by Don Bradner
hnFAP-Alert is a utility for Hughes users, which takes advantage of the FAP information that is contained within the Hughes modem. The program assumes a 7000 (either hn7000s or DW7000), but 9000 users can use the utility by changing the modem setting on the Configure screen.
The program can produce a red screen at a preset Alert level, and turn off the computer's internet connection at a preset Break level.
The default screen is full-screen, but can be resized and moved as desired. It will remember its position for the future. To move it, left-click and drag anywhere on the window.
A tone can be sounded when the window is displayed in an alert condition. Tone pitch is configurable.
The program runs as a system tray icon. Right-click the icon and select the configure menu item to choose MB or %, and to turn on or adjust the tone.
Right-click and choose Show to display the window to configure its size/location. There is a Hide button on the lower right of the screen when you are done. When the window is visible the right-click menu includes an "Always on Top" option; this is useful if you want to resize to a smaller window and have it show up while other programs are onscreen.
After downloading and installing the program the first thing you will want to do is configure the options. Below is the configure dialog, and each item is explained below that.
Use Megabytes / Use Percentages
This determines whether the program displays MB or %, and whether Alerts and Breaks occur based on MB or %. If for example you have a plan that allows 375MB per day, and you have a full allowance available, the icon will show 375 if you choose MB and 100 if you choose percentages.
By default the program checks the FAP values in the modem every 15 seconds, but this can be adjusted if you find this is somehow a problem.
The alert function (on by default) will display a red screen whenever your remaining allowance falls below either the set number of MB, or the set percentage of your daily allowance. Optionally you can have a tone sound when the alert is activated. Note: the Adjust Tone Pitch slider is only shown when you click the Test/Adjust button.
This option is designed to turn off the internet connection when the threshold is reached. It does so by releasing the DHCP lease on the network adapter. It will only work on an adapter that has DHCP enabled, meaning the IP address is automatically assigned. When you check this box the options to Choose Connection and Restore Connection After will become visible. It is very important that you select the correct adapter - if you choose the wrong one it won't hurt your computer, but it also won't properly break the connection. If in doubt, try setting a break level that is just 1MB below your current reading, and see if the connection breaks properly when you hit it.
Normally the Break threshold should be set close to FAP levels, but not too low - there is often a few MegaBytes of "overshoot" as the number is dropping.
Restore Connection After is the amount of minutes the program will wait before it restores the connection. Recommendations for this value are different for 7000 and 9000 users. The 7000 still has a "bucket refill" rate, so setting a value like 60, or 100 minutes will give you some cushion to keep using your internet connection. The 9000 resets completely once per day, so setting a low number (as low as zero) will cause the connection to keep restoring/checking frequently, and stay alive as soon as the allowance is restored.
The Manual Restore button will only appear when the connection is broken. If you click it, the connection will be restored and the Break will not occur again unless you exit and restart the program. It is a fairly drastic move to restore when you are nearly in FAP, but if you absolutely need the connection for something this option is available to you.
The break function has been tested thoroughly, and should work without problems. If some unforeseen circumstance causes the restore to fail you can always get it back by rebooting your computer. If you are comfortable doing things with your network connections there are other normal ways to restore a connection, but if you don't know them a reboot is probably best. It is unlikely to be needed.
Some hnFAP-Alert users have asked for the ability to run custom programs or scripts at specified alert levels. An example would be a script to shut down a router, thus killing the internet connection for all users on the network from one control computer. Such a script would need to be unique for a specific router if that router has such a capability.
Custom alerts can be triggered when the MB remaining are falling, or when they rise.
The program starts with the assumption that you are using a 7000-series modem. If you are a 9000 user you will need to choose that modem type.
Start when Windows starts
This option adds the program to the Registry hey HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. Unchecking it will remove that entry.
Download this free program using this link.
About the author: Don is a semi-retired pet shop owner and long-time programmer who runs this site for the fun of it.