01-23-2013 08:00:51 AM
Let me begin by saying that I have been in contact with AT&T Tech Support for the past 4-5 business days, but I want to "throw" this out to the community.
My son is attending college out of town and is a resident at an apartment complex providing community internet service through Korcett/TW Cable. Due to nonexistent cell reception in the apartment via AT&T, and his cell phone the only mode of contacting him, I have been attempting to connect the Microcell to the network. The MAC address is added to the ISP administration page and displayed with other user-specific addresses under his account. After initially using the conventional method, I now have the device connected using the alternate connection method - plugged into the wall (modem side) in front of my router so that the router doesn't inhibit any communication handshake. I am able to communicate with the router remotely using Cisco Connect Cloud just fine though this connection scheme.
Throughout the activation sequence, the AT&T activation page is able to detect and confirm that the unit is 1) powered up, 2) software update, and 3) location verification via GPS are all complete. As far as I'm thinking, this device is communicating properly with AT&T. The problem is the final activation step where the account profiles are being created and it will not complete. All lights are solid green with exception of the bottom 3G connection light that continues to blink green. I have disconnected and reconnected the device via my account page many times with the same result. Also had him power cycle the device to no avail.
If there were any port issues, it seems that the device would not be able to communicate with AT&T and inhibit completion of the initial stages. The ISP accommodates all sorts of devices including gaming, so I would think the Microcell should be of no difficulty. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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01-23-2013 10:43:46 AM
Whose phone number is listed as the primary account holder, and is the address on record the physical address of the MicroCell? IOW, if you are the account holder and your son's phone is one of the "family" members (like mine is), then your home address (billing address) is what's on file. And even though the MicroCell has GPS lock, the physical coordinates of the MicroCell do not match the address that is on file for the account. Send a pm (the blue envelope in the upper right side of this page) to ATTCustomerCare and tell them you issue, what you have done, your account info and phone number. That usually by-passes phone support and assigns one individual to your case. If you've been given a ticket number, submit that as well. You may have to setup port forwarding but we can get to into that later.
01-23-2013 11:47:50 AM
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I (my cell number) is listed each time as primary with my account address. I change the physical location each time to his apartment address. Initially, AT&T had to setup that location to resolve the GPS location. As I bypass my router, the Microcell is directly in line with the apartment community's modem. I have also submitted this problem to the Korcett tech support team to see if they are familiar with the problem.
The best information at this point that would be helpful is what is involved in that final step? - Finalizing technical or just administrative account profile information? When I asked that questions the last time I spoke with a tech, they could not provide a solid answer. Don't misunderstand, every person that I have dealt with at AT&T has been quite pleasant. But right now, it seems AT&T is like the IBM mainframe days, if another vendor is involved, then have them assess the problem first.
And you're right, dealing with one individual will be superior to multiple parties reading from tech history and scripted resolutions.
01-23-2013 01:16:51 PM
My understanding is that the final activation step is basically just account verification. Confirming that GPS coordinates are one, within AT&T service area (tower) and two, the primary account address and GPS coordinates agree, or mulitiple addresses are associated with the account. A community modem may be an issue. If you have the MC setup in priority mode, that is: modem ->MC -> router then the router and it's configurations aren't a factor. That procedure is usually reserved for troubleshooting but some have found that it is the only way to get it to work. I have mine setup the opposite way: modem (gateway) -> router -> MicroCell and I have port forwarding to a static, DHCP assigned IP address based on the MicroCell's MAC address. What is his download/upload speeds? If there are a lot of people sharing this community modem it could be not enough resources are available for him to maintain constant contact with the AT&T servers which could affect his ability to register. Port blockage is also a possibility. It seems that the most critical port is port 4500. Most ISPs don't block that port but it can't hurt to check. It could also be a port 4500 issue with the ISPs upstream provider. I have seen that before and it's really difficult to get someone to isolate it becuase it's basically not the ISPs or AT&Ts issue. Here's the link for the MicroCell Troubleshooing Guide. It may help:
01-23-2013 02:17:52 PM
Just got off the phone with AT&T tech. Nice guy, but he is assessing this as a port issue (Unable to establish the VPN IPSec tunnel) and no longer an open issue for AT&T. Trouble ticket will be closed. Will send me technical info so that I can have an intelligent conversation to resolve through Korcett/TWC as it's their modem and settings. By the way, I have been involved with enterprise IT since the late 70's - not a novice and have a good understanding including operations and infrastructure. So I asked if AT&T can see my specific device, as one would believe they could via S/N or MAC address (the activation sequence recognizes device status for the initial steps), and tell me without a doubt that it is port issue. Nope, can't specifically say it's the port. This is what we have seen as an issue and the most likely cause. Really? So that means anyone who attempts to establish a VPN at any of the apartment properties serviced by this ISP and using the same HW would experience the same? I find that hard to believe.
I agree, based on the verbiage describing the final step, that it is account verification/administration. I continue to believe that a port issue would manifest prior to that final step - naive on my part. As I mentioned above, I modify the address in the setup for the physical location of the device which is not my account address. I ran speedtest.net wirelessly through my router at the apartment and the results - DL 8.48 Mbps; UL 53.47 Mbps; Ping 24 ms.
01-23-2013 03:17:59 PM
I was afraid that it was going to be some sort of port issue with the ISP. The basic port settings and router configs should be in that document I linked you too. IPSec Pass-through should be enabled and only one device should be performing NAT duties. It doesn't surprise me that AT&T can't see you from their end. If the 3G light is blinking green then something is blocking the connection prohibiting activation to complete. You'd think if the GPS is locked that AT&T could detect your MicroCell but that may be another pathway altogether. I'd still send a PM to ATTCustomerCare because phone support, IMO, is still lacking the support they need to help the customer a lot of the times. Keep the MicroCell within 18" of a window with an unobstructed view of the sky and at least 2' away from a WiFi device. You might also want to just check cable connections again etc. Oh, and make sure that the MicroCell hasn't been knocked over or something like that. They have anti-tamper clips on the inside and if they get knocked loose because of a fall or someone attempting to open the box, it will be disabled. Shaking the MicroCell VERY GENTLY will tell you if the clips have become loose because you'll hear a little rattle.
As suggested, you may have to have a long talk with the ISP and see how they have their community network setup, ports blocked if any, etc. The speeds look fine. Does he have a static IP address?
01-23-2013 04:57:57 PM
Spoke with Korcett Tech Support and they do not block ports. Here's the resolution - the tech tried assigning a public IP to the Microcell's MAC address. I called my son and he power cycled the device after I disconnected it online. Set it up again and voila! Activation complete and working like a champ. Thanks Otto for the replies.
01-23-2013 06:09:07 PM
That's great! It sounds like for what ever reason your MicroCell wasn't getting a properly assigned IP address from the ISP. If you connect the MicroCell: modem -> router -> MicroCell you can do the same thing which gives you a bit more control (which is what I do) but if it's working ok now, don't change it.