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Thread: Motorola Droid on Pageplus Guide - Getting the Most of Your Limited Data

  1. #1
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    Motorola Droid on Pageplus Guide - Getting the Most of Your Limited Data

    Just thought I'd share my Moto Droid on PagePlus Settings. I've seen a few people asking about making the data last, getting mms, etc. Feel free to move this thread if needed.

    I'm on the Tnt 1200 plan, so I get 50mb of Data. Using this setup, this lasts me a month and I usually have 10mb or so leftover at end of cycle. I browse 30-50 web pages a day, send 500-1000 additional texts (over my 1200 allotment), and send/receive 10-20 MMS messages a month. If you have the Unlimited Plan, with 20mb of data, everything here will work, but you will definitely have to be more selective with your browsing habits. I was waffling between the plans when I first activated with Pageplus, mainly the issue was needing more than 1200 texts, but wanting more than 20mb of data. Using this setup, I am able to do all I need with the TnT plan.

    Nothing groundbreaking here, I know some of you are already running your Droid similar to this, but it is a nice combo of settings that works well with PP. Any suggestions are welcome, I will add them to this guide.

    This should work for most phones on Android as well. Some settings may be different.

    Summary

    Root Droid
    Install Droidwall
    Install Apps:
    -AdFree Android
    -Google Voice
    -Handcent SMS
    -Opera Mini
    -Copilot Live
    Selectively Enable App 3g Access Using Droidwall


    Ok, lets get started!


    Rooting Your Droid

    First thing, you should be running Android 2.2 or higher (Froyo). You can check this by going to Settings - About Phone, then look at the bottom under Android version. If you are absolutely stubborn, versions 2.1 and lower will probably work for most of this guide, but be aware you may get some data leaks (applications sucking up your precious data in the background).

    Next, root your droid. Sounds difficult, but it's very easy to do, and difficult to brick (screw up permanently) with the methods available now. These phones are nearing the end of their life cycle now, sell for around $150 on ebay and craigslist, so there is very little reason to not root. This takes around 5 minutes. Guide to root your droid -> here

    (Optional) Load a rom (Simplified, basically this means your phones operating system). If you are satisfied with your current Android interface, there is no reason you need to do this. Everything else in this guide will still work fine without loading a new rom, so don't feel obliged to do this. I prefer to run Liquid Frozen Yogurt 1.95, which is very fast and stable. MIUI rom is also very nice, if you are into iOS-type interface, along with BB, and UD roms. I won't go into the all the steps to do this, but you can find all the info you want -> here
    Other recommendations if you switch your rom. A kernel that supports iptables is necessary (Kernel supports processor and hardware functions). Basically, this means, either run the stock kernel, ChevyNo1, or Slayher kernel. Others may work, but these will definitely work with Droidwall (see below). If your rom does not support overclocking, I would recommend getting SetCPU from the market as well, for added performance.


    Install Droidwall

    Now your droid is rooted, and possibly have a new rom.
    You should make sure you are on a Wifi network now, and disable Mobile Data to be safe (Settings->Wireless and Networks->Mobile Networks->Uncheck Data Enabled).

    Droidwall
    This will block any applications you select over 3g and/or Wifi. Go to Market, and search for Droidwall. Download the version by Jesse C (this has been more stable in my experience). Go ahead and launch the program. You will see two lists of check boxes. The list on the left is applications allowed over Wifi, the list on right is applications allowed over 3g/1x. Check the very top left box to allow all apps over Wifi, and ensure that nothing is checked on the right list. Hit menu button, make sure Firewall is enabled is green, and select Apply Rules. SuperUser Request box will pop up. Select Allow, and make sure remember is checked.


    Install Apps

    We want to install our apps now. If you already have some of these, you can skip, but I recommend upgrading to latest versions. All can be obtained on the market.

    AdFree Android
    This basically is a system wide Ad blocking program. I like to run this first to preemptively block any ads for programs you may download. This also prevents any programs you may enable over 3g from downloading ads in the background. Install, run. Superuser Request box will pop up. Select Allow. When program comes up, select Download and Install Hosts. Sucess! should pop up, and you are good to go. Note this will block ads over Wifi and 3g. If you ever need to unblock ads for some reason, go back to the program and click Revert.

    Google Voice
    This allows you to send texts over Wifi for free, and 3g using data instead of texts. You will need to sign up for a GV number. You may be able to find an available one in your area code. Uses fairly limited data. I use this to text when I am home over Wifi, or at work. When on 3g, I send 500-1000 messages a month using this in addition to my normal text allotment (1200). Disadvantages are when on 3g, typically updates every 10-15 minutes, unless you manually refresh (refresh button on main Google Voice screen), so not good for time sensitive messages. Also you cannot send MMS. Data used varies, but in my tests about 1000 messages over a month uses 10-15 mb of data, and of course you can send as many as you want over Wifi.

    Handcent SMS
    A good messaging app in general. Compresses sent MMS messages to limit data. Once installed, open Handcent, Menu button -> Settings, Send Message Settings, select Maximum MMS size, then select 100k. Now back to Send Message settings menu, enable Prevent Resend, and enable Auto resize picture. Go back to settings, now to Recieve Message settings. Make sure Auto-retrieve is not checked, unless you want to automatically download every single message (remember people sending you messages possibly are not compressing them at all, they could be 1mb+, so this way you can only download messages you choose to download).

    Opera Mini (make sure you get Mini and not Mobile)
    Very low data usage web browser. Accomplishes this by compressing the data through Operas servers and then sending to your phone. Launch after you install, select menu button (lower right wrench icon on menu bar) -> Settings. For maximum data efficiency, I recommend turning Load Images to Off. If you do want to enable this, make sure you set Image Quality to low. With Load Images off, a typical webpage can use as low as 5-10kb. With Images enabled, can be anywhere from 30-100kb. Occasionally you'll encounter a site that you need images to use. You can always go back to menu and reenable images temporarily. Opera Mini will serve as your main web browser over 3g. Once you have your bookmarks set, and passwords remembered, it works quite smoothly. I normally browse 30-50 webpages a day over 3g, Facebook, check email, etc, this typically uses 25mb of data a month for me just for web browsing.

    CoPilot Live
    Map application that doesn't use data. Stores maps offline on your SD card. Costs $19.99 for North American maps version, 2gb required on your card. Not the best pure mapping application out there, more of a GPS type app, but still the best offline navigation app. US Maps are good and complete, Canada maps not so much.

    VoIP Options
    If 1200 minutes aren't enough for you (assuming you are on TnT plan), there are a couple of options that you can use over Wifi. Skype being the first and obvious choice. This has somewhat recently been updated to enable calling over Wifi. Note that you need Skype, not Skype mobile (this calls using your minutes through Verizon). Unfortunately Skype is a buggy and bloated app. A better alternative, though more complicated is using SIPdroid along with Google Voice. I won't go into details here. Setup can be sketchy and may not be worth your time, but it is an option. A guide can be found -> here.


    Enabling Apps Over 3g

    Now that we have all of our apps installed, we need to enable internet over 3g for the apps we want. Launch Droidwall, and we will be selecting Apps on the 3g List (list of checkboxes on the right). Make sure you are checking in the list on the right.

    Check the following:
    Google Voice
    Handcent SMS
    Messaging (even though you use Handcent, this is required for Send/Recieve MMS)
    Opera Mini
    Any additional applications you want to enable over 3g. Just remember you are letting these apps use your data while on 3g. Don't enable Pandora radio and be surprised that it uses all your data in 10 minutes. Facebook, Youtube, Email, Maps, etc will all suck up your data VERY quickly.

    Again make sure Any application check box is selected ONLY in the list on the left (Apps enabled over Wifi). Hit menu, again ensure Firewall is enabled is green, and select Apply rules. You should see Rules applied with success at the bottom.

    Remember at first we turned off mobile data in settings? Even though we have Droidwall setup correctly, that turns off ALL mobile data period. So we need to enable this again, and then Droidwall takes over. From home screen hit menu->settings->Wireless and networks->Mobile networks and check Data enabled.


    Test it Out!

    OK, everything should be all setup! Let's test it out!
    Turn off Wifi.
    Make sure you have 3g icon at the top.
    Open browser (the normal android browser), and do a google search. Web page not available should show up. If the web page loads, you need to recheck your Droidwall settings.
    Now let's check your 3g Internet. Load up Opera Mini and load a web page. Everything should load fine.
    Open Google Voice and send a text from your GV number to your phone number. Go through? Good.
    Lastly check your MMS. Send a picture or get someone to send one to you. Should go through fine.

    Let's do one last thing. Reenable wifi. Go back to home screen->Menu->Settings->Wireless and Networks->Wifi settings->Menu->Advanced->Wi-Fi sleep policy. Select Never. This ensures anytime you have Wifi access that you can use all your Data intensive apps, without Wifi constantly switching on and off when your phone is asleep. Remember, when Wifi is on, ALL of your apps that need internet will have access, when 3g is on, only those few apps that you select will have access to the Internet. This makes sure no additional 3g data gets used, say you get a Google Voice text message while your screen is off, and you have Wifi, it will receive the text over Wifi instead of 3g (because your screen would be off, it would normally automatically switch to 3g, but because sleep policy is set to never, Wifi will always stay on), saving you a few kb's of data.

    You are all set!

    Doing things this way is definitely a compromise if you are away from Wifi most of the time, but in my opinion worth it, as I can get 4 months of service for what I was paying for just 1 with Verizon.

    Any suggestions or questions are welcome! Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
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    Very nice guide! Good work! I like that you not just explain what to do, but that you also explain "why".

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    I'm not an Android user, but couldn't resist reading the whole thing. Very nice writeup!!!
    How is it that we give up houses, businesses and bank accounts when we want a divorce but can't part with a couple of hundred bucks to find cellphone bliss?

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    Thanks very much for the great write up. I have a Droid Eris I just bought, and I'm trying to figure out how to manage data use on it. I may have to try your rooting instructions to go up to Android 2.2 and be able to use Droidwall. Currently, whenever I enable data for one thing, a bunch of other background tasks start using data too. I'm chicken to do it though. I'm technically challenged with these things.

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    I looked up CoPilot Live, and it looks like it's only $4.99 now. Looks like a no-brainer to me. Thanks OP!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jake14mw View Post
    I looked up CoPilot Live, and it looks like it's only $4.99 now. Looks like a no-brainer to me. Thanks OP!
    The $4.99 version is USA maps. The pricier version is North America maps.

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    Five stars for the low data Droid info. If I was brave enough, I would follow this to the letter. This will save alot of ppc users alot of money.
    I request this be moved to the Wiki or sticky.
    vx6000>enV>dare>droid x

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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I will try and do a step by step guide to root soon with pictures. Also, I didn't mention anything about data monitors, as they seem to hog resources and not exactly be accurate. I've never gone over my data before so it hasn't been much of a concern, but they do exist, if you felt the need to use one.

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    Ummm...I would kiss you if I could!! Perfect write up for the technology challenged!

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    I wonder if the rooting link OP mentioned works with Droid X.

    Someone questioned in that thread whether it would, and another replied it would NOT work with the Droid X.

    Not sure about trying Soup or Root on my DX..
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alster View Post
    I wonder if the rooting link OP mentioned works with Droid X.

    Someone questioned in that thread whether it would, and another replied it would NOT work with the Droid X.

    Not sure about trying Soup or Root on my DX..
    ?
    Correct, Souporroot only works for D1.
    This roots pretty much everything else directly from your phone -> z4root
    App is no longer available from market, so you'll have to sign up and load it manually.

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    Thanks! Got at the same time you were posting this!

    Found a less lengthy discussion about it http://androidforums.com/droid-x-all-things-root/212293-1-click-root-app-market.html

    All set.

    The rest of OP write should be good for any droid phones I suppose

    Thanks again!

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    i thought google voice pushed texts over 3g? currently i have my gv set up so that whenever i get a text to my gv#, it gets forwarded as a text to my phone, and it seems that i receive my text within secs of it being sent instead of 10-15mins later?

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    Quote Originally Posted by exyouen View Post
    i thought google voice pushed texts over 3g? currently i have my gv set up so that whenever i get a text to my gv#, it gets forwarded as a text to my phone, and it seems that i receive my text within secs of it being sent instead of 10-15mins later?
    That's it right there. Therefore, you get charged by PP for a regular text message (depending on your PP plan of course.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by alster View Post
    That's it right there. Therefore, you get charged by PP for a regular text message (depending on your PP plan of course.)
    my post made no sense i apologize.
    i know i'm being charged for the forwarded text by pageplus, but with the gv app installed, i actually receive the same text twice -- once directly from the gv app notification, and once when it's forwarded to my phone via pp. what i meant to say is that those two texts usually arrive simultaneously instead of there being a lag (ie i get the forwarded version first, and then 10 mins later when gv app checks for new messages, i get the original)

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