Tethered connection Limiter


#1

This is more of a feature request for PureOS. It would be great if connections could be identified as a tethered or hot spot connection. Once the connection has been identified connection will be reduced. This would prevent email clients from trying to sync, and from background apt update processes from running.

This would be similar to how Windows 10 handles tethered connections.

This would be great for me, as I’m using my L13 on lunch breaks to do work through a tethered hot spot. I notice that I use loads of data with PureOS, and a fraction of it with a Surface Go.

I’d like to use the L13 more but I can’t have my data being consumed so quickly.

I would be appreciative of any possible solutions people are already using, and would like to request this feature be considered for inclusion with PureOS.


#2

Actually, what is it that eats your bandwidth?

I think the first step in that direction would be something like a metered connection signal via DBus.
:thinking:
Me: “Alexa, is this a thing?”
Alexa: Yes. Look here and here.
Me: Oh, wow. Thanks. I still don’t like you.

Next, some applications should probably make use of it.
Possibly you can already hack something with above info!?

However, I think this would need a fine-grained control, as not everybody has the same needs.
Examples:
When on metered-connection …

  • look for updates: as usual | disable | once a week
  • check mails | as usual | disable | only fetch headers | only fetch headers, once per hour
  • disable automatic loading of graphics in browser

#3

Yes.

@2disbetter hasn’t said what the actual download limit is, ballpark figure.

For my money, the only possible change would be that when on a limited connection, go easy on the software updates. I though only fetching headers for email and not loading graphics in the browser went out with dialup. :slight_smile: I couldn’t even find whether Firefox still has that setting.

When I’m on the road, using a mobile internet connection, I don’t bother to change any settings - but that may be because there is no easy way of getting that change automatically.


#4

Well, you know… you can end up in stupid situations. Like me, having no landline for more than a year now and paying €15 / 6GB.

I’m looking at you, 5-MegaByte-Teaser-Pictures on Purism News.
This particular one is from Mirrors for Speedier Downloads.
The irony…

Another nice browser setting would be “default to 240p video”.

hidden in about:config


#5

I suspect my data drainer is background apt updates, it could also be a few syncing services. The point isn’t that I can’t go and just pause these while out and about, it is just that it messes up workflow.

I’m using remote desktop (vnc) a bunch, and I’ve found that the client uses data sparingly and I’m impressed by it. No way around that drain as it is how the work is really getting done.

I’ll do a bit more digging and see what is actually using the data so aggressively.

Still having this as a feature under Wi-Fi settings would be nice.


#6

Quite common in Android. But for me it did never work the way I expected. I started using Afwall+ to stop outgoing connections and just allow the services I wanted. Since it has profiles I could switch easily.

I write this, because maybe there is a way to use something similar in Linux: You could make up different firewall configurations that get activated by an ifup/ifdown script depending on the connection name.

Also you could tinker application settings to silence applications, you could stop services as the update service, etc. pp.

It is not a ready to go solution, but if you’d already use some firewall script that would allow you to load different configurations it would be a good start to make one configuration including outgoing rules that only allow what you really want and load that configuration automatically while connected to your mobile hotspot.


#7

Absolutely! Once again, I wasn’t trying to say there isn’t a way to do what I’d like already. I was just suggesting since PureOS is the Purism OS, that it might be nice and a bit more feature complete to have a built in GUI based method for accomplishing this.


#8

The key point from @Caliga above though is that until a user knows what to enable / disable, even if you had a GUI for it, you might not successfully use it.

So let’s have nice GUI traffic categorisation first. Even then, it may be difficult for an operating system or a user to know what component of the system is causing the traffic to occur.


#9

I think it’s several points. “Make a option for this” is the least.
Apparently, the base functionality (to signal apps to restrict data usage) is already there.
The main next step would be to identify apps that should cooperate with (listen to) those signals (and possibly improve them).

Then, have a nice UI-toggle for it.
Additionally, have a centralized settings page where you can fine-tune what you expect to happen when in reduced-data-mode.

@2disbetter: Btw, unless you’re automatically installing all updates (instead of just fetching meta-data) I doubt this is your main data drain. That should only be a few megs a day. Less than looking at Purism’s news page once a day (sadly…).
Maybe you should monitor it for a while.


#10

https://teams.pages.gitlab.gnome.org/Design/web-experiments/settings/wifi/ shows a Metered connection switch, under the Wi-Fi connection configuration screen, but it probably does as much as the Wi-Fi Calling option under Cellular, which is nothing. Some people are thinking about it, we just need more people to implement the backend.