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OttoPylot
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2014 ACE
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18.5K Messages

Mon, Nov 13, 2017 6:38 PM

MicroCell End of Life Has Been Announced

The official end of life for the MicroCell will be at the end of this year (2017). AT&T will stop selling the MicroCell except at Corporate Stores who still have them in stock. However, AT&T will continue to support the MicroCell for an unspecified period of time next year. Of course that will mean that most of the "support" will be trying to convince customers to upgrade their phones to WiFi-C capable phones. We will still be around as usual for support questions but don't expect to get much out of AT&T.

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AT&T Cell Booster Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

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pgrey

ACE - Master

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3.5K Messages

4 y前


@windracer wrote:

@nwhaynes interesting, thanks for the link! I will definitely check that out. I wonder why AT&T didn't suggest that to me originally instead of two separate MCells.


@windracerBecause they don't have one to recommend, or not that I've ever known of, and just buy a "random" one will sometimes just get you a $300 or more pile-of-parts-with-LEDs.

I have GREAT results with my MobileForce units, for travel anyway. I  believe these are under a larger parent company, and the consumer line has changed names, but I haven't tracked it.

 

The one trick is (beyond buying one that actually boosts the signal), and possibly the other reason they don't recommend them (and probably covered in the guide, I think we all talked about this when it was written), is that you must have *some* semblance of cell signal, for it to work, at your location.  If you have a weak signal, they often work great, as has been my experience, but if you have no signal, then the best booster out there won't do anything, it has to have a signal, to start, even if it's a really weak one.

You can put directional-antennas, such as the Yagi style on your house, if you're using a fixed location, and if there's a really weak signal, they can (along with the booster) really pull in the weak signal and make it a decent one.

In the past I've had people try "network cell info lite", it does a good job of showing you what your area has, in terms of overall signal(s), and is a decent way to do a "survey" of your location, and get a feel for if a booster is workable.

 

Thirdly, the "inside area of coverage" can be pretty small, unless you get into the really expensive boosters, IME.  For example, my 300 travel booster is great, in maybe a 8x8 area, or possibly a bit larger if there are no obstructions (walls, METAL of most types, etc) but the price goes up quite dramatically, say to get 100x100 coverage, or multiple floors.  I'm also a bit suspect about the EMR, on these larger units, given that the smaller ones warn about not being too close to the indoor antenna, and they're designed for a pretty tiny area...

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.5K Messages

4 y前

@windracer and @pgrey - It appears that the AT&T MetroCell is intended for business use and not  home use. I'm trying to get a little more detailed info on it. However, it is similar to the MicroCell in that it requires specific inbound/outbound ports to remain open 24x7 (9 instead of the 4 required for the MicroCell), DHCP is on, MTU is set to 1492 or greater, MAC address filtering is set to off unless you use the MAC address of Alcatel-Lucent 9962, IPSec Passthrough is enabled, and Block Fragmented Packets is disabled.

 

I haven't been able to get any cost info yet but it may be a monthly subscription or contract situation unlike the MicroCell which is a one time cost. Installation/configuration is tricky in that it is a cellular booster, so cables need to be run and specific addresses  need to be configured. If it were me, I'd look into the cellular boosters that are listed in my Cellular Booster Guide (link is in my sig line) instead of being tied to AT&T with the MetroCell.

 

UPDATE: The basic MetroCell kit costs $5,000 and installation is $1,500, unless you want to install it yourself. Definitely for business use and not home use.

pgrey

ACE - Master

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3.5K Messages

4 y前

@OttoPylot Yeah, because walking most people through that config, on who-knows-what-router is probably a huge nightmare, unless you're pretty tech-y, or work in IT (sure I could easily confirm/set those, as could you, but I bet 90-some percent would have no idea), and that cost, obviously a business-use item.

 

I wonder if this means they'll finally allow WiFi-call/text, on non-branded devices?  Seems like they'll be effectively removing service to these, at any location that was using the Microcell?  

I'm not sure telling someone to ditch their OnePlus 6, in favor of a branded AT&T device is going to be super-popular, with anyone...

 

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.5K Messages

4 y前

@pgrey - yeah, if you look at the requirement settings it's very daunting. I think that's why AT&T charges $1500 for installation/setup. Installing a cellular booster system can be complicated, even the ones that I have referenced in my Cellular Booster Guide.

 

I never had any issues with the MicroCell as far as calls in/out, SMS/MMS, or using WiFi. Who knows what AT&T is going to do with WiFi-C and non-branded phones (phones that AT&T doesn't currently sell). We switched to WiFi-C exclusively once we moved in January and have relegated my collection of MicroCells to the "electronic wasteland" which is a cabinet in the garage.

pgrey

ACE - Master

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3.5K Messages

4 y前

@OttoPylot Yeah, makes sense, on the MetroCell, I'm sure there's some "service agreement" or similar, that comes along with that 1500 (you'd hope anyway).

 

It's a bit "odd", I can now see BOTH WiFi calling AND VoLTE in my carrier (SIM) menu, where it didn't exist a few weeks ago.  

While it doesn't actually do anything (calls and texts are still waiting, or wanting me to turn off Airplane Mode), a bit odd as well, it sure looks like AT&T is messing around with provisioning non-carrier devices.

 

@lizdance40Do you see the same, on your non-branded devices now?

ACE - Sage

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98.5K Messages

4 y前

@pgrey

I see the option in my son’s Razer phone.  I can’t find it on mine.  What’s the path?

 

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.5K Messages

4 y前

@pgrey , @windracer , @nwhaynes - As a final followup on the MetroCell, I discussed this with someone I've worked with in the cellular booster industry. He said that the MetroCell's are a complete pain, very difficult to get online, and once online they don't seem to work so well. Alcatel-Lucent, the manufacturer, outsourced development of the hardware to a Chinese company called Sercomm, and now that Alcatel-Lucent has been acquired by Nokia they don't seem to want to support the units at all.

 

There is no monthly charge, no home version available, and you have to have a Premier account to get one.

AnClar

Scholar

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232 Messages

4 y前

@OttoPylot  Well, I guess I spoke too soon...it was very weird...last night at 2:50AM I got a text from AT&T indicating that the physical location of the MCell was not the same as listed.  The connection light on the MCell was red, and a reboot didn't fix it.  At that time, I couldn't reach the MCell management portal, so I assumed that they had shut down the servers.  Later this morning, I was able to get to the mgmt portal, and checked the address...it was correct.  Nevertheless, I re-entered my original address as a "new" address for the MCell and left for the day.  Around three hours after I left, I got another text telling me my MCell had been successfully activated and was ready to use.  When I got home, all lights on the MCell were green and normal, and the device is working normally again...for how long, who knows, but, for now anyways, it's back online.

windracer

Mentor

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47 Messages

4 y前

@OttoPylot Thanks again for the info. I do have a Premier corporate account so that wouldn't be an issue (this would be for the office only, my home users would need to get WiFi-C working). I started testing WiFi-C today on my phone and it seems work better, so I'll add more users to my test pool over the next few days. But I still might look into the MetroCell option if necessary.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.5K Messages

4 y前

@AnClar - it could have been a glitch in the GPS verification system. As things start to break with the MicroCell service, AT&T will be slow to fix it because the service is rapidly reaching the termination point. Switch to WiFi-C if your phone is capable and stop using the MicroCell.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.5K Messages

4 y前

@windracer -  the more I dig the less appealing the MetroCell is (mostly for the reasons I gave above). If you need a cellular booster for your business I'd look into the ones that I reference in my Cellular Booster Guide, and the company that offers a wide array of cellular boosters (including the Lucent-Alcatel product). The link is in my sig line. 

AnClar

Scholar

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232 Messages

4 y前

OttoPylot Said:

 

 it could have been a glitch in the GPS verification system. As things start to break with the MicroCell service, AT&T will be slow to fix it because the service is rapidly reaching the termination point. Switch to WiFi-C if your phone is capable and stop using the MicroCell.

 

@OttoPylot I'll stop when the service goes down for the last time.  In the meantime, the MCell service is better than the WiFi-C for me.  I guess I'll have to make the switch eventually, but I'll do it when I have to.  Thanks.  Man Frustrated

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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18.5K Messages

4 y前

@AnClar - I'm surprised that WiFi-C doesn't work well for you. I find it to have much better call quality and reliability than the MicroCell, and I had almost no issues with the MicroCell over the years. Some phones do WiFi-C better than others so it's hard to say if it's your phone or you WiFi in general. Just make sure that the MicroCell is powered off when you try WiFi-C because some phones have difficulty in determining which technology to use and that will cause call quality/connection issues. There is no way to force your phone to choose which technology to use when both, the MicroCell and WiFi-C, are enabled. You can place your phone is Airplane Mode which will disable its cellular radio so the phone will use your WiFi connection provided you've setup WiFi-C on your phone.

pgrey

ACE - Master

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3.5K Messages

4 y前


@lizdance40 wrote:

@pgrey

I see the option in my son’s Razer phone.  I can’t find it on mine.  What’s the path?

 


@lizdance40

It's under Settings->SIM&Net->SIM, on my OP. 

I was really surprised, this conversation was what prompted my going there.  Previously, I could tweak a couple of settings, in DeveloperOptions, and I could see/set the switches, one-time-only, and they'd switch themselves back off.

So, thinking I didn't need any half-baked stuff enabled, I turned them back off.

 

Today, when I went to the SIM settings, I was surprised, even more so, when the settings seem to persist, even across a reboot.

They don't actually let me do any voice/text, over WiFi, at this point (I tried quite a few combos), and NetworkCellInfoLite still says it's not fully enabled, but it seems like provisioning is changing, hopefully?

 

If you're not finding the SIM settings, just use the search at the top of the main Settings page.

It's been >3 weeks since the phone app was updated, and the last firmware was back around the 2nd week of August, so it doesn't seem like some weird thing OnePlus did, at least not obviously anyway.

 

It's never been there, but now it's plain-as-day, the way people in Europe and other non-US locations, where posts show the WiFi text/call, and VoLTE.

 

Strange stuff, I think there's some provisioning changes coming down, maybe AT&T is going to the "real RCS" or something.  

@GLIMMERMAN76, Have you heard anything, being in the "thick" of Android dev, you always seem to have these little tidbits, stored away ;-]

 

Oh yeah, almost forgot.  @OttoPylot, my OP6 has the ability to set a preference, which I bet pretty strongly weights either cell or WiFi.

ACE - Sage

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98.5K Messages

4 y前

@pgrey

Hmm.  I have none of that. I enabled developer thinking that might trigger.  

I haven’t messed with the phone.  It’s to good the way it is.  

 

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