- edited 06-30-2013 7:47 AM by Taylarie
I'm now on my 3rd MicroCell device, where AT&T thinks that may be the issue. After reading a number of these posts, I can't believe the techs (tiers 1-4) seem to deny other people are reporting these issues in my neighborhood.
In in the epicenter of 3 towers, all within a mile of my home--with a 4th tier within 1.5 miles. It's a known gray area of no-to-weak signal from the towers 6-8 blocks east to west, and 2-4 blocks north to south).
I've fought with service here (metro Denver) for 8 years--and with my MicroCell(s) for 2 years and a month. I've tried a central home ("bad") location, 3 window 1st floor locations, and now 2 - 2nd floor locations. Randomly throughout the days and nights I lose M-Cell signal and acquire tower signal for about a minute--killing my connectivity.
Of I'm on a voice call, it goes silent, still counting down seconds of the call, while holding both call parties to each other for about 45 seconds--unable to hang up.
At night I listen to very quite music with my iPhone 4S docked next to my bed via my WiFi connection. Every time my signal switched and searches for the tower(s), I'm awakened by the much louder radio wave static running through my stereo speakers at sound level 7 or so. This goes on 5 -15 times a night. Gotta love that no?!
I've paid AT&T approximate $15,000 for two phones on the plan in eight years. I'd think for $15,000 this ought to be remedied. Do the imaginable math for all the rest of us poor suckers and, well . . . It's unfathomable how we're getting this kind of LACK of appropriate care and service.
AT&T needs to finally and fully make this right. As I said, I'm in the middle of Denver, Colorado. No buildings, power lines, or any other obstructions. Just a hole in the way they're pointing g their towers--and an entirely dysfunctional "fix" they call a MicroCell.
I am *terribly* unhappy. And I've spent truly countless hours going over this with countless techs of all tiers.
FIX IT AT&T.
06-30-2013 6:55 AM
06-30-2013 6:53 AM
06-30-2013 7:33 AM
06-30-2013 9:09 AM
Which iPhone and iOS do you have. Have your tried to Reset Network Settings on your iPhone? How exactly do you have your MicroCell setup and do you have any phone problems when you are outside of MicroCell range?
06-30-2013 8:15 AM
06-30-2013 9:17 AM
I've asked you a couple of questions in your other post. We should keep this discusssion to one post to as to avoid confusion. Handing off generally keeps your phone connected to AT&T similar to when you are on the road and move from tower range to tower range. With the MicroCell, some have dropped a call if they are talking and switch from the tower to the MicroCell. In-home, there is no handing off. It sounds like you are losing connection for some reason and the phone is looking for a signal. If both signals are weak and the phone can't lock on, the connection is dropped. As I asked in the other post, we need to know exactly how you have your MicroCell setup (location, orientation of the MicroCell, connection to your router, distance from a window, ISP details (speed, connection type).
- edited 06-30-2013 2:06 PM
Thank you Otto Pylot for responding to the problems I've been having for so long.
I've talked indepth with so many AT&T techs at various tiers over the last two years. It would be a miracle and a blessing if you were able to actually get my "system" to function properly.
1. I'm currently using an iPhone 4S with the most up-to-date iOS: 6.1.3 (for the 4S iPhone).
2. I've just completed resetting my Network Settings again as you asked. (I'd done this before with the previous MicroCell while working with an AT&T tech, and it never made a difference--but I've just done it again.)
3. I've relocated my MicroCell all over my home and tested it, in order to toubleshoot my issues.
a. Started out with it centrally located in the interior of my home.
b. In the last week I've placed it directly in front of each of 5 different exterior window glass panes -- three of these were on the first floor, and then two of them on the second floor when the first floor window locations failed. These have been on the north, south and east sides of my home.
4. My phone functions very well whenever I have a decent tower signal, anywhere I travel outside the house, with the exception of being directly outside my home--for as I explained before (pretty sure it's in this thread) that I'm in a known and acknowledged weak signal area in the epicenter of three towers each located within a mile of me, and yet another (4th tower) located within 1.5 miles. There is a "gray" area indicated on AT&T's own techs' map(s) which shows about 6 - 8 blocks (east to west) and about 2 - 5 blocks (north to south) which is affected due to the direction the towers are pointed in--missing this center area of the triangle of service which they create.
In trying to keep my response to your two inquiry posts, I'll try to respond to your other post's qustions/comments below, here:
1. It may be true that it is my iPhone which is losing connection (and not the MicroCell--which I don't think is the case)--but in response to your comment that, "In-home, there is no handing off," this is a slightly complex situation so I've heard from the upper techs, and from a newer function/option which I explained also in my previous post. Below I've copied the explanation of AT&T's newer option they've enabled for us, specifically for those whose MicroCell signal may be low, and the tower signal strong enough to cause our devices actually to Handoff to the tower from the MicroCell. A tech I spoke with earlier in June (2013) informed me of this new option and led me to the page where the option to enable/disable the MicroCell's "handoff" may be controlled by us in our settings (below is the pop-up explanation of this feature):
"Disabling Automatic Hand-Out may improve dropped call performance in some situations. Note: If you select Disable, calls won't transfer from the 3G MicroCell to the strongest available AT&T tower signal when you leave the MicroCell signal range. Stay within reasonable range of the MicroCell when you are on a MicroCell call, to avoid a dropped call. The Disable selection applies to all numbers on the approved user list."
This is labeled "Automatic Hand-Out" and has two radio button options to select either "Enable," or "Disable."
As I wrote above, the tech explained that the MicroCell will itself (and not our mobile device) hand-off the signal under the particular circumstances I explained earlier above in this very post.
I have experienced watching my phone randomly lose the MicroCell signal, then search and locate the tower signal, only to return back to the MicroCell signal with 5 bars of signal strength within about 30 - 45 seconds after establishing the tower signal. I've also witnessed the signal strength green icon light on the MicroCell go "down" and relight once the tower signal is reestablished.
** One of the issues one of the techs I've spoken with explained that there can sometimes be circumstances where the MicroCell (or our mobile phones) can find a conflict (or interference) when the signal from more than one tower can "confuse" the device and cause (what I assume is) an attempted "hand-off" from one tower to another.
Likely, I'm now imagining this might be causing my MicroCell (in its switching signal origins from one tower to another) to temporarily drop the signal as it begins picking up the signal from the other tower. Once the "new" tower signal is established, that is when my "M-Cell" icon on my iPhone returns within seconds with the 5 bars of strength again (as well as the MicroCell's signal icon). This goes on randomly all day and all night long. I've kept my eye on the process at my bedside, as I listen to the very very quiet music as I sleep--notating the 5 bars of M-Cell strength, only to be interrupted randomly all night long, locating the tower signal (which presents that loud static sound in my stereo speakers which my phone is docked in) and returning to the 5 bars of M-Cell strength again. Currently, my MicroCell is in my bedroom window, which I can view when the search for signal causes the stereo static--and I verify that the MicroCell's own signal icon is down and recyling as well.
2. Re: Internet Info: I have a pretty decent internet upgraded connection speed--which is hardwired directly via my Century Link (formerly Qwest) phone land line. I just now performed another speed test (which has always been consistent with these numbers--I have not had internet issues):
a. Download Speed: 11262 kbps
b. Upload Speed: 4553 kbps
My MicroCell is connected directly via an ethernet Cat 6 cable to my modem, which is connected by cable to my incoming phone line as stated above.
3. Also as mentioned earlier, I've had my MicroCell located directly on the window sills of five windows, with 1 - 2 inches of space between the MicroCell and these window panes (parallel to the windows if that is significant). All the lights are lit up on the MicroCell (with the exception of when I can see the MicroCell's lowest light--the signal bars icon) shut down as the MicroCell reorients and searches for the tower(s)' signals.
4. Recall that my home is approximately equidistant from three towers around me--I'm at the center pretty much of all of them--thus there may be an issue with "which tower signal to choose from."
Thank you so very much for taking the time to help me with this. It has been a challenging and painful experience now for over two years--and the AT&T techs have done little more, effectively, than acknowledge I'm having trouble.
06-30-2013 2:39 PM
After reseting my Network Settings on my iPhone 4S (current iOS), my MicroCell is still dropping connection with the tower and attempting to re-establish connection with either the same one or another of the other two local (within one mile) towers. My last test call terminated in 2 minutes.
06-30-2013 9:06 PM
Let me get this straight. The MicroCell is connected via it's Ethernet port to the ethernet port of your modem. As long as both ends of the Cat-6 cable are wired the same (which they should be if you bought pre-terminated cable) then that's fine. Cat-6 is not necessary but it certainly can't hurt. And from your cable modem/gateway your connected directly to the copper phone line via, I'm assuming a wall jack (RJ-11 connector). So, you don't have a separate router on your system?
I would check with your cable company to see if they are blocking any ports (see the MicroCell Troubleshooting Guide for the ports that need to be open as well as the basic modem/router requirements). The link is in my sig. It appears that you have solid GPS and internet connection, you just seem to lose connectivity to the AT&T servers.
Two story houses can be a problem depending on where you put the MicroCell. If it's upstairs then the signal could be getting interferred with by a local tower if you're trying to use your phone from downstairs and vice versa. I'm assuming you don't use your landline connection for anything else (like voice or fax). For example, my landline is dual purpose. Voice and DSL. I've filtered the voice line at the MPOE so there's no interference on voice calls and have run a single, dedicated line from the MPOE directly to the office where it is terminated with an RJ-11 connector. From there it's a single line directly to the DSL gateway -> router -> MicroCell. If there is a bad or corroded connection in your house wiring that could contribute to loss signal, but I would think that your internet would show that as well. If your cable speeds fluctuate, which is not uncommon in multiple homes serviced by the same juncture box, that could cause some connection issues with the MicroCell.
It appears that where ever you put the MicroCell the results are the same. So I'd suggest picking a spot for the MicroCell and modem, and leaving it there. Once all the lights are solid green (power, ethernet, GPS, and 3G) you should be set. Once all is ready, I'd do a hard reset on the MicroCell (holding in the reset button on the back for 30 seconds) and let it go thru the boot sequence/activation cycle again. If all is well, then try it. Everytime you reboot the MicroCell it performs an activation sequence and part of that is acquiring a cell tower signal, noting it's signal strength, and then adjusting the MicroCell output accordingly. The tower output should be consistent but if it's not, then the MicroCell output strength will be different. That's why it's best to find a location that you are happy with, and leave it. GPS lock is essential at all times but some have found that the location of the MicroCell next to a window is not convenient in relationship to where they want the modem/router to be. In that case, you can use an GPS extension antenna and locate the MicroCell as far away as 25' or longer from a window.
So, find a good spot in your home, wait for activation to complete, and leave it. Contact your cable company to see if they are blocking any of the necessary ports and make sure that the basic router requirements are being met, which IP Sec Pass-through enabled and Block Fragmented Packets enabled. Check your cables for anything obvious and we'll take it from there. Your documentation seems to be pretty thorough so you could PM CustomerCare (see link in my sig) and see what they can do. They are usually a bit more up to speed on things than phone support. Tell them I sent you
- edited 07-07-2013 3:43 PM
Hello again Otto Pylot,
Thank you so very much for you detailed and considerate reply regarding my MicroCell issues.
I've done quite a lot of troubleshooting, experimentation, long long and countless conversations with AT&T techs (including finally their dedicated upper echelon MicroCell team of experts -- who are above and beyond the regular techs that also deal with fielding MicroCell questions).
Here's where I'm at at this point.
Again--my issue is that on average, about every 45 minutes throughout a 24 hour day, my MicroCell loses its connection with the internet; leaving my iPhone 4S to search out macrotower signals (there are 3 towers all within one mile of my home); followed by the MicroCell making connection via the internet within about 30 - 45 seconds and bringing my phone back online with the MicroCell instead of the towers. (*Note: I'm in the direct center "dead zone" of all three of these towers--an area approximately 3 blocks east to west, and maybe 6-8 blocks north to south. This, under macrotower circumstances, can sometimes cause confusion with which signal my phone would attempt to use. However, as you'll read below, it appears it's only an issue with the MicroCell's loss of internet connection which precedes any phone/tower interactions.)
My phone is an AT&T version iPhone 4S.
My iOS is up-to-date using 6.1.3.
My CISCO MicroCell (now my 4th) is the latest update from January 2013 (internal hardware/software).
I've also reset my phone's Network Settings, but don't believe this is affecting the issue (as you'll read below).
1. My Century Link (formerly Qwest) DSL internet connection *is* in fact combined (as you described your own) with my voice land line. I've run a CAT 5 cable from the MPOE (where the phone line enters my basement wall) directly to my ZyXEL Q1000Z modem that Century Link provided me with. (Funny--I cannot find this modem listed in all of ZyXEL's models on their website--which I find odd.)
As far as literally "filtering" this CAT 5 cable; there is no actual "filter" installed there. I just inspected that configuration and discovered that there is/are filter(s) for the other telephone/computer lines which lead away from the MPOE; but my CAT 5 wire to the Modem has no "filter" between it and its direct connection with the incoming Century Link wires.
2. I've now (as of Saturday 07.06.13) replaced my CISCO MicroCell with a 4th unit (techs thinking there still may/must be something disfunctional with the unit). This has not solved my issue.
3. I've designated Port Forwarding within my Q1000Z modem for the MicroCell (using its IP address) for the following ports which the techs had me do (and which are in the MicroCell User Guide:
AND . . . now, 3052 as well.
In addition, one of the techs discovered, upon my re-registration attempts with the new MicroCell, that there was an error message received:
"(210) Unable to connect to HNB-GW. HOst: [my external modem's IP here] Port: 3052. No response."
Thus I enabled that Port as well in Port Forwarding settings of the modem, and power cycled (hard reset as well) and the activation process completed successfully.
4. The techs also had me enable the DMZ Hosting for the MicroCell (via its IP address), which places the LAN device (the MicroCell) outside the firewall. This seems redundant possibly as the firewall is disabled.
5. I've now experimented using six different windows to activate the MicroCell(s) (three on the first floor, and three on the second floor). This has not seemed to have been the issue in retrospect, and has had no differentiating effect.
6. At your and the techs' suggestion, I've also returned the MicroCell to its centrally located (in the home) location which is not as close to any windows; and hard reset the device as you suggested to reconfigure its signal strength, etc. That also has not resulted in correcting the MicroCell's random loss of internet connection.
Note that it does not appear to be an issue of my phone losing connection with the MicroCell--but instead, the MicroCell's loss of connection with the internet, and the resultant phone's loss of MicroCell signal.
7. The check for configurations/settings you recommended (and I've seen are in the guidelines for an ActionTec Modem model Q1000--my former modem) for the "IP Sec Pass-through enabled and Block Fragmented Packets enabled," etc. are not available configurations within my replacement modem Century Link gave me (the ZyXEL Q1000Z model)--so I can't deal with that. I did call for tech help with Century Link (which these days are less than helpful) who only told me that from what they could see, my internet connection is testing fine. "Period." When I asked them about these other details about "Fragment Packets, IP Sec Pass-through, etc. they told me that was not the problem. "Period," again. No help there. My line tested fine.
8. I've run various Ping tests (both singular and dual simultaneous tests for two different sites at the same time). All tests showed consistent internet connectivty with no issues.
When I've observed the MicroCell's loss of internet connection, I checked out the Ping tests--and both sites being Pinged showed "OK" for quite a period before, during, and after the MicroCell's drop(s) with the internet. And all my other deivices connected to the internet (ethernet or WiFi) are running without issues. So I'm thinking it's not an "obvious" interntet connection issue.
9. I was able to briefly speak with a CISCO tech on the phone, who's intuition was that it was not the MicroCell or the modem, but that there were possibly some issues between AT&T and Century Link which would call for both companies' engineers to speak to one another to run tests and figure it out. I can't apparently get that to happen on either end no matter how I stand on my head. This was something to do with his guess that "it's something involving the interconnect between Century Link and AT&T's interconnect tunnels getting reset, building . . . and if broken then conversation btwn AT&T and Qwest Century Link gets disdrupted." Maybe you'd likely understand what he was getting at--but the high tiered MicroCell Special Team could not help out with that concept unfortunately, while they seemed to understand what I was getting at. Century Link, again, is not cooperative in this matter (so far).
** I'm rather at a loss. Do you think the simple installation of a filter between the incoming Century Link line and my modem could be the issue? No one has asked about that except for you.
I really would rather not be purchasing and interconnecting another router and new configuration pathway for all this--as millions of folks have MicroCells (or FEMTOCELLs) that work without these issues, just by plugging them in. The techs are stumped.
Again, thank you so much Otto--anything you might suggest from here is greatly appreciated.
- edited 07-07-2013 5:20 PM
First of all I made a mistake in one of my answers to you. Block Fragement Packets should be disabled, not enabled.
The only place you need to filter your DSL is for your voice line. If you have a direct connection from the MPOE (from the same terminals that the incoming voice line is on) to your modem, with nothing else connected to that line, then you don't need to filter it. I have my DSL filter for my voice line attached to the test line jack which connects the original house wiring to the MPOE. That way, all of my voice line RJ-11 jacks are filtered at the outside box so I don't have to have any dongles hanging off of my phone lines. I installed the DSL line to my computer room myself. It was not part of the original house wiring.
You seem to have three things going against you. One, the location of your house in proximity of three towers. Two, a two-story home, and three, your ISP. The fact that you are on your 4th MicroCell indicates to me that it's not the MicroCell per se but your location and ISP.
The three local towers could have varying output signals which are competing with the MicroCell's signal. That can create havoc with your phone not knowing which signal to lock onto, and stay locked onto. Keep WiFi on. You should be able to Message etc with no problems because it's not voice. I don't think the 4S's are LTE capable so you should keep that option off so as to not have your phone look for a protocol that it can't support.
Two story homes are problematic at times because of height differences which affects signal propagation, building materials, etc. That's why I suggested finding the sweetest spot you can and leaving it. You could try an external GPS antenna which would give you a little more flexibility in locating the MicroCell away from a window if a windowless wall seems to work better. Some have had success using PowerLIne Adapters so that you can have the MicroCell further away from the router and not have to mess with ethernet cables across the floors etc.
Your ISP could be the problem. I wouldn't bother with port 3052 because it's not needed for the MicroCell to connect to the AT&T servers. Putting the MicroCell into the DMZ and port forwarding is counter-productive so I wouldn't do that concurrently. Is your DSL line static (fixed IP address) or dynamic (as in PPoE)? PPoE lines seem to cause problems for some when AT&T needs to periodically check your MicroCell. It is possible that an upstream provider could have a faulty switch but that can only be determined by your ISP and possibly AT&T. This requires your ISP to go above and beyond to help you because they don't understand, or care about, the MicroCell. If you can get to the interent, that's all that matters to them.
1.The MicroCell needs to be within 18" of a window with an unobstructed view of the sky and at least 2' away from a WiFi device. External GPS antennas and PowerLine Adapters can be used to "customize" those requirements as need be. GPS connection must be maintained at all times because location is periodically checked by AT&T. Also make sure that the MicroCell is positioned horizontally to the window (the side of the unit is facing the window if you are looking at it straight on with the lights facing you).
2. DHCP needs to enabled as well as IPSec Pass-though. Block Fragmented Packets needs to be disabled.
3. Ports to forward to a static MicroCell IP address are, Public and Private;
4. Only one device can be performing NAT, modem or router, not both. A double NAT will result in loss of connectivity.
5. Connect your MicroCell using the Ethernet port only, not the Computer port. Check the integrity of all of your cables.
6. Insure that you have uninterrupted power to the MicroCell (stable electical outlet and the ac adapter is not too hot to touch).
7. Leave WiFi on the phone and disable LTE. Reset Network Settings on the iPhone and hard reset the MicroCell.
8. Try Priority setup which is connecting the MicroCell directly to the modem, by-passing the router altogether. You should be able to connect quickly with a solid green Power, Internet (ethernet), GPS, and 3G. Once connected, leave it for a few days and see what happens. This is your 4th MicroCell, so if you lose connection to the AT&T servers (blinking green 3G), something is wrong with your connection thru your ISP to the AT&T side of things and probably not the MicroCell.
9. If your iPhone works as expected outside of your MicroCell range, then it's not your phone. Is your area already 4G/LTE or is AT&T upgrading the area (which requires tower maintenance)?
I know you've done all of those but that's the checklist to go over. Those are the minimum things that need to be in place for reliable MicroCell use and some of them will probably require a little extra help from your ISP in determining status. The most critical are points 2, 3, and 4. I have heard of AT&T "resetting" the iPhones from their end but I'm not sure what that means. They could just be tweaking your account settings but I know that has helped a couple of people. Whether it's no more than what you can do with your iPhone (Reset Network Settings ) or not, I don't know.
Let us know.
- edited 07-08-2013 10:43 PM
Again, thanks Otto.
Today I spent about four hours on the phone bouncing back and forth between AT&T's techs (their "Case Management" team which handles MicroCell issues, and their "Enhanced Support for 3G MicroCell" team which is supposed to be the highest wisest batch of MicroCell techs, which is actuall a special division of Asurion Insurance responding on AT&T's part), Century Link (formerly Qwest Communications), ZyXEL (who makes the modem/router combo I have), attempted (and failed) conference calls with the "Enhanced Support for 3G MicroCell" team, Cisco Systems, and myself. Those atttempted conference calls, and even callback calls from the "Enhanced" team and myself all ended in dropped calls as the "Enhanced" team's phone system constantly dropped calls--from putting me on hold, attempting the conferencing, and/or even simply calling me back. There were somewhere around 20 to 30 calls at least that failed. Every other call I made (and these were all using my Century Link land lind) to others, and to AT&T's "actual" teams within the AT&T family of techs (and not the "Asurion" backup outsource team) were fine.
Finally, I convinced a tech at AT&T's "Case Management" team to try conferencing with Cisco. All he ever got (as well as the one time the "Enhanced" team tech got that almost connected us) was a voicemail greeting at Cisco's tech team's extension. A number of those attempts and the AT&T tech gave up--the Cisco techs will not speak with you (me) without an AT&T person conferencing us (told to me last week when I surprisingly caught one offguard, and who wanted to know just how I got through to him)--and this week they've made it impossible to make a conference call, even when AT&T calls, announcing who they are (a company that purchases literally millions of Cisco's MicroCells--even they don't have any clout).
In my one first call this afternoon to a Century Link (Qwest) tech (again, they handle my land line voice and internet via fiber optics where I am), their tech acknowledged (finally) that there is a known issue between the Cisco MicroCell and their supplied ZyXEL Q1000Z modem/router whereby the internet is randomly being dropped. Finally after two years and the last very intense three weeks of chasing this all around the place, they've admitted an issue with the modem's firmware.
The Century Link tech told me that their latest firmware update was supposed to have addressed this issue and fixed it.
We of course, again, verified that I actually have this most current firmware update installed--which I do, and did a couple weeks ago when we checked it the first time (before I was aware of the known issue they advised of today).
There are no more things I can try, or set, anywhere. It is a failed product and/or firmware.
Tomorrow I'm hoping that Century Link will replace my moden/router combo with a new alternative: the ActionTec C1000A, which (after also having a long online chat with an ActionTec chat operator) I understand has all the configuations available as does their earlier model, the Q1000 (which is referenced with setting instructions in the AT&T PDF Troubleshooting Guide you've linkded many of us to). The online chat operator insisted that it was compatible with the MicroCell (and had superior performance), and, it was one of the modems which was given to me by Century Link as being compatible with their system.
Otto . . . I'm tired. I've spent truly countless hours, days, with this. While I'm not an expert, I'm pretty astute. This is truly an awful lot of neglegence in a few different places. Of course--everyone is nice, pleasant and truly wants to help. And I'm polite and respectful of every single person I've ever spoken with--for it's not any individual agent's or tech's fault. But truly, I've been through absolute h e l l and back. . . . No--I'm not back.
Thank you Otto for bein' 'round here and helping everyone out.
- edited 07-09-2013 8:29 AM
chilangoboy, I'm sorry the root of the issue hasn't been identified. Thank you Otto Pylot for sticking with chilangoboy and trying to get this resolved.
It's sounds like you've already engaged everyone within the company to help. You can always send us a Private Message and we can see if there's anything else we can do.
- edited 07-09-2013 8:57 AM
I replied to your other post. Hopefully a different gateway/router combo will work. As I indicated in my other post, my DSL gateway is an older ZyXEL set to bridge mode and the router is an Apple Extreme Base Station (which was never one of the listed routers in the AT&T MicroCell setup instructions). I think it's a switch configuration somewhere within Century Link or the fact that you have three overlapping towers so close to you. This is definitely one of the more difficult situations I've encountered and am not quite willing to give up, yet. There's always someone somewhere who just can't get it to work for unknown reasons and you just may be that person. Not very encouraging I know but this has been very frustrating for me, and I can't even imagine how it's been for you.
@ATTJulieCS - thanks
Visit these related resourcesView New to AT&T!