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Posted Nov 4, 2012
12:12:05 PM
Is the MicroCell Service Down?

Around mid-morning on November 1, my MicroCell went offline and has not been able to connect since. Everything else on my network is behaving normally and I've had no interruption in my Internet service. So, I was wondering if someone might know if there's a problem with the service in general? Perhaps something weather-related? If not, is there a way I can verify that my device is ironies not malfunctioning?

 

Thanks!

 

Charlie

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Dec 7, 2012 12:10:38 PM
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ACE - Master

@joelsplace:

 

Here's the link to the MicroCell Troubleshooing Guide. It may help:

 

http://www.wireless.att.com/media/en_US/swf/3Gmicrocell/ATT3GMicroCell-Troubleshooting.pdf

 

To answer some of your questions, the blinking red 3G light means that there is a hardware failure. Either due to a real failure or, more likely, it was an update by AT&T and when the MicroCell tried to reset itself, the reset failed so the MicroCell "thinks" it's a hardware failure. A hard reset (using the reset button on the back, held down for 30 seconds) sometimes will clear the problem. A blinking green 3G light can have multiple causes. If the internet light is green and solid, you have internet connection which means the MicroCell has been assigned an IP address. Four main lights, Power, Internet, GPS, and 3G all have to be solid green.

 

Yes, a router is a switch in a sense. But if  you have a another ethernet switch between the router and the MicroCell (to make more ethernet ports available to your LAN) you may encounter problems. The MicroCell is really finicky and doesn't like anything between it and the internet. Security issues? I don't know. You can try priorty setup which is used mainly for troubleshooting but some folks find that works best for them. Priority is: modem  -> MicroCell -> router. That basically takes the router out of the chain and connects the MicroCell directly to the internet. The modem has to be in bridge mode either way so that all it does is pass traffic. All of the routing and firewalling needs to be handled by the router. You may even had to do port forwarding to a static assigned IP address for the MicroCell based on its MAC address. That's what I do with my Apple Extreme Base Station.

 

The MicroCell is a totally closed system with no access at all except by AT&T. As a side note, if you try to take the MicroCell apart, there are activation clips inside and if one comes loose, it will pernamently disable the MicroCell. I've seen reports where a cat knocked over the MicroCell onto a hard floor loosening one of the clips and bricking the MicroCell. If it rattles, it probably won't work.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
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Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 8:17:34 AM
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ACE - Master

The "service" doesn't go down in that sense of the word, unless it is weather related due to towers being out in your area. What is the light pattern on the MicroCell? Is the 3G light blinking red or green? Is the GPS light green, etc?

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 8:31:22 AM
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Explorer

Power, Internet and GPS lights are on steady green, the bottom light that looks like bars (is that called the 3G light?) is flashing green as if the box were trying to make a connection but is not able to. All other Internet services appear to be normal, there is no abnormal upload or download traffic. The MicroCell box has a valid IP address via DHCP.

 

I guess I don't understand what this has to do with cell towers in my area. The reason I have the MicroCell is because I can't "see" any actual cell towers from my house.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 10:51:46 AM
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ACE - Master

The MicroCell uses your internet connection to "find" a tower in your area so that you can make cellular calls. A blinking green 3G light means that it can't establish a connection to a nearby AT&T tower. There may have been an update to the MicroCell in the middle of the night causing you to lose connection. Power cycle your system (MicroCell, router, modem) and see if that works. If not, try a priority setup: modem ->MicroCell -> router. That puts the MicroCell ahead of your router to eliminate any issues that may be router related.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 12:31:12 PM
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Explorer

Thanks for the info! I've been power-cycling regularly, so I guess that's not the solution. I'll try the alternate configuration when I get home later and see how that goes, but since nothing has changed with my router, and everything has been fine for over a year, I'm not sure that will make a difference. Worth a try, though. The only other thing I can think of is that my ISP may have installed some sort of  filter to block this type of traffic.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 3:06:08 PM
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ACE - Master

This is the link for the MicroCell Troubleshooting Guide:

 

http://www.wireless.att.com/media/en_US/swf/3Gmicrocell/ATT3GMicroCell-Troubleshooting.pdf

 

You might want to see if your ISP is blocking any of the ports required for the MicroCell to work correctly. What has worked very well for me is to setup my router to port forward to an assigned static address for the MicroCell based on its MAC address.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 5:06:43 PM
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Explorer

Thanks for the link to the troubleshooting guide. I'll look that over this evening. I too used to reserve an IP address for the MAC address of the MicroCell but no longer needed that since I switched to a more modern modem.

 

And now, the MicroCell box is between the modem and router, so that's no longer relevent. Everything on my network is happy with that situation and all lights on the MicroCell are green, except the 3G light is still flashing after 30 minutes.

 

I'll check with my ISP to make sure they didn't change anything. Is there any way to know that the cell tower is able to respond? I'm way out in the country and I wouldn't be surprised that I'm the only MicroCell user in the area.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 6:35:49 PM
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ACE - Master

There is no way to tell which tower AT&T is going to use just like there isn't any way to run diagnostics on the MicroCell. It's a totally closed system. If priority mode doesn't work then that may indicate an issue with your ISP or how they have your modem configured. Reserving an IP address is a good thing to do especially if you combine that with port forwarding.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 6:41:45 PM
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Explorer

Thanks for that info! My ISP has been known to tinker with things without telling you, so I wouldn't be surprised that they've closed some ports. Of course, the fact that they also offer cell phone service and have a tower right across the road from my house might factor into the situation.

 

Since the MicroCell is now in front of the router, I can't forward ports or reserve addresses. The modem now serves up the addresses and is as closed as the MicroCell box.

 

I'll be sure to let you know what I find out.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 10:01:03 PM
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ACE - Master

Port forwarding to a static IP seems to work best in a lot of situations so depending on what you can find out from your ISP that be the way to go. However, if they are blocking some of the ports listed in the Troubleshooing guide you're screwed :smileyfrustrated:

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 5, 2012 10:30:01 PM
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Explorer

I do indeed have a static IP address, so that's good. I've sent an email detailing the ports and another settings required for the box to function. Hopefully they haven't changed anything, like policies regarding VOIP devices. If necessary, I'll move the box back to after the router, set up a reserved address and port forwarding for 4500 and 500. But, if they've done something on their end of the wire, that's bad, and they've locked down the modem so I can't tweak anything there. I await their response in the morning.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 8:48:01 AM
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ACE - Master

Locking down the modem could be an issue if it is defaulted to perform NAT duties. It if does, and you go back to the nominal setup (modem -> router -> MicroCell) make sure the the router is not performing NAT as well becuase you'll end up with a double NAT and the MicroCell won't work.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 8:58:08 AM
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Explorer

Yep... When they switched out the old modem (which was simply a bridge and required my router to have a fixed IP address on the WAN) for the new modem (which includes DHCP service) I found myself in a double-NAT situation. Everything still worked, and I had also reserved an IP address for the MicroCell, but I eventually fixed it so that all addresses came from the modem.

 

I don't have an issue with placing the MicroCell between the modem and the router. We have a fairly low-bandwidth connection and, with the MicroCell connected after the router, it would go offline if  any heavy uploading was taking place. I'm guessing that having it ahead of the router allows it some amount of flow control.

 

I haven't heard back from the ISP yet, but they won't even be in the office for another few minutes...

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 9:47:57 AM
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Explorer

OK! Here's the response I received from my ISP:

 

We've had a bunch of customers that suddenly had their AT&T MicroCell cut off late last week. These have been across multiple modem brands, and we haven't made any changes in our network that I'm aware of. We also note that customers with similar (identical?) devices from other cell carriers are NOT reporting a problem.

AT&T tech support has been quick to blame us for isolated MicroCell problems in the past, even when it's obvious from the lights flashing on the outside of the device that it's a GPS sync issue. We have also tried to work with their tech support on behalf of our customers and have been run around or simply hung up on.

We would be more than happy to have one here for testing, but unfortunately AT&T will only allow the specific devices to work in specific locations, which is corroborated w/ the on-board GPS. I had one customer who said he thought he could get AT&T to agree to relocate his MicroCell in our office. I don't know how helpful it might be but I'm willing to try if he can get back to us.

As of yesterday I had one savvy customer that had already done all of the port forwarding things in their standard trouble shooting guide as you mentioned, and still it didn't work, so he was getting the problem escalated with AT&T tech support. Supposedly the errors an AT&T tech was seeing from his end had something to do with power. ??? I also got wind that AT&T might be doing tower work trying to get 4G working in our area... which is a good thing, but I'm highly suspicious that they might have messed up a bunch of their devices in the process (MicroCell devices supposedly have to have at least a little tiny cell phone tower signal to work).

At this point I'm waiting to see what my one customer finds out via his escalated tech support discussion. Last night the final word was that they'd asked him to restart it or they were doing another location process that was going to take an hour or two. Hopefully I'll hear more later today from him.

If I can come up with any other angles from which I can investigate this I'll certainly be on it as soon as possible. In the meantime it appears we're stuck in the unfortunate and frustrating position of waiting for AT&T to troubleshoot the issue with our customers. This is currently my highest priority open support investigation, and you are now on my list of people to contact as soon as I hear of any progress, but if you discover anything before then PLEASE let me know.

You are also ALWAYS welcome to contact me with requests for updates. I know many people's cell reception is next to nothing in their home without this device working, and most of us count on our cell phones these days more than ever.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 12:30:36 PM
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ACE - Master

I do know that AT&T has been pushing an update since shortly after the new iPhones came out to take advantage of the new 4G (or what they call 4G) connection. That apparently did confuse some MicroCells for a period of time.

 

The power issue has been reported by some when they replaced the power adapter that came with the MicroCell for one that was not exactly the same power rating causing power issues, one of which was poor or no connectivity.

 

If you live in a rural area, AT&T's GPS database may not be current enough to locate you exactly. But that is usually indicated by a blinking GPS light. GPS issues can take a long time for AT&T to correct.

 

The blinking green 3G almost always means that the MicroCell can't connect to a tower so if AT&T is indeed messing with the tower that you connect to, that could be the issue.

 

What is your speed and what kind of connection do you have?

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 12:44:36 PM
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Explorer

I have an ADSL connection that's supposed to be up to 768kb, but rarely exceeds 500kb, and the QoS is poor, typically around 30%. However, the MicroCell has worked very well for over a year now, as long as there's not a lot of upstream traffic. When I monitor the data flow during a call, the MicroCell uses very little bandwidth. It's fine for one phone, but I doubt that more than one call could be placed at a time.

 

The GPS signal is good and we seem to be in the database, so I don't see that as a problem. I have not replaced the power supply. My ISP tells me that they've detected a sudden, significant drop in data volume going to 12.230.0.0/16 from all across the state, which may be another indicator of a firmware update gone wrong.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 12:55:47 PM
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Explorer

I just received the following information:

 

There seems to be traffic [from your modem] going to AT&T, but no response to the UDP port 4500 traffic. No surprise, but it looks like the VPN is failing for some reason; like the MicroCell is happy with the VPN but the AT&T side isn't. Either that or the VPN is not properly set up. The MicroCell is sending traffic to 4500 but getting nothing in response.

 

This seems consistent with the flashing 3G light and no connection being established.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 3:03:02 PM
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Contributor

We have 2 Microcells in our office building side by side. One is flashing 3G lights and one is working fine. This also began about 1 week ago, all attempts to power cycle have not worked either. We sit below a tower, but are told that our building doesn't get service....in fact the whole block doesn't get service. Very frustrating for the employees and our customers who can't reach us.


AT&T - please fix this issue.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 8:04:24 PM
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ACE - Master

CharlieSchorner wrote:

I have an ADSL connection that's supposed to be up to 768kb, but rarely exceeds 500kb, and the QoS is poor, typically around 30%. However, the MicroCell has worked very well for over a year now, as long as there's not a lot of upstream traffic. When I monitor the data flow during a call, the MicroCell uses very little bandwidth. It's fine for one phone, but I doubt that more than one call could be placed at a time.

 

The GPS signal is good and we seem to be in the database, so I don't see that as a problem. I have not replaced the power supply. My ISP tells me that they've detected a sudden, significant drop in data volume going to 12.230.0.0/16 from all across the state, which may be another indicator of a firmware update gone wrong.


You need to have at least a  1.5 MB upload speed (sustained) and my guess is that with the upgrade by AT&T for 4G you just don't have enough upload to handle it.

 

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 6, 2012 8:44:57 PM
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Explorer

Given the bandwidth measurements I've made during phone conversations I'd be amazed that the upstream requirement could be that heavy for voice data. I know that the 3G requirements were for four simultaneous calls. Also, the voice requirements shouldn't change because the data technology has changed. As I only have a 3G capable phone I wouldn't be utilizing the new technology anyway, and that's for in-use bandwidth. I'm not experiencing dropped calls or poor voice quality. The box won't even connect in the first place. And, if all that weren't enough, all of the other users across Washington state, even in places where they have solid 5MB service, have also mysteriously lost their connections at the same time, without warning. Are you telling me that you've pushed out an update that kills all of the boxes with no warning to make a 3G radio somehow magically 4G capable? That seems highly unlikely, but, if that's the case, the timing couldn't be better as our contracts have expired, our phones are over two years old and other carriers actually have functional cell towers that can be used at our home. I realize that you're exploring all possible angles, but your argument becomes less convincing as more people chime in with this problem. I understand that several other people who have been affected by this outage have managed to get the problem escalated to a level above mere speculation and some actual investigative work is underway. Although I appreciate your willingness to respond and inquire, I think that continuing to insist that there are problems with my network, equipment, setup and connection, and not make the vaguest attempt to inquire about possible problems on you end of the wire is no longer helpful. We've exhausted the standard troubleshooting script and have not arrived at a solution. I hope to hear that some actual investigative work is underway soon.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 7, 2012 9:08:13 AM
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ACE - Master

First of all, I do not work for AT&T in any capacity whatsoever. I've just had a MicroCell for a very long time and, like you, had some connectivity issues at first that were very frustrating. I worked thru them, with practically no help from AT&T support, and from help with some of the folks here. I've been trying ever since to repay the kindness and support that I received here by helping out wherever I can. That resulted in AT&T awarding me the ACE for contributions made and some solutions to common problems.

 

It is true that support will initially blame the ISP for connection issues but sometimes they are correct. I firmly believe that while the MicroCell is a great idea, and it does work for most people, it is a poorly implemented device with poor support.

 

The "4G upgrade" or whatever it was did in fact break a lot of MicroCells. Whether it actually broke something physically in the MicroCell or altered the way it communicates with some ISPs remains unknown. And I doubt if AT&T will ever truly know what it going on let alone tell us.

 

I recommend port forwarding to a static MicroCell IP address because that is the only way I could get mine to work realiably thru power outages, updates, power cycleing, etc. My connection is a sustained 20Mbps DSL line (1.0Mbps upload) with a static IP address. The router is an Apple Extreme Base Station and the only ethernet connected device is the MicroCell. All three devices, router, DSL gateway, and MicroCell are connected to an APC Battery Backup (model #BE550G). The MicroCell sits about 18" away from an unobstructed window and about 2' feet away from the router.

 

You can go to the blue envelope in the upper right hand portion of this page, click on it to get to the personal message page, click on New Messages, and send  your issues (including your setup detailed) to ATTCustomerSupport. That is something relatively new here and is supposed to go straight to support with a little more "personal" attention. I haven't used it yet so I can't tell you how effective it is. But it is another avenue to pursue.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 7, 2012 9:09:45 AM
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ACE - Master

Otto Pylot wrote:

CharlieSchorner wrote:

I have an ADSL connection that's supposed to be up to 768kb, but rarely exceeds 500kb, and the QoS is poor, typically around 30%. However, the MicroCell has worked very well for over a year now, as long as there's not a lot of upstream traffic. When I monitor the data flow during a call, the MicroCell uses very little bandwidth. It's fine for one phone, but I doubt that more than one call could be placed at a time.

 

The GPS signal is good and we seem to be in the database, so I don't see that as a problem. I have not replaced the power supply. My ISP tells me that they've detected a sudden, significant drop in data volume going to 12.230.0.0/16 from all across the state, which may be another indicator of a firmware update gone wrong.


You need to have at least a  1.5 MB upload speed (sustained) and my guess is that with the upgrade by AT&T for 4G you just don't have enough upload to handle it.

 


I'd like to correct that. I meant 1.5Mbps download speed. Sorry.

 

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 7, 2012 3:14:04 PM
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Teacher

Hi, this is a tech from Charlie's ISP chiming in....

 

There is a specific block of IP addresses that the MicroCells supposedly communicate with. After digging around with some inspection tools we were able to see that traffic to that group of IPs on Nov 1- when our customer's MicroCell devices were still working- was ~23Mb on port 4500. Then suddenly something just choked off and that same port was only running ~1.5Mb on the same 4500 port by Nov 5 when our customers started reporting problems.

 

This traffic is not being blocked, as we can still see the tiny little trickle going through. It's just suddenly only a fraction of what it used to be. We're wondering if the MicroCell is attempting to establish a secure connection with the AT&T servers, but that process isn't completing like it should so the conversation never goes beyond 'hey, I'm here....'.

I just got off the phone with my escalated AT&T tech contact and right now I am still waiting for signs of life on that netblock and/or some communication from them re further trouble shooting or solutions they've arrived at. Hopefully I'll have some good news to report.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 7, 2012 5:53:18 PM
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ACE - Master

This is very intersting and I'm glad you figured out as much as you did. Sounds to me like whatever update AT&T did screwed the port 4500 and it's ability to communicate properly either at the MicroCell end or AT&Ts server end. This must be regional because I haven't seen that here and we are a major market. You can send a pm (blue envelope in the upper right hand corner) to ATTCustomerSupport which circumvents a level or two.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 8, 2012 11:03:24 AM
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Teacher

Since I've already got an escalated contact working on this, I'm going to be following up with him rather than trying to make more noise from another angle. Possibilites that were raised during my previous conversation were routing issues with that netblock, server/software issues, or a device firmware update gone wrong.

 

I tried checking in w/ them last night and they didn't have an update yet. This morning I'm still not seeing more traffic to/from that netblock.

So... we're all still waiting for them to fix their stuff. Hopefully they'll be able to diagnose it and come up with a solution before the end of the week.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 8, 2012 11:06:18 AM
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Explorer

Thanks Megan! I'm eager to see their response! 

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 9, 2012 11:23:42 AM
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Teacher
GOOD NEWS! Looks like traffic to/from that netblock suddenly picked up last night around 11:50 PM, and one night-owl customer noticed their MicroCell had become usable again during that time. A couple customers now have reported reported a few bumps in their service this AM but overall things are looking much better, and on this end we're seeing more traffic on port 4500 going in both directions.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 9, 2012 11:55:55 AM
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ACE - Master

That's great! Sounds like something was blocking port 4500 from either AT&Ts or the ISPs end.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 9, 2012 12:05:47 PM
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Teacher
I am tech support with the ISP, and we made no changes. AT&T apparently fixed it.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 9, 2012 2:50:25 PM
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ACE - Master

I'm not surprised it was on AT&Ts end. That usually seems to be the case. At least your customer's are up and running and all is apparently well.

___________________________________________________________

3G MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTCustomerCare.






*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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