I have been using ZorinOS for quite a few years now. One of the biggest pain points deals with the WIFI dialog. Often, I will switch to using a mobile hotspot when a given WIFI signal is causing some degradation of my viewing experience.
The problem is that after switching on my mobile hotspot, it usually takes a very long time before my mobile hotspot is displayed within the WIFI dialog. This longer wait time is the defacto experience for me.
I have always wondered if there was a way to refresh the WIFI dialog box so that it searches for new connections. On Windows, I thought I also had the ability to connect to a "hidden" connection. This would allow me to search for my mobile hotspot name (SSID) and connect to it before the connection is displayed in the WIFI dialog.
As long as you have connected to that hotspot before, Zorin OS should automatically connect if it finds that connection is stronger than your current one. If they match in wavelength, it will not switch.
Also, your mobile hotspot could just be weak. Are you using it from a phone? Or is it a dedicated mobile device? Is it charged fully, if it is battery-reliant?
(I had to delete most of my response. I will not be claiming the below covers 100% of the issue, but probably a large portion; I believe I had similar connection issues with my previous phone)
Wow, I just noticed that, on my phone, while the Mobile Hotspot and Mobile Data buttons are separated from each other (vertically oriented), the Mobile Data button moves to the location of the Mobile Hotspot button and shifts the hotspot button over one location (horizontally oriented); which causes me to click the Mobile Data button when I think I am clicking the Mobile Hotspot button.
This probably means this is more of a UX-issue for both my phone and ZorinOS. For my phone, I just moved the buttons around to fix the phone's UX issue. It makes a lot of sense in hindsight why ZorinOS wasn't finding my hotspot (for probably many of the times, the hotspot probably wasn't even enabled until I fiddled with it after a while of annoyance).
I still see this as a UX issue for ZorinOS as there is no user-initiated, alternative method to acknowledge an update (refresh button) or to acknowledge the existence of a hidden connection. I know Ubuntu had a refresh button, and this could short-circuit the annoying waiting time. I would have discovered the issue sooner -- each time.
As for auto-connecting, I haven't seen it auto-connect to my hotspot ever. Right now my mobile hotspot is of excellent quality, and the cafe's WIFI is of good quality. Right now, I have my phone connected to a charger while at 100%.
If you go to Settings -> Wi-Fi, click on the three dots at the top and you should have there the option to connect to a hidden network. Maybe this helps?
Yeah, I've seen that functionality buried within settings. Also, there are probably some commands I could type that do this. But those aren't UX-aware and not the places to look when you are waiting for your hotspot to appear in the list. It would be great if there was some way to bring that forward to the WIFI Select Network Dialog box.
Windows and Ubuntu at least have the refresh button in a UX-aware location; so it's surprising that ZorinOS removed that functionality.
It would be great if ZorinOS could have a 3-dot menu or search field within the WIFI Select Network Dialog box to allow for hidden network connections.
I wouldn't say this has been buried. It's a useful feature, but not very common to reach for.
In any case, the refresh button would be welcome. I've noticed in recent versions of Gnome that when you open the settings menu there's a loading indicator:
But sometimes it loads for an unusually long time and it's a bit frustrating when you need to switch to another network. For example when I'm right in the middle between two strong signals and I need to switch to another one....
In the meanwhile, a workaround is disabling and enabling Wi-Fi whenever you want to switch to a better connection. You turn off Wi-Fi and then turn it on once you enabled your mobile hotspot, this way you make a kind of manual refresh and you'll connect to the best connection available that you already connected to previously in possibly fewer time than waiting. Not so “smart” though, it's quite weird, I know . We need to know a command to enter or file to edit to change the actual Wi-Fi refresh rate to a custom one, this would do the trick.
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