Windows 10 Setup to Access Android ConnectedSMB Servers

Introduction

Windows computers require some configuration before you are able to access files stored on an Android device and running the ConnectedSMB app. This configuration will create a network presence for your Android device within your Windows computer. You will need to create one of these presences for each Android device you will access. For the sake of this discussion, this presence will be called a “proxy”.

Our investigation of this procedure was helped by a Web Posting we discovered that is used to mounting a directory over SSH. We’ve modified this procedure for the configuring Windows 10 to interoperate with our ConnectedSMB for Android product but we’ve provided the link for your reference.

Define the Configuration

The first step is to define the configuration.

Select a Proxy Network

A proxy network is a virtual network that does not exist outside of the Windows PC. A network is defined by an IP address and a network mask. So, we want to select an IP address and network mask for our proxy network.

The easiest way to do that is to simply accept the address and mask we recommend. Although we can guarantee our address and mask will not conflict with addresses outside your home or business, we cannot guarantee that it won’t conflict with your other home or business networks. So it is possible you will need to come up with an alternative address.

Default Proxy Network Address and Mask

By default, the proxy network allows up to 254 Android devices and is defined with a network address of 192.168.150.0 and a mask of 255.255.255.0. This is not typically an address that is used by home routers.

Alternative Proxy Network Address and Masks

The address and mask we choose is somewhat arbitrary but we want it to be unique from your view of the internet. The internet is designed using the concept of a private and public address space. You are assured that no address in the private space exists on the internet. So if we need to select an alternate proxy network, we should limit our candidates to those in this private addess range.

The private IPv4 address space is documented here

You can see from the table in the above link, that there are actually three address regions that differ by their network masks. This difference allows the definition of networks that vary in the number of devices that can coexist on them. So the first question we need to answer is how many Android devices do we want to exist on this proxy network. An address in the Class C range will support up to 254 devices. A Class B address will support up to 65 thousand devices and a Class C address will support more than 16 million devices. Choose the class that’s right for you. Our default is a Class C address so if you follow our defaults, the configuration will support up to 254 devices.

Any address you choose is valid. If you find that after configuring an address, you can no longer access a computer within your home or business, double check that that computer’s IP address subnet does not conflict with the one you chose.

Assinging IDs to Each Device

IDs are assigned starting at 1 and increasing for the number of devices supported by the network address and mask you chose in the previous step. IDs for devices in the default network and all Class C networks are in the range 1 to 254. So, assign 1 to the first device, 2 to the second and so on until all devices have an ID.

Create Proxy IP Address

The devices proxy IP address is simply a combination of the proxy network address and the device id. Simply replace the 0 numbers in the network address with the device id. For Class B networks, the device id portion of the IP address will be in the range 0.1 to 255.254. For Class A networks, the device id portion will be between 0.0.1 to 255.255.254.

Finding the Device’s IP Address

The help document for using Connected SMB describes the “Settings” dialog box. You should follow that document and walkthrough for enabling the server on the Android device. You should also note the IP address assigned to the phone and is available as an informational field in the Settings Dialog box.

To see the Android device’s IP address, from within the ConnectedSMB application on the Android device select the “menu” icon in the top right of the Connected SMB Storage Provider window (the icon with three vertical dots). Click on the menu items for “Settings”.

There will be two informational fields and five configurable fields shown. The two information fields will be the device name and its IP address. Note the IP address. You will add it to the proxy configuration table later on.

Proxy Configuration Table

To help you manage the proxy network configuration, we present the following table template:

Network Address: ___.___.___.___   
Network Mask:    ___.___.___.___   
Device ID Proxy IP Address Device IP Address Name
(1 .. max) xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx xxx.xxx.xxx.xxxx friendly_name

For example, the proxy configuration table for a network with 3 devices using the default proxy network address and mask would be:

Network Address: 192.168.150.0   
Network Mask:    255.255.255.0   
Device ID Proxy IP Address Device IP Address Name
(1 .. max) xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx xxx.xxx.xxx.xxxx friendly_name
1 192.168.150.1 192.168.1.110 dads
2 192.168.150.2 192.168.1.65 moms
3 192.168.150.3 192.168.1.98 sons
4 192.168.150.4 192.168.1.103 daughters

You will use this proxy network table in the following section.

Modifying Windows File Service Startup

A minor change needs to be made to the startup sequencing of windows services so that we can create interfaces for the proxy network that do not get bound to the Windows file sharing service.

Click inside the search box on the taskbar and type “services”. The Services utility (Services) should be highlighted in the results. Run the command by clicking on the highlighted result. The search results and Services command will appear as in the following screenshot

Run Services
Run Services

This will bring up the Services configuration utility with a list of services and descriptions in main window pane. Scroll down the list of services until you see “Server”. Right click on the “Server” service and select “Properties”

Server Service
Server Service

This will bring up the “Server Properties” screen. Select the pulldown for Startup Type and select “Automatic (Delayed Start)”

Server Properties
Server Properties

Then click “OK”

You can now close the “Services” window.

Adding Virtual Network Interfaces

Each device you have defined in the proxy configuration table needs to have a virtual network interface (VNI) configured in your Windows PC.
Microsoft Windows uses the term “Looback Driver” as the equivalent of a VNI. We will configure a VNI for each device and it will be defined using the IP address and mask in the proxy table. There are a few steps for adding a VNI: 1) adding a VNI device, 2) Naming the Android Device 3) Configuring the VNI’s IP address, mask and other interface details, and 4) Associating the Device with the VNI, Run these steps for each Android device you wish to add.

Adding a VNI device

You will add a VNI device using the Windows Add Hardware Wizard.

Click inside the search box on the taskbar and type “hdwwiz”. The Add Hardware Wizard utility (hdwwiz) should be highlighted in the results. Run the command by clicking on the highlighted result. The search results and hdwwiz command will appear as in the following screenshot