What is happening with 3G?
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hsweiss
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Tutor

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15 Messages

Monday, August 28th, 2017 3:12 PM

New (used) Activated MicroCell

I had been suffering from less than stellar connectivity in my home for years.  Maybe 1 bar if you are in a couple of particular locations in the house - not even necessarily next to a window.  I finally decided to try a Microcell which I had asked ATT about a few years ago but they wouldn't give me one for free.

 

So, I bought one, with original packaging, on eBay.  This is the white version.  It appears to be in great shape.  It registered cleanly.  I have it sitting near a window facing south with no trees nearby so it should have no problems getting a GPS lock. 

 

All the lights are GREEN.  All of the phones on the account have been registered and the 3 in the house connect and indicate ATT Microcell with 4 bars anyway in the house.  Woo hoo!  Inbound and outbound calls worked great with good sound quality.

 

But....  For unknown reasons, after the Microcell has been up for "x" amount of time (where "x" varies from a short number of hours to many hours), the phones lose connectivity.  All the phones -  not just one.  The Microcell continues to show all green.  Cycling the phones to airplane mode and back doesn't fix the problem.  Rebooting the phones does not make a difference.  Only power cycling the Microcell fixes the problem. NB: I have not done a hard reset (using the reset button) on the Microcell.

 

I talked to Microcell tech support who said that they could see the Microcell and it appeared to be working OK.  He didn't provide much help other than asking me to make sure to plug directly into a router port (not a subsequent switch) and reboot the router.  He talked about potential problems on the internet side but I have 50M up/down FiOS with the ActionTek router.  I didn't buy his "reboot the router" stuff since the router was running fine for all my other devices (including the phones on WiFi).  But I did it anyway just to rule that out.  The tech support guy said that if none his suggestions helped, then it was probably a bad Microcell.

 

So, amazingly after rebooting the FiOS router, we had Microcell connectivity on all of the phones for over 24 hours.  When I went to bed, the phones were still connected to the Microcell.  But this morning, no connectivity again until I power cycled the Microcell.  I don't see this as a solution if it is unreliable and constantly has to be power cycled on a daily basis or more.

 

I'm looking for any other potential solutions before I endeavor to return the device as defective to the seller.  Help!

 

 

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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19.6K Messages

5 years ago

@hsweiss - if you purchased an older, white MicroCell from eBay, and it came with its original ac adapter, I'd check the adapter with a voltmeter to see if it reads 16 VDC +/- 0.5 with no load. If not, replace the adapter with a new one of the same rating. It could be that the adapter is beginning to fail and not delivering enough consistent power to the GPS/3G radios.

 

Most AT&T CS Agents are fairly clueless on how the MicroCell works, so if your problem doesn't meet the checklist criteria, they will say the MicroCell is failing and needs to be replaced.

 

Please refer to either my Tech Guide or QuickTips (both links in my sig line). There's a bit more to resetting the MicroCell than pushing in the reset button.

hsweiss

Tutor

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15 Messages

5 years ago

Thanks, I will check the voltage.
Regarding the hard reset - I read your guide about holding the button for 30 sec as power is restored.  The question I have is what does the hard reset actually do to the device?  I presume it wipes any stored settings that will have to be reloaded from ATT.  Anything else that I should be aware of?  Any "side affects"?
OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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19.6K Messages

5 years ago

@hsweiss - the details of the hard reset are given in my Tech Guide but basically it resets the MicroCell back to factory defaults and forces the unit to go thru the entire Initial Activation process (also detailed in the Tech Guide), part of which is checking for updates etc. You do not have to do anything with your myAT&T MicroCell Settings. Your information is tied to your post paid account via the serial number of the MicroCell so once that is detected by AT&T, you're ready to go. 

 

Given the recent severe weather that some are experiencing my guess is that we will start to see more of these types of issues (damaged adapters and/or MicroCell's due to power outages and continuing sporadic power failures).

hsweiss

Tutor

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15 Messages

5 years ago

I checked the voltage on the power supply - 15.7v.  So more than likely, unless there is a huge sag when its plugged in, its not the problem.
I also did a hard reset.  Time will tell to see whether or not it stays up and the phones connected.
thanks!
OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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19.6K Messages

5 years ago

@hsweiss - if the MicroCell comes back up you might want to turn off your phone(s) completely for a couple of minutes and then turn them back on. They may have to re-establish the MicroCell as being part of their cellular neighborhood before they will connect to it.

hsweiss

Tutor

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15 Messages

5 years ago

Microcell came up fine after hard reset and phones automatically connected.  But still no joy in Mudville - it still only stays up for a few hours and silently goes away despite all the lights being green.  I've initiated an eBay return because I now believe the AT&T tech support guy's statement that this device is defective.  BTW, he told me that with the increasing number of phones capable of WiFi calling, the days of the Microcell are limited.  They do not sell them via the tech support phone line anymore and stores might or might not have them anymore.

dbqer

Mentor

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22 Messages

5 years ago

I've had good success with Microcell's off eBay. All have been the older white versions but they only last a couple of years. They are not repairable so it's a throw away item. You need to read the eBay ad's wisely, look for one new or never used, don't buy one from a "career" ebay seller. They have come down in price so look for one that is no more then $60 and that would include shipping. Last one I got was 30 bucks with shipping.

 

The AT&T minions want you to switch to wi-fi calling but that's no excuse for pi$$ poor cell phone coverage. It's a MOBILE phone, your supposed to take it with you and use it. What are supposed to stop at a McDonald's in your travels so you can use their wi-fi to make a call? You know how many french fries you would have to eat?

 

 

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

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19.6K Messages

5 years ago

@hsweiss - as WiFi-C becomes more widely used, the MicroCell will eventually go away, but not anytime soon. AT&T will just have to decide on when to cut the cord and deal with the remaining folks who haven't, or want to, upgrade to newer phones that are WiFi-C capable. Unfortunately it does sound like your MicroCell has died so your choices are to either purchase a new one, get a phone that is WiFi-C capable, or purchase a cellular booster.

 

@dbqer - purchasing off of eBay is fine if one keeps in mind what to look for as listed in my Tech Guide. As far as coverage goes, that is the biggest complaint for any of the carriers. AT&T is not solely responsible for deciding on where to locate towers for better coverage. FCC, local restrictions/requirements, licensing, tower sharing,  etc all have a part in determining how well coverage will be. As far as using "wifi to make a call at McDonalds", if that's how your making/receiving calls then you can do WiFi-C at home. The MicroCell is not a WiFi device.

dbqer

Mentor

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22 Messages

5 years ago

"Expert" it's called a MOBILE phone!!! How is wifi-c going to help me when I'm not home? If microcells are going away, HOW COME I CAN STILL BUY ONE FROM AT&T?!?

 

Constructive

Employee

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30.4K Messages

5 years ago

there are some cities that most of the city is WiFi enabled i believe a big chunk of San Francisco is WiFi enabled (could be wrong) but as more and more cities get WiFi enabled the WiFi calling would be the new mainstream here's a link to city wide WiFi enabled areas

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipal_wireless_network#United_States

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