11-04-2012 12:12 PM
Around mid-morning on November 1, my MicroCell went offline and has not been able to connect since. Everything else on my network is behaving normally and I've had no interruption in my Internet service. So, I was wondering if someone might know if there's a problem with the service in general? Perhaps something weather-related? If not, is there a way I can verify that my device is ironies not malfunctioning?
Solved by: Go to Solution.
11-05-2012 8:17 AM
The "service" doesn't go down in that sense of the word, unless it is weather related due to towers being out in your area. What is the light pattern on the MicroCell? Is the 3G light blinking red or green? Is the GPS light green, etc?
11-05-2012 8:31 AM
Power, Internet and GPS lights are on steady green, the bottom light that looks like bars (is that called the 3G light?) is flashing green as if the box were trying to make a connection but is not able to. All other Internet services appear to be normal, there is no abnormal upload or download traffic. The MicroCell box has a valid IP address via DHCP.
I guess I don't understand what this has to do with cell towers in my area. The reason I have the MicroCell is because I can't "see" any actual cell towers from my house.
11-05-2012 10:51 AM
The MicroCell uses your internet connection to "find" a tower in your area so that you can make cellular calls. A blinking green 3G light means that it can't establish a connection to a nearby AT&T tower. There may have been an update to the MicroCell in the middle of the night causing you to lose connection. Power cycle your system (MicroCell, router, modem) and see if that works. If not, try a priority setup: modem ->MicroCell -> router. That puts the MicroCell ahead of your router to eliminate any issues that may be router related.
11-05-2012 12:31 PM
Thanks for the info! I've been power-cycling regularly, so I guess that's not the solution. I'll try the alternate configuration when I get home later and see how that goes, but since nothing has changed with my router, and everything has been fine for over a year, I'm not sure that will make a difference. Worth a try, though. The only other thing I can think of is that my ISP may have installed some sort of filter to block this type of traffic.
11-05-2012 3:06 PM
This is the link for the MicroCell Troubleshooting Guide:
You might want to see if your ISP is blocking any of the ports required for the MicroCell to work correctly. What has worked very well for me is to setup my router to port forward to an assigned static address for the MicroCell based on its MAC address.
11-05-2012 5:06 PM
Thanks for the link to the troubleshooting guide. I'll look that over this evening. I too used to reserve an IP address for the MAC address of the MicroCell but no longer needed that since I switched to a more modern modem.
And now, the MicroCell box is between the modem and router, so that's no longer relevent. Everything on my network is happy with that situation and all lights on the MicroCell are green, except the 3G light is still flashing after 30 minutes.
I'll check with my ISP to make sure they didn't change anything. Is there any way to know that the cell tower is able to respond? I'm way out in the country and I wouldn't be surprised that I'm the only MicroCell user in the area.
11-05-2012 6:35 PM
There is no way to tell which tower AT&T is going to use just like there isn't any way to run diagnostics on the MicroCell. It's a totally closed system. If priority mode doesn't work then that may indicate an issue with your ISP or how they have your modem configured. Reserving an IP address is a good thing to do especially if you combine that with port forwarding.
11-05-2012 6:41 PM
Thanks for that info! My ISP has been known to tinker with things without telling you, so I wouldn't be surprised that they've closed some ports. Of course, the fact that they also offer cell phone service and have a tower right across the road from my house might factor into the situation.
Since the MicroCell is now in front of the router, I can't forward ports or reserve addresses. The modem now serves up the addresses and is as closed as the MicroCell box.
I'll be sure to let you know what I find out.
11-05-2012 10:01 PM
Port forwarding to a static IP seems to work best in a lot of situations so depending on what you can find out from your ISP that be the way to go. However, if they are blocking some of the ports listed in the Troubleshooing guide you're screwed
11-05-2012 10:30 PM
I do indeed have a static IP address, so that's good. I've sent an email detailing the ports and another settings required for the box to function. Hopefully they haven't changed anything, like policies regarding VOIP devices. If necessary, I'll move the box back to after the router, set up a reserved address and port forwarding for 4500 and 500. But, if they've done something on their end of the wire, that's bad, and they've locked down the modem so I can't tweak anything there. I await their response in the morning.
11-06-2012 8:48 AM
Locking down the modem could be an issue if it is defaulted to perform NAT duties. It if does, and you go back to the nominal setup (modem -> router -> MicroCell) make sure the the router is not performing NAT as well becuase you'll end up with a double NAT and the MicroCell won't work.
11-06-2012 8:58 AM
Yep... When they switched out the old modem (which was simply a bridge and required my router to have a fixed IP address on the WAN) for the new modem (which includes DHCP service) I found myself in a double-NAT situation. Everything still worked, and I had also reserved an IP address for the MicroCell, but I eventually fixed it so that all addresses came from the modem.
I don't have an issue with placing the MicroCell between the modem and the router. We have a fairly low-bandwidth connection and, with the MicroCell connected after the router, it would go offline if any heavy uploading was taking place. I'm guessing that having it ahead of the router allows it some amount of flow control.
I haven't heard back from the ISP yet, but they won't even be in the office for another few minutes...
11-06-2012 9:47 AM
OK! Here's the response I received from my ISP:
We've had a bunch of customers that suddenly had their AT&T MicroCell cut off late last week. These have been across multiple modem brands, and we haven't made any changes in our network that I'm aware of. We also note that customers with similar (identical?) devices from other cell carriers are NOT reporting a problem.
AT&T tech support has been quick to blame us for isolated MicroCell problems in the past, even when it's obvious from the lights flashing on the outside of the device that it's a GPS sync issue. We have also tried to work with their tech support on behalf of our customers and have been run around or simply hung up on.
We would be more than happy to have one here for testing, but unfortunately AT&T will only allow the specific devices to work in specific locations, which is corroborated w/ the on-board GPS. I had one customer who said he thought he could get AT&T to agree to relocate his MicroCell in our office. I don't know how helpful it might be but I'm willing to try if he can get back to us.
As of yesterday I had one savvy customer that had already done all of the port forwarding things in their standard trouble shooting guide as you mentioned, and still it didn't work, so he was getting the problem escalated with AT&T tech support. Supposedly the errors an AT&T tech was seeing from his end had something to do with power. ??? I also got wind that AT&T might be doing tower work trying to get 4G working in our area... which is a good thing, but I'm highly suspicious that they might have messed up a bunch of their devices in the process (MicroCell devices supposedly have to have at least a little tiny cell phone tower signal to work).
At this point I'm waiting to see what my one customer finds out via his escalated tech support discussion. Last night the final word was that they'd asked him to restart it or they were doing another location process that was going to take an hour or two. Hopefully I'll hear more later today from him.
If I can come up with any other angles from which I can investigate this I'll certainly be on it as soon as possible. In the meantime it appears we're stuck in the unfortunate and frustrating position of waiting for AT&T to troubleshoot the issue with our customers. This is currently my highest priority open support investigation, and you are now on my list of people to contact as soon as I hear of any progress, but if you discover anything before then PLEASE let me know.
You are also ALWAYS welcome to contact me with requests for updates. I know many people's cell reception is next to nothing in their home without this device working, and most of us count on our cell phones these days more than ever.
11-06-2012 12:30 PM
I do know that AT&T has been pushing an update since shortly after the new iPhones came out to take advantage of the new 4G (or what they call 4G) connection. That apparently did confuse some MicroCells for a period of time.
The power issue has been reported by some when they replaced the power adapter that came with the MicroCell for one that was not exactly the same power rating causing power issues, one of which was poor or no connectivity.
If you live in a rural area, AT&T's GPS database may not be current enough to locate you exactly. But that is usually indicated by a blinking GPS light. GPS issues can take a long time for AT&T to correct.
The blinking green 3G almost always means that the MicroCell can't connect to a tower so if AT&T is indeed messing with the tower that you connect to, that could be the issue.
What is your speed and what kind of connection do you have?