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OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

 • 

12.7K Messages

Mon, Apr 17, 2017 7:11 PM

Help! My MicrcoCell Doesn't Work!

Microcell art.jpg

 

Help!  My Microcell Doesn't Work!

by @OttoPylot

Recipient of the Award for Community Excellence in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

 

 

“My MicroCell doesn’t work” is the most common complaint that we see on the MicroCell Forum. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give us much to work with because we don’t know what’s not working.  There can be lots of reasons why your MicroCell has “stopped working” so the following are some of the more common issues. A more detailed description is given in my Tech Guide on how the MicroCell works, common issues, and potential fixes.

 

First and foremost, there is no functional difference between the older, white MicroCell and the newer, black model.  Both are still 3G and the only real differences are the loss of the Computer port, external antenna port, and a smaller footprint on the black model. A new MicroCell more than likely will not correct any issue(s) you may be experiencing.

 

LED Light Pattern

 

Letting us know which LED is flashing, and the color, helps us diagnose what the problem may be and which troubleshooting methods we should try first.

 

White MicroCell LED’s, top to https://forums.att.com/cng/attachments/cng/3gmicrocell/14725/23/MicroCell%20Technical%20Guide%20v2-1.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Tech Guide and on page 23 of the MicroCell Users Guide (DPH-154) under Firewall Settings. The requirements are fairly basic so most ISPs should have no difficulty meeting them. However, if your ISP supplies you with a router, modem, or gateway, you must make sure that it is not custom configured for your ISP with settings that may not be compatible with the MicroCell. AT&T cannot force an ISP to open ports that the ISP has closed for “security” reasons so unfortunately you must work with your ISP and not AT&T.

 

We also get many questions on how to check and/or configure routers for optimal MicroCell use. This is another area that we really can’t help you with. The reason being is that there are just too many routers/gateways available, with different firmware versions, customer setups, etc. for us, or AT&T to keep up with. It may sound harsh but we don’t want to be responsible for modifying a customer’s internet connection. That responsibility is between the customer and their ISP or device hardware manufacturer.

 

MicroCell issues can be either reported by phone or chat to AT&T Support, ATTMobilityCare (preferred), or posted here in the community.  If you can supply us with the basic information as indicated above the quicker we can hopefully get a resolution to you. If you choose to send a private message to ATTMobilityCare, please include a detailed description of your issue, what has been done to correct it, any trouble ticket numbers assigned to you, your account info, the best way for them to contact you, and your location.

 

OttoPylot

Recipient of the Award for Community Excellence in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot

 

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and 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.

2 Attachments

Responses

Voyager

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10 Messages

2 years ago

@OttoPylot I was able to get my MicroCell Tower up and running and have all four lights steady and locked in.  The only issue I'm running into now is the phones won't recognize or lock in to the MicroCell Tower.  The first day I locked it in I was able to get my S8+ to display MicroCell as the provider.  But since that day I can't get any of my S8's to connect.  I've gone into the settings and searched for MicroCell towers but no joy....any ideas?

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

 • 

12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@BeachBum2017 - turn your phones completely off, wait a minute or so, and then turn them back on. It could be that the phone needs to establish the MicroCell as part of its cellular neighborhood. 

 

Android-based phones have always had an issue with the MicroCell, and it's been mostly due to the phones's OS and not the MicroCell. However, if your phones are capable of WiFi-C (WiFi Calling), then enable that and not even bother with the MicroCell.

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and 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.

Voyager

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10 Messages

2 years ago

@OttoPylot

Thanks for all your help.  I've finally come to the conclusion my home internet is useless.  My provider is not AT&T so I can't blame it on them in this particular instance, but the WiFi-C doesn't work worth a flip at our place in the sticks, even with a WiFi repeater/extender that pushes my signal outside, way beyond the confines of my house.  That's why I am making every attempt to get the MicroCell working because when it works....it works well.  

 

I'll check on XDA Developers to see if I can find a solution to the Android issue that affects the MicroCell but sounds like it's a dying technology and won't be around very much longer.

 

Thanks again

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

 • 

12.7K Messages

2 years ago

You won't find anyone to help you with the MicroCell as far as your phone goes. As far as they are concerned it's an AT&T issue. Case closed. Just make sure that the MicroCell is disabled when you setup WiFi-C because the phone may not be able to "know" which technology to lock on to so it will try to connect to the MicroCell's 3G signal and your WiFi signal (for WiFi-C) simultaneously. Some phones can handle that bette than others. We just recommend disabling the MicroCell if you don't need it for other non-WiFi-C capable phones. WiFi-C is not to be confused with WiFi.

 

I use a mesh WiFi system (Netgrear Obi) and the coverage area is extensive and solid (a two-story house on a 1/2 acre).

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and 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.

Voyager

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10 Messages

2 years ago

@OttoPylot

Do you have any idea why the used MicroCell Towers are so expensive on eBay?  These things are going for at least $125.00 and upwards of $225.00.  Is there something special these things are good for I'm missing?

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

 • 

12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@BeachBum2017 - In a word, greed. There isn't really any functional difference between the older white MicroCell's and the latest black model. A lot of folks still don't know that sales of the MicroCell were discontinued at the end of 2017 because the MicroCell has reached its EOL. AT&T claims they will support them (what ever that means) thru this year at least, but my guess as we get closer to the end of this year support will dwindle to the point that they will just suggest you switch to WiFi-C (WiFi Calling), which is what we recommend now anyway. The service itself will be discontinued as well sometime in the future. There is nothing else you can use the MicroCell for. I have three of them and they look cool sitting on the shelf in my "electronics graveyard" section of my garage.

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and 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.

Voyager

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10 Messages

2 years ago

LIst them on eBay...mine is up to $227.00 on a bid!

Tutor

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6 Messages

2 years ago

I believe it is because they are being phased out and are hard to come by.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

 • 

12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@GDGreer1 - that is true. But once the service is discontinued they will become an expensive paperweight. That is if you can even register and activate them thru the MicroCell Settings page. Pity the poor soul who purchases one and it hasn't been deactivated by the original owner.

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and 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.

Tutor

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6 Messages

2 years ago

Question: Will they totally unplug the Microcell process? If not, all of the iPhone 5’s and older will still need them.

Traveler

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2 Messages

2 years ago

My MicroCell stopped working not long ago (just blinks red, telling me it is not functioning), so I tried your instructions to enable WiFi-Calling for our two iPhones (the wife has a 8s and I have a 6), and the quality of the calls is pretty bad. I have a high-end Orbi 3 satellite system which covers our home (and surrounding area) rather well, but still not much luck. Since I live in a crowded suburb of Los Angeles (Redondo Beach) which has no mountains... am amazed how our AT&T cellular service is not that good here (still!) and we get frequent dropouts on that. Is there any tweaks I should do to the Orbi configuration to help optimize the WiFi-Calling?

 

And, I did see you guide to cellular boosters, but, was wondering if you recommend some of the lower cost options ($400 for this one on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/weBoost-470101-Signal-Booster-Office/dp/B00RHMFQSA/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_sims?ie=UTF8#customerReviews) for use in a 2000 ft townhouse (3 levels) in a crowded suburban environment that I live in?

 

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

 • 

12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@JPinLA - I use WiFi-C  here with the Orbi Mesh system and call quality inside of the house (2 story) and anywhere on our half acre is perfect. The satellite upstairs is hardwired to the main unit downstairs but other than that, there aren't any "tweaks" that you can do to the Orbi system. We have an iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, and one of the newest iPhones. Even our older 5SE works just fine. Comcrap is our ISP.

 

You need to disable the MicroCell (turn power off) before you setup WiFi-C on your iPhones and I would also suggest you disable WiFi-Assist as well but leave WiFi on. I can't recommend a cellular booster system. You need to read carefully the return policy and possibly discuss your options with the cellular booster company that is mentioned in my Cellular Booster Guide: https://forums.att.com/cng/attachments/cng/3gmicrocell/14725/27/Cellular%20Booster%20Guide%20-%20v1.3.pdf

 

@GDGreer1 - Once AT&T begins to phase out their 3G network in lieu of newer technology (WiFi-C, 4G, 5G, etc) the MicroCell will cease to work. That process will probably begin sometime next year.

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and 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.

Traveler

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2 Messages

2 years ago

Otto,

 

Many thanks for the quick reply, and the guidance. I did have the not-functioning MCell powered down since it stopped being functional. After I posted the question, I poked around the NetGear Orbi support forum, and one bit of advice that others found useful for this exact problem (but not all reported good results) was to the "Disable SIP ALG" setting. I tried this and it seemed to have a good effect in my two test phone calls. We have Spectrum (new name, same so-so service, but a higher bill every other month) so perhaps they are causing this issue.

OttoPylot

ACE - Expert

 • 

12.7K Messages

2 years ago

@JPinLA - the MicroCell doesn't use the SIP ALG protocols but quite often they are mis-configured which can affect the MicroCell. This usually happens if one has another VoIP service that depends on them. However, I've never heard of SIP ALG interfering with WiFi-C because I have not disabled SIP ALG on my Orbi system and we have no issues at all with WiFi-C on any of our phones, or friend's phones who are WiFi-C capable.

 

WiFi-C on AT&T's network does require two of the same four ports that the MicroCell requires. If something affects those ports you will have poor WiFi-C or no WiFi-C at all. Spectrum (Charter) has all kinds of issues with the MicroCell and WiFi-C in general so it could very well be something that Spectrum is doing or has done.

Award for Community Excellence 2020 Achiever*
*I am not an AT&T employee, and 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.

Voyager

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2 Messages

a year ago

About a week ago, I had an issue where my black MicroCell would no longer connect, and I just got the blinking "bars" light.  The other three lights (power, Ethernet and GPS) were solid green.  I did a lot of the troubleshooting noted here, with no success.  I de-activated the unit via the AT&T web site, and the reactivation would not work, and I got e-mail and text messages from AT&T saying that the (re)activation had failed.

 

A call to AT&T support led me to do most of the same things I had already done.  They tried re-activating things from their end, and the re-activation also failed.  The support rep noted that she could "see" my unit connected via GPS, but the error code that was showing up indicated that the unit was unable to establish a VPN tunnel to AT&T.  She couldn't tell if the issue was at my end or AT&T's end, but I had no issues with my own network (Verizon FioS into my home).  At her direction I connected the MicroCell both to my FioS modem, and also directly to my wireless router via Ethernet cable.  Neither connection would work.


She then escalated the support request to AT&T Second Level support for further diagnosis and solution.  The next day I got an email and text message that the problem was successfully resolved, and indeed the MicroCell was then working just fine, with four bars on my phones and the "MCell" moniker at the top of the phones' displays.

 

So, evidently, the issue was on AT&T's end.

 

The support rep did confirm to me that AT&T is no longer selling the MicroCell units, but that they are still supporting them.  In case anyone is having problems with their MicroCell units, they are still able to support them via AT&T.

 

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