What is happening with 3G?
iewiwall's profile

Tutor

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9 Messages

Mon, Jun 7, 2021 6:03 AM

Anyone else here upset that ATT is deactivating their microcell services as of 2/2022?

Anyone else here upset that ATT is deactivating their microcell services as of 2/2022?  Anyone know how we can get them to reconsider?  I live out of town, the only way we can get internet services is wireless to our house.  In order to have a signal to call anywhere from our house, we depend on the microcell,  we don't have a house phone.  Using internet calling doesn't work for us, we just can't get that kind of bandwidth.

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Official Solution

JefferMC

ACE - Expert

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28.7K Messages

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3G as a whole is going away.  You can no longer activate a 3G phone.  Without 3G phones, a 3G-only microcell makes little sense.

Going forward, a phone must be able to do HD Voice, basically VoIP, in order to function in AT&T's network.  A side affect of this is that all these phones will be able to do Voice over Wi-Fi.  And that is AT&T's answer to the microcell: they are being replaced by the Wi-Fi Access you already have.

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OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.1K Messages

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@PatriciaHarris We used the MicroCell for years issue-free until we got phones that were WiFi-C capable. Call quality and reliability was equal to if not better than the MicroCell. 

WiFi-C is totally dependent on the quality of your WiFi signal and your ISP. AT&T is only responsible for the data (calls) that reach their Mobility Servers. If there is an issue with the connection between your house and AT&T, that's an issue with your ISP and the ports that they have open. The MicroCell requires certain ports to remain open all the way to AT&T. If AT&T is your service provider then yes, that is their problem that they need to address.

The phone will connect to the stronger signal, WiFi or cellular. You can live in an area where the cellular signal and/or your WiFi signal fluctuate enough that the phone has a hard time knowing which signal to connect to and stay connected to. If you are on a call, and move around, it is possible that the phone will try to hand-off to the stronger of the two signal which will result in call quality issues. What you can try to do is disable (turn off) the MicroCell, enable WiFi-C, and put your phone in Airplane Mode (which turns off the cellular radio). That way your phone can only connect to your WiFi signal. And if your signal is good, call quality and reliability should be fine.

I have an iPhone 12, my wife and an iPhone 7, and the MicroCell, which I have turned back on for testing purposes, works just fine. If I turn off (power down) the MicroCell, WiFi-C works perfectly.

AT&T can not just increase the signal power. There are all kinds of regulations that AT&T has to go thru to do that. And if it is a shared tower, there are other provider signals that need to be considered and approved on as well.

The MicroCell 3G service will be disabled, on time, by the end of February. AT&T will be offering a new, 4G/LTE MicroCell but that probably won't be available to the general public for purchase until later on in Q1. Some users, who have current active accounts may be receiving a replacement for free from AT&T but that is on a random basis and not guaranteed for all MicroCell users.

ACE - Sage

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97.4K Messages

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This ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️

You can even purchase unlocked that support At&t wifi calling.

The M-cell hasn't been restocked or sold in over 3 years.   The registration site has not been maintained since 2017.

Time to move forward. 

Tutor

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9 Messages

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I understand all of this but ATT will be leaving many customers in the dark.  They could've created a 4G device a long time ago to support those of us who need to rely on a boost to have our phones work out in the middle of nowhere. We aren't even that far from town but we have a very poor signal.

As I mentioned before, wifi calling is not an option for us.

Hopefully, someone will pickup on the need and fulfill it.

JefferMC

ACE - Expert

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28.7K Messages

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Using internet calling doesn't work for us, we just can't get that kind of bandwidth.

Yes, you said this, but it makes absolutely no sense.  How do you think the microcell sends and receives voice data from the network, by carrier pigeon?  If you have the bandwidth for microcell, then you have the bandwidth for Wi-Fi calling.

ACE - Sage

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97.4K Messages

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@iewiwall

Most people who say "internet calling doesn't work..." aren't using it.  Wifi used for data is NOT the same as wifi calling. 

It's off by default, and you must have a compatible phone.   You must verify your e911 address to activate.  Almost every phone sold by at&t and several non AT&T phones are capable and compatible.

    

Tutor

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9 Messages

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I've had viop phones and they were awful.  I've attempted to use the internet phones for business calls and it was always too laggy.

I thought the microcell used ATT's cell tower service not the internet as I always had to make sure my microcell was pointing in one direction to get service.  Does it use it's own wifi service not my internet?  Our upload speed is just under 3 mps.  Maybe that will help you understand.

JefferMC

ACE - Expert

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28.7K Messages

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I refer you to this excellent guide by @OttoPylot regarding how Microcells work:

https://sprcdn-assets.sprinklr.com/485/MicroCell_Technical_Guide_v2-1-fcdab439-4b7e-431f-ae0d-90736e3d6419-250265627.pdf

In it you will find that the microcell has to be located "just so" in order for it to receive a GPS signal to assure AT&T that it is located within their service area.   In it you will also find the Internet requirements for the microcell to operate properly, which state a minimum of 256 kbps upload (and a suggestion of 512 kbps).  Even the higher suggested is much less than 3 Mbps you say you have.   Technically, an uncompressed stereo audio stream from a CD is only 1.365 Mbps.  A compressed monoaural audio stream should be a twentieth of that (68 kbps).

BTW, I looked to get a carrier statement about how much bandwidth Voice over Wi-Fi takes.  I couldn't find one on a carrier, site, but I found this in a cNet article:

Though the higher throughput you have the better your connection will be, a minimum of 1Mbps should be enough to patch a solid call through. Republic Wireless reports that it can hold a call with 80Kbps, but the quality may decrease and you'll experience more dropped calls as well. 

(edited)

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.1K Messages

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@iewiwall The MicroCell does not need or use the local tower for calls. The local tower is needed for initial activation and periodic maintenance (when AT&T was maintaining the MicroCell).

The radios for the MicroCell are located in the top of the unit. Some folks found that changing the orientation of the MicroCell would give them a better line of sight to the GPS satellites because that it was is used for location verification etc. That's why 18" from a window with an unobstructed view of the sky is recommended in the installation instructions. It has nothing to do with WiFi or the tower. The connection is strictly thru your internet service.

The minimum speeds for the MicroCell are around 3.0Mbps down and 128kbps up. In reality, you need at least 256kbps upload speed for proper communcation. The 3.0Mbps is bascially the maximum download that the MicroCell can handle. In my testing I was able to get close to 5.0Mbps at times but 3.0 is really what you will see most of the time.

The service will be discontinued no later than Feb. 2022 once AT&T repurposes their 3G network so you might want to start planning now for that. There will be no replacement offered by AT&T other than WiFi-C (WiFi Calling) if your phone(s) are capable.

The decision by Cisco and AT&T to not offer a 4G MicroCell was made years ago (around mid-2017) so this is not a sudden decision. The cost of development and maintenance for a 4G femtocell was just not a good RTI decision.

(edited)

JefferMC

ACE - Expert

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28.7K Messages

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The decision by Cisco and AT&T to not offer a 4G MicroCell was made years ago (around mid-2017) so this is not a sudden decision. The cost of development and maintenance for a 4G femtocell was just not a good RTI decision.

Especially since VoLTE phones were already commonplace by then.

New Member

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4 Messages

Il y a 5 m

Yes, we know how to use our WiFi calling and do have it enabled.  Yes, we have newer iPhone 12.  No, the AT&T cell tower in our area doesn't seem to have a good signal in our area.  Yes, we are reluctant to have Microcell discontinued as we have unplugged it in the past and noted horrible phone service with WiFi calling only.  We live on Lake Ontario and get Canadian signals from towers 35 miles across the lake, only to have the US AT&T tower 3-4 miles away not be of much use to those of us on the lake.  Please, AT&T, check your towers in Orleans County, NY to see if some sort of updating/servicing needs to be done before all the neighbors hanging onto AT&T accounts jump ship to go with Spectrum.

ACE - Sage

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97.4K Messages

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@PatriciaHarris

Hmmm, spend Millions, and a decade or so, to add better coverage to an area where people are probably going to jumping ship to go with Verizon or Spectrum already, or lose a few thousand customers and a few bucks a year from each one?   

⚖️

Unfortunately no carrier can provide service everywhere. Sometimes the carrier is going to choose to lose all their customers in a fringe area rather than spend too much money to try to keep a few. Since it is on us customers to make these decisions that affect us the ball is now in your court. 

I understand Spectrum offers a pretty good unlimited deal if you also have their home services. 

New Member

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4 Messages

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Agree with above that we are worried about losing our Microcell.  In my area of NY in Orleans County on the shore of Lake Ontario AT&T service is almost nonexistant, even with their tower being within 3-4 miles of our homes.  We constantly get Canadian signals 35 miles across the lake that are stronger than AT&T.  We have used their Microcell for many years.  Yes, we know how to use WiFi calling and have that activated at all times.  Yes, we have newer phones, iPhone 12.  Yes, we have tried turning off the Microcell for a few days as a trial and saw firsthand that WiFi calling alone doesn't cut it.  Many calls never rang and went straight to voicemail, only to notify us hours later.  Many calls dropped while talking.  Many times going to make an outgoing call we got the dreaded call failed.  We have called AT&T many times in the past to request that they check to see if our local towers need service or updates, etc.  Neighborhood is ready to jump ship to Spectrum cell service.  Please check the towers in the area for us.  Zip code for usage is 14477.  Thank you. 

Constructive

Employee

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27.9K Messages

Il y a 5 m

I’m upset they shut down 2g and my iPhone 3 doesn’t work anymore

Fl_retire

ACE - Professor

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2.5K Messages

Il y a 5 m

Too bad LTE and 5G does not have the range that 2G had. 

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