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HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

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HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

Hello,

 

   I figured it was worth posting here so I have yet to have success with anything else. 

 

Background

 

I live in an area almost exactly inbetween three AT&T cell phone towers, so subsequently my phone is constantly switching singnals from one tower to the other giving me very inconsistent service.  After diagnosing the problem with AT&T about six months ago they sent me a micro cell free of charge, and it worked absolutely fantastic until....

 

The Problem

 

About a week ago my microcell's 3g light started flashing, this had happened once or twice before so I performed a simple reset but it did not fix the problem like before.

 

  •   I tried resetting my modem, router, and microcell
  •   hard resetting my microcell for 30 seconds
  •   de-activing and re-activating my microcell twice
  •   checking my power cord to make sure it was the right voltage
  •   getting a replacement microcell sent to my house
  •   setting up my microcell in the alternate arrangement (modem-->microcell-->router)
  •   updating the firmware on my router

and none of these fixed the problems.

 

My current internet is about 30mbps DL and 10mbps upload so that isn't the problem

The ports on my router are all opened, and nothing has changed to effect that

 

After going extensively through the forums I am kind of at a loss of what to try next.  Any suggestions from people on the forums?

 

I am currently located in the East Bay of California (Alameda, CA)

 

Thanks very much.

 

-Frogis

 

 

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Message 7 of 305
ACE - Expert

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

Sounds like you have a fairly elaborate setup. The MicroCell likes to keep it simple, that's why the ports listed in the manual and my Tech Guide need to remain open. What you are doing is way beyond what most posters understand. You might want to start a new thread dedicated to pfSense users to keep the more advanced discussions in a separate thread so as to not confuse, or scare, the normal user.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

"Quick Tips: My Microcell Doesn't Work"


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 271 of 305
Tutor

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

A moderator is welcome to delete my posts if they are deemed to be "out there".  However, given the overall content here and the fact that this thread has been active for some months, I did not think I was out of line to post here.

Message 272 of 305
Mentor

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

I have 1 WAN and 4 LAN ports on my box here (was lucky to find a couple of cheap quad gigabit NIC's for my build). I hooked up the MCell to a dedicated LAN, only device on this lan was MCell....setup that one LAN port in Bridge Mode to WAN and disabled NAT set port forward ALL for the LAN IP and Firewall out ALL (even though this is default behavior for Pfsense). Basically the same setup. That way the Mcell was effectively tied straight to Internet, no NAT to flip ports, etc. The only thing the Pfsense box was providing was DHCP (I ran it awhile with and awhile without DHCP, just to see), which...according to several AT&T techs and one Network Engineer it doesn't have to have.it will work (if its going to work) just plugged into your modem,,,,it needs nothing else

.

Just proper power, GPS signal, and Internet.....................It has very simple requirements.

 

P.S. When I first installed the MCell is was only plugged into a standard 5 port switch (although Mcell doesn't require it I was getting DHCP from provider at time), my router and remaining network was plugged into another port............simple, clean solid and worked.

 

Worked great like that for over a year. As a matter of fact this was the exact hookup it quit working on............then tried standard routers (2 to be exact, a Cisco 1200 with DD-WRT and a Netgear WNR2000 all with proper fwds, ipsec passthru, etc)

 

From recent articles I've been reading it appears AT&T, T-Mobile and others are pushing the 4G-LTE systems and are either trimming down or just flat shutting down old systems.....and they are not being very forth coming or transparent when they do so............I truly suspect that (especially on low Mcell useage area's....read rural area's ) they are "trimming" the cell networks, cutting pwr levels, number of transmitter's receiver's, and backend support networks for lots of regular cell sites and Mcell area's (I talked with my IP Tech's and they said they have a lot of customer's who's AT&T Mcells have quit working permanently in their service area's in the last few months.....one or two's a fluke, more is a pattern).......All the money and efforts are going into replacing higher traffic sites with the new LTE and SIP-VOIP capable phones........the days of the Femocells (except....maybe, in select high density area's) is very nearly done.

 

Just my personal opinion,....feel free to ignore or flame me,...... but I don't think that (read the higher level management, not the average tech support person-I think they care, who is kept like a mushroom in the dark) don 't really care if they ever work. Just one less problem and ongoing cost on the way to LTE and VOIP Cellular.

 

I can't prove that statement................yet....... But I suspect one day we will wake up and many (still using older phones) will have very little time left to trot down to the "Store" for a new LTE/VOIP internet capable phone and new expensive locked in contract......if they want to continue having a working cellphone.

 

That said, hopefully your problem is just some glitch or unfinshed upgrades in your service area and eventually the Mcell will come back up and start working.

 

Sounds like your ISP is giving you some public IP's with your subscription.......I'd modify your setup if you can. Dedicate one LAN port if you have it free....not sure a Virtual IP would work, due to the fragmentation issue I would not think that a VLAN would work correctly.

 

Put the LAN in Bridge mode (if your system has System-Advanced Tab you may have to go and set net.link.bridge.pfil_bridge, under System Tunables to diable filtering on the LAN-WAN bridge.....not sure how 1.xxx ver works on that or if it might screw the rest of your setup....thats a good question for forums) to the WAN and disable the NAT, just make sure to setup a WAN Rule for ALL in from ANY and LAN ALL OUT to ANY and set the Lan IP to one of your External Public IP's..........you don't want any filtering or NATing (1:1 might be OK). I would just leave the MTU set to 1500 none of the recommended settings ever made a bit of difference on my setup. That allows plenty of headroom for extra bytes on the packets (that's why VLAN might not work, it adds additional bytes to the packets).

 

Sorry if any of this doesn't fit...LOL I'm not really sure how 1.xxx is set up i never used that version. Use what you know about your version and you should be OK.......the MCell really doesn't require "Exotic" setups.......

 

BOTTOM LINE, or CUT TO THE CHASE

 

Like Otto said and I stated, the Mcell doesn't need or require anything really special.........Don't over Think OR over engineer it too much. Just do a basic setup that eliminates any quirky weird setup configurations......make sure YOUR end is working as it should......the rest is ....or is not.......up to your ISP or AT&T.

 

If you want we can start a Post on Pfsense (and link back to this one for background). If so just let me know.

Message 273 of 305
ACE - Expert

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine


@dvbrenner wrote:

A moderator is welcome to delete my posts if they are deemed to be "out there".  However, given the overall content here and the fact that this thread has been active for some months, I did not think I was out of line to post here.


There's no reason to delete your post. It would just be appropriate to create a specifc area for those of you who use more exotic setups with the MicroCell. Most of us don't use pfSense so your discussions of what works, and doesn't, would be best served in a specific area for those that do. We are here to help the garden variety router users and your more technical approach may confuse.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

"Quick Tips: My Microcell Doesn't Work"


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 274 of 305
ACE - Professor

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

I agree with Otto that your Pfsense-based networks are on the technical fringe and 99+% of the users here have no idea what you are talking about.  Doesn't mean you can't discuss it in a separate thread though.

 

I do agree with the statement about VOLTE (Voice over LTE) eventually usurping much if not all of the femtocell traffic in the future.

 

The major shortcomings of VOLTE are being overcome (lack of VOLTE capable smartphones, QOS, security, seamless handoff to cellular) and I see no reason to maintain another layer of electronics (femtocell) in the home when WiFi is already available.

 

Most all of the latest smartphones are now capable of using WiFi calling.  The security of VOLTE has been addressed by the implementation of ePDG (Evolved Packet Data Gateway) by the carriers to allow mobile devices on a WiFi connection to securely connect into the carrier's network and it will also allow for smartphone handoff between a WiFi network and the LTE network.

 

The other advantages of VOLTE are a much greater data transfer rate and coverage distance versus femtocells.  T-Mobile is the only carrier currently supporting WiFi calling but AT&T and Verizon are gearing up to provide this service also.

 

I think that the use of a femtocell in the home to provide better cellphone coverage will pretty much come to a deadend eventually.  It just makes sense.  All these Microcells will become doorstops in the foreseeable future.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 275 of 305
Tutor

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

Oh, the irony.

 

Message 276 of 305
ACE - Expert

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

VoLTE will be nice provided they've overcome the battery consumption issue. It's been a while since I've delved into VoLTE but the last time I checked, battery usage was a big deal. The MicroCell currently doesn't support VoLTE because it is still a 3G device only. But who knows what secrets lie within the mysterious black box (DPH-154). Smiley Wink

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

"Quick Tips: My Microcell Doesn't Work"


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 277 of 305
Mentor

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

Ahhh Yes, tis sweet irony.......agreed.

 

Yes, there is already a carrier with a "volte" type system that is doing wifi with seamless handoff to cellular in the Tar Heel State....and they support 3G and 4G/LTE....and have been doing it for over a year now and are beginning to expand their phone model offerings, all Android Smart Phones. So far the only real issue I can see right now (and this appears to be the lack of BYOD and more models). But this issue will only really affect user's who use a cell phone as some type of "Status Symbol". The meat and potato's user's should find little fault with them.........All this and cheaper waaayyy cheaper monthly bills and no contract's (downside??: also no carrier discounted phones).

 

That and other readings about the downgrades, shutdowns re-engineering cellular sites (hard to find most, I just stumbled across most) pretty well wrote on the wall what is happening with Microcells (they were an almost outdated technology by the time they were released) and AT&T. And explains most likely, a majority or at the very least a lion's share, of temporary and permanent Mcell outages.....especially in the rural area's as they are the least likely to cause a large enough "stink" to upset and expose the apparently "stealth" cutting of services in order to revamp and re-engineer cell sites and back end services...most of which will be notably different from the current one for MCells.

 

Our cellular signals (from towers) in my area have dropped by 50% over the last 18 months. This indicates either a power reduction or most likely a shut down of some sites and realignment of the remaining to "try and cover" the existing coverage claimed area's.......they are failing. A neighbor has only regular AT&T Cell service, no microcell, and He has been complaining of way lower signals over the last year.

 

Basically the low volume & rural AT&T (and most like T mobile also) user's are being sold down the river so to say.......and not even getting a "reach around" in the process.

Message 278 of 305
Voyager

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

I have had the red blinking light issue evey morning for 6 months or more now.  Unplug it, and plug it back in and it works all day, sometime after 2:00 am, it goes off again.  I talked with tech support today, and he told me there was no doubt that my Exede satellite Internet was the problem and that the MC did not work with that type of internet.  

 

Can anyone verify if this is the problem?

 

Funny that it works all day.

Message 279 of 305
ACE - Expert

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

The MicroCell is not designed for satellite internet service. It is for land-based service only. The fact that your MicroCell worked with satellite for so long is amazing. You lose connection everynight around 2am because the satellite's position changes enough that your tenuous connection is broken. That information is listed in the setup instructions I believe and also in the Tech Guide. The outside of the box for the new DPH-154 states, "Not compatible with satellite or mobile broadband".

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

"Quick Tips: My Microcell Doesn't Work"


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 280 of 305
ACE - Professor

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

@ Otto

 

ViaSat-1, Exede's satellite is in geosynchronous orbit and provides spot-beam coverage for North America and Hawaii.  The satellite is stationary with respect to ground users and does not move around. 

 

I would suspect that it is more likely due to the extemely high latency of satellite internet causing a loss of the Mcell's connection when polling occurs at night.  How the OP's connection worked during the day beats me but I know of others with femtocells that do use satellite internet.  I don't know how reliable their connections are though.

 

Geosynchronous satellites can also lose their connections during the annual equinoxes in the spring and fall when the Sun is directly behind the satellites.  This can cause partial or total signal degradation for up to 12 minutes but only twice a year.  FYI. 

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 281 of 305
ACE - Expert

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

@Avedis -I   have no reason to doubt what you said about the stationary orbit. It seemed reasonable that the sats orbit changed, either horzontally or vertically, because of the regularity of a 2am connection loss. In either case, the MicroCell does not support satellite or mobile broadband so any connectivity issues that arise from such a connection will be up to the user and his ISP to correct because there is nothing that we or AT&T can do.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

"Quick Tips: My Microcell Doesn't Work"


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 282 of 305
ACE - Professor

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

Actually, I should be careful about interchanging geosynchronous and geostationary.  Geosynchronous orbits trace a path in the sky called an analemma during a sidereal day.  Geostationary orbits appear fixed in the sky and are typically used by communication satellites.

 

ComSats have thrusters to maintain their positions in the sky.  These thrusters can also be used to move the satellite to another location if the provider requires it.  It is extemely important for the ComSats to maintain their position so the fixed ground antennas are always properly aligned.

 

As to why the OP's connection drops every night, if the satellite was in geosynchronous orbit, then the position of the satellite would move in a analemma path (lop-sided figure 8) and the OP's connection dropping every night at the same time would be understandable.  That is not the case with ViaSat-1 though.  It is geostationary.

 

Bottom line:  Mcells and satellite internet do not play well together and AT&T (Verizon and Sprint too) will not recommend it.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 283 of 305
Highlighted
ACE - Expert

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

I need to find my original setup instructions for the "white" models and see if it mentions satellite/mobile broadband. It is clearly mentioned on the box of the DPH-154 as I stated. If that information was not listed in the instructions and/or the outside of the box then shame on AT&T for not publishing that.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by OttoPylot

Cellular Booster Guide by OttoPylot

"Quick Tips: My Microcell Doesn't Work"


I am not an AT&T employee.

Award for Community Excellence 2019 Achiever*
*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.
Message 284 of 305
Voyager

Re: HELP - 3G light is flashing, microcell was previously working fine

Yes, mine is the older white and orange model.  The interesting thing is I just recently got the satellite internet as my broadband provider no longer was able to get a signal to me.  But, the interesting thing is, the MC was doing exactly the same thing on broadband at exactly the same time of the night.

 

I appreciate the responses, I guess I am lucky it works at all, I was not informed at the time of purchase that the MC only works with certain internet connections.  It worked for about 2 years with the broadband connection before developing the issue.

Message 285 of 305
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