me. What da hell?!?!? >:(

Anonymous said...

Has anyone successfully used this on Nokia 5800? It installs fine and wants to work but i keep getting a message stating " your safemove licence is not activated"

I think its because the 5800 isn't on the list of supported phones but there must be a way to get around it

Anonymous said...

Been trying to get this working on my Nokia E72.

Short answer: forget it.

Long answer: It's utterly broken. It simply will not connect an app to any access point on the list, even though the access points may be ready and waiting for use. And worst of all, it also blocks any other app from getting to any other access point whilst DumbConnect is pissing around and not doing anything. It seems like the E72 can only make one connection at a time, and if one of those connections (i.e. DumbConnect) locks up then you're SOL.

Graham.

Anonymous said...

hello i have installed smart connect on my nokia e71 but it is not showing symvpn created access point to add in the group.
Please help
Askarali

Anonymous said...

i hve installed smart connect on my nokia e71 but it doesnt show the accesspoint created by symvpn
Pls hesp mmari2007@rediffmail.com

Anonymous said...

I have SmartConnect installed on Nokia N82 with a couple of WiFi points and Orange cell network with WiFi taking priority. It works happily automatically retriving email via WiFi in or out of range of Orange. But if I want to instigate a connection e.g. to retrive an email attachment etc. it won't allow a wifi connection unless it can see Orange. When trying this I receive "unable to connect, no network coverage" Move the N82 into range of Orange it works as expected and connects via WiFi!! ChrisB

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