It would be nice to have 3G (or better) connection everywhere, but frankly that’s not going to happen any time soon (sorry, road warriors of the Appalachian Trail).  Most frustrating of all is when you are in a “marginal area”.  One of those zones where you get just enough high speed coverage to tempt your phone to connect but never quite enough for it to give up and use older, slower networks with wider coverage.

You can over ride this temporarily on Android by going to Settings | Wireless and Network | Mobile Networks.  From there, check the box labeled “Use only 2G network” (sometimes known as EDGE).  You will have to wait while your phone establishes this new data connection (watch for the appropriate signal bars to appear).

While this is significantly slower than 3G it can avoid the frustration of constantly cycling of drop/connect, drop/connect data services until you are in an area with more robust coverage. It can also be a real life saver when you just need some vital data (navigation, mapping, quick message or email), but I wouldn’t want to have to rely on it for streaming video or audio.

As an added bonus, 2G connections generally use much less power, extending battery life quite a bit.  Just remember to un-check this option when you are back in the “Promised Land of High Speed Mobile Data”.  :-)