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
Edited by OttoPylot on Dec 7, 2012 at 12:16:38 PM

@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.

___________________________________________________________

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.
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Nov 16, 2012 9:12:48 AM
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Explorer

Agreed, absolutely. I've already reconfigured my router in preparation for making that change this evening.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 16, 2012 12:33:07 PM
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ACE - Master

CharlieSchorner wrote:

Agreed, absolutely. I've already reconfigured my router in preparation for making that change this evening.


I'll keep my fingers crossed!

 

___________________________________________________________

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 16, 2012 1:33:19 PM
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Teacher
I think it's worth mentioning again that these devices are going down and coming up without customers altering things in their network topography or changes to the ISP's network. From a birds-eye view here at the ISP office, I can see that there are wide swings in traffic to the AT&T MicroCell netblock depending on whether things are working or not, particularly on port 4500. I find it unfortunate that the end users are having to invest so much time and hassle into this issue, as from here it's not looking like their fault at all.

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Nov 16, 2012 2:28:41 PM
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ACE - Master

^^^^ I would agree with that. It seems that the MicroCells are "fragile" in that any network changes at all can really confuse them. Some, like mine, are really robust and stable but others are not. With AT&T, VZ, etc constantly tweaking their cell networks with updates, fixes, what not, the MicroCell just has a hard time adjusting. That's why I heartily recommend port forwarding to a static IP, following the instructions to the letter as far as window location (or use of an external antenna), etc goes, and the use of some sort of UPS. Even then, some still have issues :smileyfrustrated:

___________________________________________________________

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 16, 2012 9:49:19 PM
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GPS Signal I know I have a borderline situation with the Microcell picking up a GPS signal under a metal roof! I used to thing I was OK getting a GPS signal at this location because a manual reset would restore Microcell service. (GPS Signal successfully found) I now do not think this is true for the automatic restarts the microcell does when communication is lost. I noticed an unmarked port on the microcell that is the SAME AS AN EXTERNAL GPS ANTENNA PORT ON A HANDHELD GPS DEVICE I have. I searched for a powered external GPS antenna and found one at: http://www.gilsson.com/garmin_gps/antennas/mcx25b.htm I installed this external antenna and have it located right next to a window that ai verified a GPS signal at. I have not found that I have lost a microcell operation since doing this 3 weeks ago! To be sure, there is occasional loss of communication at Charter (my ISP) and AT&T (both microcell servers and local AT&T towers) on occasion and this can cause the microcell to stop functioning. If this has happened in the last 3 weeks, the microcell has been able to automatically restart and function on its own WITHOUT my intervention! I have found NO MENTION of an external GPS antenna option for the microcell anywhere on the AT&T support site. Hope this helps those having Microcell problems and provide more flexibility picking microcell locations. (I realize this will not answer all issues to achieve successful Microcell operation.) Also, keep in mind that the Microcell must see some AT&T cell tower signal to function properly . This was in the AT&T support web site in one of their FAQ answers.

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Nov 16, 2012 9:56:11 PM
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$6.00 at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006LEDZX8/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00 GPS antenna for MicroCell.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Nov 17, 2012 9:15:13 AM
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ACE - Master

FWIW, I have a metal roof and have never had any issues with GPS lock. The GPS is for their locational database to verify your location in proximity to a tower and for the 911 locational database. However, speaking of 911, there are issues with ANY cell phone call to 911, same as VOIP calls to 911. Unless you call 911 with a landline, you should ALWAYS use the 10-digit emergency number when calling from a cell phone or VOIP line.

 

I agree, it would have been nice for AT&T to include an external antenna or at least make in an optional purchase for those who couldn't place their MicroCell within 18" of a window but at least the folks here have figured out what kind of antenna works best and where to purchase it.

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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 17, 2012 5:57:47 PM
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Some additional information on the GPS antenna connector on the back of the Microcell.  A GPS signal lock is required for the Microcell to operate.  GPS data is used by the Microcell to know what frequiecies that AT&T is licensed to use in the area the Microcell is located.  The GPS location is also used by the Microcell to know which macrocell (large cell towers) are adjecent to the Microcell, also used to know which cell frequencies are available to use.  This is in addition to 911 location info.

 

The GPS connection on the back of the microcell is an MCX connection (not an MMCX).  I purchased an adapter from L-Com (Part#CA-MPNFCN19) that allowed me to connect a 70 Ft type high quality "N" cable to an external GPS antenna.  It now takes all of 10 seconds for a GPS lock on the first floor and has been operating reliably for over a year.  It never loses a GPS lock, and my microcell has been "down" no more than a few minutes total during the past year.   A GPS lock is required 100% of the time for the Microcell to operate.

 

My microcell unit is on the first floor, and I needed the longer cable to get to get my external antenna into an area clear of trees on the second floor.  "typical" external mount GPS antennas for automotive use have the required MCX connector. 

 

There are many choices on the internet for GPS antennas with an MCX connector in the $18 to $25 range with 15 to 20 Ft cables that will allow you to obtain a GPS lock near a window.

 

The antenna connection on the back of the device has nothing to do with cellular signal strength, only GPS signal strength.  The cellular antennas (there are two of them inside the unit) for the Microcell are small metal traces on the circuit board inside the Microcell and are not accessible to the end user. 

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Nov 28, 2012 9:05:02 AM
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Just a quick update.... I've finally gotten some phone conversations and email correspondence with escalated AT&T techs, but so far our customers are just not getting any love. People have in some cases spent hours messing around with port forwarding and every other possible configuration on their end, one guy even working with his THIRD new MicroCell, and I can see that the MicroCells are indeed attempting to 'phone home'. But it's not solving the basic issue: the AT&T servers just don't appear to be responding properly. There's *some* traffic coming in from them, just not on port 4500 except in very rare transient cases and even then only a tiny trickle of data as opposed to the volume we'd seen in the past when these devices are working. So... we all wait for what AT&T can come up with. Really hoping I can post up a more positive update soon.

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Nov 28, 2012 11:47:33 AM
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ACE - Master

I'm wondering if this is not a regional thing. Port 4500 is indeed one of the ports needed for proper data flow but I haven't seen any indications of any issues in my area related to Port 4500 <sigh>.

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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.

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Nov 28, 2012 1:30:35 PM
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Teacher
In fairness, you'd only be able to see all this from the ISP's chair. We've got a system-wide view into this traffic in some detail. I've had a couple more emails and phone calls this morning from AT&T and they're doing some tests with one customer. Still haven't seen signs of life from his direction but I'm camped out on some monitoring tools hoping to see that change soon. *crosses fingers*

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Nov 28, 2012 1:53:05 PM
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ACE - Master

I wasn't clear, sorry. What I meant was that no one has pm'd me nor have I seen any similar reports posted here for my area. For the record, I think it's very commendable for an ISP to take the measures you have to help a customer when it really isn't the ISPs problem.

___________________________________________________________

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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Dec 1, 2012 8:07:22 AM
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Edited by AnClar on Dec 1, 2012 at 8:09:32 AM

<sigh>  The issue has apparently now affected me here in central Texas as well.  OK...after a LONG period of time during which my MCell was working flawlessly, around 10PM last night I heard the dreaded "searching" noises from my phone...sure enough, the 3G light was flashing...no big deal, I figured...this has happened before...maybe a momentary outage, or a software update...so I left it alone and went to bed...when I got up this morning, still no connection...3G light still blinking.  At that point, I power-cycled the MCell...so far, half an hour later, I can't get a GPS lock...I have never had problems getting lock before and nothing has changed in my setup.  SOMETHING bad is going on on the AT&T side...based on what people have been saying in this thread, I am not about to waste hours of my time playing with my configuration to try and fix a problem that is clearly not on my end.  I'm just going to leave the current AT&T 3G Micro Brick where it is, and if it doesn't come back in  a few days, I'll be circular filing it and buying a cell signal booster...It's not that I'm unhappy with the performance of the MCell when it's working...it's the stony silence and overall policy of disdain for their customers (and apparently for ISPs as well) from AT&T about most ANYTHING involving a MCell service problem that I cannot stomach.  Once again, as I've done in the past, and even though I know this is a "members helping members" forum, it is moderated by AT&T so, I challenge ANYONE from AT&T to contact me to resolve the problem with my MCell or to explain to me why it is not working and provde a general estimate of when service might be restored.  I will not be holding my breath waiting.  If there is any change on my end, I will update here.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Dec 1, 2012 8:22:07 AM
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ACE - Master

You can always pm ATTCustomerCare with the issue and see what they can do, if anything. They're there M-F, 8-5 CST I believe.

___________________________________________________________

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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Dec 1, 2012 8:39:36 AM
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Explorer

The continuing response from AT&T has been the usual script performance. I'm happy that my ISP is staying in touch with them, but it's clear that they view their customers as "lusers."

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Dec 1, 2012 9:04:15 AM
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Just FYI, add another "service down" - but I'm in East Texas (Edom).  Verified my internet connection is good, but can't get MCell service. 

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Dec 1, 2012 9:10:49 AM
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Scholar

MurphieNB...what is the status of your MCell front panel lights?? 

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Dec 1, 2012 9:18:33 AM
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Solid green on the first three - blank on the 4th, and flashing on the 5th.  I've powered down several times, including leaving it unplugged (power only) for several minutes.

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Dec 1, 2012 9:51:08 AM
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OK, thanks...was curious because I had 3 green also with just the 3G light flashing until I power cycled, and now it won't GPS lock after an hour of trying...seems yours did...maybe if they ever figure out what's wrong and restore service mine will GPS lock and reconnect.

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Dec 1, 2012 10:19:30 AM
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My MicroCell also went down sometime between last night and this morning. I also went through all the reset proceedures several times to no avail.

I have all the light solid execpt for the 3G bottom light which continues to flash. The MicroCell was working great up to last night.

Now it is just a blinking 3G light. The power, GPS and ethernet lights are all solid.

Hopefully it will come back on and work soon since I have 0 to 1 bars and 2 bars if I hold my mouth right while outside in the neighbors driveway.

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Dec 1, 2012 10:19:53 AM
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Tutor

Where in Central Texas are you - or I should ask, who is you ISP?  Mine is CenturyLink (formerly Embarq), and I know they are the phone service in some areas of Central Texas as well.

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Dec 1, 2012 10:35:30 AM
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I'm near Ft. Hood, and my ISP is Time Warner Cable...I've got a fairly decent pipe...Road Runner Extreme DOCSIS3 30/5.

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Dec 1, 2012 10:42:49 AM
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jumpdawg wrote:

My MicroCell also went down sometime between last night and this morning. I also went through all the reset proceedures several times to no avail.

I have all the light solid execpt for the 3G bottom light which continues to flash. The MicroCell was working great up to last night.

Now it is just a blinking 3G light. The power, GPS and ethernet lights are all solid.

Hopefully it will come back on and work soon since I have 0 to 1 bars and 2 bars if I hold my mouth right while outside in the neighbors driveway.


I forgot to mention that my MicroCell service with the flashing 3G light is in Montgomery County north of Houston,Tx. I use ATT DSL for my ISP

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Dec 1, 2012 10:58:13 AM
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Beginning to sound as though there's a fairly widespread outage, at least in Texas.  Oh well...now we poor mushrooms sit and wait for our devices to automagically maybe come back to life at some undefined point in the future...not a way I can operate.  If I ran my business this way, I'd be bankrupt:  Can you imagine..."Notice to customers...I'm closed.  If and when you see the front door open, I'll be back in operation.  Don't bother asking for further information, I don't have it, or if I do, I will not be sharing it with you.  Sorry for the inconvenience, hope to see all you customers back if and when I reopen."  I just do not understand why AT&T has operated this way for so long...just because they can, I guess.  There are reasons why AT&T always ranks lowest in customer satisfaction surveys...this is just one of them.

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Dec 1, 2012 11:10:54 AM
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ACE - Master

Flashing green 3G or flashing red 3G?

 

If it's flasing red 3G, that's probably an update in which case the MicroCell didn't properly reset itself and it now thinks it has a hardware failure. A hard reset (reset button on the back) may fix it or you might have to do the de-register/re-register routine or both.

 

A flashing green 3G usually means the MicroCell can't communicate with the nearby tower which may be a maintenance/update issue at the tower or whatever pathway serves that.

 

From past experience/reports, it seems that once a problem like this is reported, it seems to spread from service area (region) to service area, affecting some, but not all MicroCell users. No rhyme or reason why and it usually just "works itself" out over time. Which, if it was affecting me, is not a good answer.

 

It seems that support is not kept informed of maintenance issues, ETAs, or reasonable solutions. I for one would feel a little better if support at least knew that blah blah blah was being done in the affected region and service will be restored as soon as possible. At least there's a plausible reason and you're not being made to jump thru hoops or call your ISP because it's "their" problem. I'll ask around.

___________________________________________________________

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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Dec 1, 2012 12:20:38 PM
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Tutor

If the last question is for me, aka MurphieNB, it's flashing green.  And still flashing green since early Satuday AM.

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Dec 1, 2012 1:23:07 PM
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Voyager

Well just to add to the conversation, I am just west of Houston and mine went down late last night. All I have is the 3G light flashing green, all other lights solid green.

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Dec 1, 2012 1:46:21 PM
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Edited by AnClar on Dec 1, 2012 at 1:46:51 PM

Just tried another experiment...I moved the MCell to a window with a clear view of the sky...device would still not get a GPS lock after an hour.  I checked on the MCell management page, and my device is still listed as activated.  I'd sure give a lot to know what the heck is going on.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Dec 1, 2012 1:46:28 PM
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Edited by KLang on Dec 1, 2012 at 1:57:22 PM

I'm also a little west of Houston with a flashing 3G light. I tried calling support a short time ago and there was a message stating there is a MicroCell outage in Texas and they are working on it.

Re: Is the MicroCell Service Down?

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Dec 1, 2012 1:48:14 PM
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Well at least that's something...thanks for posting...now we'll see how long it takes them to resolve the problem.

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