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hikw-qedxw's profile

Contributor

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3 Messages

Fri, Oct 19, 2018 2:34 PM

Wifi-Calling completely unreliable

I currently have two MicroCells in use in my house that just work without any problems.   However, AT&T has decided to kill off the MicroCells and force people, in sparse coverage areas, to migrate to WIFI-Calling.

Wifi-Calling is horrible regardless of the ISP, bandwidth, or proximity to the Access Points.

What makes it horrible?

  1. The 10-15 second audio delay
  2. The number of successfully received calls is only 3-5 out of a 100.
  3. Text messages are delayed several hours, or cached until connected to mobile network again.
  4. When Wifi-Calling is active my device shows that I am in a different time-zone and Google location service says I'm 750-1150 miles away from my actual location.
    Turn off the Wifi-Calling and my location immediately goes back to my actual location.

I get same the results with four different devices, multiple ISPs, at multiple locations, and multiple cities.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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89.2K Messages

3 y ago

 

   Since others (and I mean no one) are having the 4 problems you list, I have to suspect Wifi calling is not even on or being used.  

Wifi calling is not ‘wifi’.   Wifi calling is a special feature on most android phones AT&T sells (or at least branded AT&T) and all iPhones 6 and newer.  It is not on by default.  

   What phones do you have?

    If android, are they At&T brand ?

https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/features/wifi-calling.html

 

RE 4.   Location service without a cellular connection, using Wifi only, will be the location of the ISP.  This is why you must enter your E-911 address.  This is true with any Wifi device.    My computer thinks it’s in Rhode Island because that’s where my Cox isp is.

 

 

 

Contributor

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3 Messages

3 y ago

Thanks for your time and effort of replying.

Yes, ISP location usually works that way; however, that does not explain why four devices using the same access point with a static IP address receive different locations from three different states.   My ISP is not a national company, it is a local area cooperative.  Using WhatIsMyIPAdress my IP address shows the actual city I live in.   All four devices use the same address for their E911 address.  So I ask how does one(1) IP address receive four different physical locations?  It can't.

Well today this problem has been elevated to a new level.  This morning a vehicle near my house blew a tire and went of the road where the exhaust system started a wild fire. 


One family member grabbed their AT&T branded iPhone8+ and dialed 911.  They were connected to King County 911 in Seattle, WA.  The person that answered in the 911 center threatened to prosecute a false call to 911, I told my family member to give them my info and have them file a compliant.  At this point I dialed 911 from my AT&T branded Samsung Note9 and I was talking to a 911 call center in Los Angeles County, CA.   The person asked what my emergency was in Victorville, CA. I answered that I was in Oregon. I was then asked me if I was using AT&T Wifi-Calling.  (Now that is a definite red flag.)  The person took the info about why I was calling then told me they would try to forward it to the right authority, then instructed me to wait no more than 3 minutes and if I don't receive a return call turn off the Wifi-Calling and call 911 again.   About 90 seconds later Douglas County 911 called my number telling me they received a call from LA County 911 and said they had already received other calls for the same incident.
(Luckily there were no injuries, just the fire. Now if there were injuries and my family member and I were the only ones to call 911 would rescue personnel/medical help arrived soon enough?  I don't think so.)

They sent an officer to my residence once the fire was under control.  We discussed how I ended up talking to LA County 911, and got a real odd look when I informed them about the other incident with King County 911.  I asked the officer to connect his AT&T branded iPhone to my Wifi, he then turned on the Wifi-Calling and dialed the local 911 center via a direct dial number.  The dispatcher asked how and why he was in Cheney, WA (SSW of Spokane near Idaho border.)  He then had me call the same number and the dispatcher reported that my phone was reporting I was in Victorville, CA.(which I already knew), my other family members iPhone reported it was on the Nisqually Indian Reservaton near Yelm, WA south of Tacoma.   The officer suggested we add the direct dial number for Douglas County 911 to all of our family's phones to use when at home on Wifi-Calling.

So three AT&T branded phones, one of which I do not own, using WIFI-Calling within the same house using the same IP address where showing three different locations hundreds of miles apart.  This to me indicates a routing problem within AT&T wireless system rather than problems on individual handsets. 
I would also say this is a problem that cannot be resolved within this forum.  So I am going to mark your reply as the solution and call it good.

I am going to complain about this to AT&T again, but this time will I have the case numbers from the three different government agencies that will be inquiring with AT&T why this is happening also.
- LA County, CA 911 services
- King County Metro, WA 911 services

- Douglas County, OR  Law Enforcement

 

 

QuarryRye

Master

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3.2K Messages

3 y ago

As @lizdance40 said, when you're connected to Wi-Fi Calling, the location of the phones comes entirely from the Wi-Fi's ISP. The locations tied to IP addresses are completely unreliable, because IP addresses have no built-in connection to a physical location, and the system associated with them can change over time. That's why you're required to put in the home address into the Wi-Fi Calling settings, because the location from the Wi-Fi is unreliable. AT&T has absolutely nothing to do with it, and you proved that by turning off Wi-Fi Calling and getting the correct location over AT&T's cellular network.

 

Edit: typos

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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89.2K Messages

3 y ago

Local area cooperative?  And are they buying service from a national company?  Which is how most of them work.  They resell service purchased from one or more major company

 

Contributor

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3 Messages

3 y ago

Nope.  I have airplane mode turned on, GPS turned off, then turn on wifi. (That means my location is only obtained from GeoIP location services, because the phone only has internet access via my residential gateway connected directly to LS Networks.) Before I turn on Wifi-Calling my location is precisely centered on my residence without GPS. (This means my GeoIP location for my Public IP address is extremely accurate.)  However, after I turn on the Wifi-Calling my location immediately switches to a location in another state. (This seems like a VPN is being used.)  Turn of the Wifi-Calling and my location goes back to my residence.
Now after a few days of testing this same setup on multiple ISPs  I get basically the same results.  My location before turning on Wifi-Calling at least has me in the correct city and state, but my location after turning on Wifi-Calling always jumps to a city in another state.
So on another day I again turned on Airplane Mode, turned on only the Wifi, then took my Cisco NextGen Firewall and started monitoring all traffic to and from my AT&T Branded Samsung Note9.  Before Wifi-Calling is enabled I can identify multiple SSL connections to and from the Note9 going to applications such as Facebook, Google, Email servers, Samsung, Dropbox, Adobe, WhatsApp, and so on.  Then when I turn on Wifi-Calling all those individual connections are immediately replaced by a SINGLE IPSec VPN tunnel. At this point my AT&T branded phone takes on the associated location properties of the VPN server's WAN connection. (In this instance it was Cheney, WA., instead of my physical location near Roseburg, OR.)  Now I turn off the Wifi-Calling feature, and the IPsec VPN tunnels disconnects, and all of the individual SSL connections to the various applications reappear again.  This is the reason dialing 9-1-1 on a Wifi-Calling(VoIP) connection results in routing errors to the correct call center.  Then to complicate things further the automated network load balancing mechanism occasionally shifts the VPN connection to a different server in a different city.
After demonstrating this to two AT&T engineers, service people from LS Networks, Lightcore(CenturyLink), and a local 911 call center IT staff member all of them came to the same conclusion.  I have now learned that each company is now petitioning the State Public Utility Commission to prohibit non-fixed(Mobile) VoIP devices dialing 9-1-1 for emergency services.

Sounds like a step in the right direction so far.
And the other thing I decided is to avoid Wifi-Calling completely unless there is absolutely no other alternative.

Thank you for your time.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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89.2K Messages

3 y ago

@hikw-qedxw

Wrote “  I have now learned that each company is now petitioning the State Public Utility Commission to prohibit non-fixed(Mobile) VoIP devices dialing 9-1-1 for emergency services.“.    

Pardon?    

Do I understand correctly that these companies are asking for 911 not to be accessed via mobile?  

Thats ridiculous.  

So if they had their way, A person on the road Would have to know the number for local police?  What is this the 1970’s?  

   And as far as I understand, cellular and internet services are not public utilities.  

 

GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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22.3K Messages

3 y ago


@lizdance40 wrote:

@hikw-qedxw

Wrote “  I have now learned that each company is now petitioning the State Public Utility Commission to prohibit non-fixed(Mobile) VoIP devices dialing 9-1-1 for emergency services.“.    

Pardon?    

Do I understand correctly that these companies are asking for 911 not to be accessed via mobile?  

Thats ridiculous.  

So if they had their way, A person on the road Would have to know the number for local police?  What is this the 1970’s?  

   And as far as I understand, cellular and internet services are not public utilities.  

 


@lizdance40

 

yeah e911 is not going anywhere.  And yes Cellular and Internet are not public utilities and are not regulated at the state level PERIOD.  It is also why ATT requires you to enter a valid 911 address when signing up for wifi calling.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_9-1-1

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