07-12-2013 11:38 AM
Just adding my experience to the list out there…
While on a call on our IPhone, the call will suddenly go silent, we get a “Call Failed” message on Iphone which lasts for maybe 10-15 seconds until we can use the phone again. Immediately upon the “Call Failed”, the 3G light on the MC starts blinking, and our IPhones lose their M-Cell signal and switch to the AT&T cell tower signal. The green 3G light on the MC blinks for maybe 15 seconds, then it goes solid again and the IPhones regain their M-Cell signal. And all is well until next dropped call.
It doesn’t happen to EVERY call (no pattern noticed) and it can happen after just a minute or after 10 minutes (no pattern noticed).
This happens with the Iphones anywhere from 2 feet from the MC to 20 feet away. (No pattern)
The other lights on the MC remain steady green (good GPS and Ethernet signals).
I’d estimate about 80% of our calls are dropped this way. Because of this we cannot depend on our cell phones. Considering the switch to a different carrier if we can find one that gives us better signal in our house.
We got the Microcell because we only get 1 bar inside our house. With the MC, we get a full 5 bars.
This is the 2nd Microcell we’ve tried with same problem occurring on both. Tried the first one back in January and the 2nd one just the last couple weeks.
We have CenturyLink internet service, a Westell 7500 modem/router.
We use an Iphone 4 and an Iphone 5.
I have disable the "Automatic Handout" option in AT&T's MC settings.
I've talked at length to AT&T support and CenturyLink support with no resolution. AT&T support said their conclusion is it’s the internet/router settings. The CenturyLink support person went over all the settings with me and said they all seem to be correct as far as she could tell.
I've spent many, many hours trying to figure this out, but I'm not a techie so a lot of this stuff is Greek to me…especially all the settings for the network setup & modem/router.
Frankly, when the MC works, it works very well. I know people that do not have this problem, so I want to be optimistic that there is a “fix” for us, but I just don’t know enough about this stuff to figure it out.
07-12-2013 1:26 PM
The blinking green 3G light indicates that you have lost connection to the AT&T servers, which you know because your call has been dropped. This is the second report in a couple of weeks that I've seen with a CenturyLink customer. What you can try on your end is:
1. Priority connection - if you are using a separate modem and router, connect the MicroCell directly to the modem which bypasses the router. That takes the router out of the chain and gives you a direct connection to the internet. If the problem persists, then it's obviously not the router configuration and probably an upstream switch that CenturyLink will have to investigate.
2. If you are using a separate modem and router, make sure that only one of them is performing the NAT duties.
3. Make sure that CenturyLink is not blocking any of the following ports:
4. IPSec Pass-through needs to be enabled in the router and Block Fragmented Packets needs to be disabled in the router.
5. Perform a hard reset on the MicroCell by holding in the reset button on the back for 30 seconds and then let it reactivate.
6. Deactivate and reactivate your account.
7. Check cables and power supply to make sure they are in good shape or not getting too hot (ac adapter).
8. Reset Network Settings on your iPhone (you may lose some passwords or router settings so make sure you have them written down).
9. Keep WiFi on on the iPhone and disable LTE (if you have an LTE capable iPhone).
10. Port forwarding (using the Public and Private ports listed above) to a static assigned IP address based on the MicroCell's MAC address may increase the stability of your connection. I do this for my MicroCell and it is rock solid even after power outages or reboots.
Don't expect CenturyLink or the router mfr to give you much help with the MicroCell. If you can connect to the internet with no issues (and I'm assuming your internet connection in that regard is fine) then as far as they are concerned, all is well and it's AT&T's problem. I have seen upstream switches with issues that could only be determined by aggressive investigation by the ISP.
Let us know what happens.
07-14-2013 11:54 AM
07-14-2013 1:32 PM
Your network settings on your MacBookPro have nothing at all to do with the MicroCell, unless you are attempting to run the MicroCell thru the MBP using the Computer connection on the MicroCell, which is something I wouldn't recommend doing. We have a plethora of Apples products (MacBookPro, MacBookAir, Macbook, iPhones, iPads, etc) none of which have any problems connecting to our router via WiFi and none interfere with the MicroCell.
It is doubtful that CenturyLink is blocking any of those ports but you need to find out for sure. DHCP should be enabled by default but you need to find out about IPSec Pass-through and Block Fragmented Packets. If CenturyLink can confirm about the ports and the other items then you can probably rule them out and look at other cuases. CenturyLink won't help you with the MicroCell per se and AT&T won't help you with the "how to" setup of your router. I would start with CenturyLink first.
07-17-2013 7:31 AM
First of all, our Microcell is not running through my MacBook. It is connected to the Router/Modem via an ethernet cable. Sorry if I gave that impression.
I spoke with CenturyLink Tech Spt yesterday. She opened the ports that are listed (Item #3).
As for the other items on the list of 07-12-2013:
#1 and #2 - We have a single unit modem/router.
#4 - These settings are correct
#5, 6, and 7 - done
#8 - haven't done this
#9 - No LTE on my phone
#10 - This may be a future possibility
I did a couple "test calls" afterwards last night and no dropping...however, I would like to see how it works in the next couple days before thinking anything has improved.
Another possible cause of the problem...??? We have 8 devices on our Network (IPhones, IPad, printer, AppleTV, Microcell, MacBooks). These are all connected via Wireless signal, while the Microcell is connected via Ethernet. The CenturyLink tech person said that only 2 IP addresses are available at any time, so is it possible that the Microcell is losing its IP access as the other items use those 2 IP addresses? I'm not sure how all that works...do you think that could be causing the problem?
Apparently a remedy to that would be to have another internet line set up with a simple modem dedicated to the Microcell only.
Hoping to figure out this situation eventually as we have many residents in our community who have the same problem with cellular signal strength. Thanks for the input.
07-17-2013 8:37 AM
The CenturyLink person is wrong about only 2 IP addresses being avaialable at one time, unless that's a restriction that CenturyLink imposes. You don't need another internet line. We can have more WiFi devices than you online at the same time without any interruption of MicroCell functioning. You should be able to have a list of DHCP assignable IP addresses large enough to cover your needs. Port Forwarding is one way to make sure that your MicroCell has it's own, static IP address (which is based on its MAC address) all of the time even after power outages and reboots. I have mine set to be the first or second (I forget which one) assignable IP address in my DHCP table. The MicroCell and my security cameras are the only wired devices to my router (Apple Extreme Base Station), all other devices are WiFi (iPhones, iTouches, iPad, AppleTV2, blu-ray player, MacBooks, MacBookPro, MacBookAir, a printer, and a couple of Win7 laptops). All of which can be online at the same time with no interruption of MicroCell service. Speeds slow down when everything is on but it's a rare situation that everything is online at once. Usually it's just the phones and laptops.
07-17-2013 11:46 AM
Sorry, again I must emphasize that I'm not a techie!
I attempted to give the Microcell a static IP address...
Under the Router LAN --> DHCP Settings:
DHCP - Start Address = 10.0.0.2
DHCP - End Address = 10.0.0.33
Under the LAN --> DNS settings, I added the Microcell device with the IP Address of 10.0.0.33
The Microcell appears to be "sticking" with that IP Address even as the other devices switch around which IP address they are using. Does that mean I have successfullly set the Microcell's static IP address?
07-17-2013 12:02 PM
Looks like it. To test, you could shut your entire system down, router and MicroCell, and then re-boot. Check to see if your router has assigned the same address to the MicroCell and that the MicroCell is working ok. I took mine a step further and assigned the static IP based on the MicroCell's MAC address, because that's the first thing your router sees when restarting and checking for connected devices, but it's probably not necessary.
07-18-2013 11:36 AM
Okay, so as I mentioned, I assigned the static IP address to the Microcell (although I haven't done it using the Microcell MAC address as you last mentioned...I'm not sure how to do that.)
It's been about a day now and we have completed several calls--maybe a dozen--of varying durations and at different locations in the house. So far, so good...none have been dropped. I am cautiously optimistic, and hesitant, to say the problem is fixed. I would need to go a few more days with no dropped calls.
So, I will report back after the weekend.
Thanks for your help with a very frustrating issue. I think all these router settings, etc etc are a bit beyond the average consumer's comfort level.
07-18-2013 12:42 PM
In theory you shouldn't have to port forward or assign a static IP. In fact when I got my first MicroCell, it was truly plug and play for about 8 months and then I started having issues which eventually landed me here. I think what people forget is that Cisco/AT&T developed this years ago when coverage was a big issue. Technology has changed and home networks/hardware have become more complicated. Cisco/AT&T underestimated the multiple router/ISP combinations which multiplies the issues. 3G is soon to be a thing of the past as the carriers move to 4G/LTE and HD Voice. HD Voice alone is going to be an interesting issue for MicroCell users.
Please report back once you feel that this helped, or didn't help you. If it helped, then mark it as such for others to find.
07-22-2013 8:50 PM
It's been several days now since last post and we have had NO dropped calls whatsoever (and no 3G light blinking). All calls are clear and we have at least 4 bars everywhere in the house. So, I'm pretty sure it's working now. I can't tell you how happy I am about this!
It appears our issue was resolved by either (or both):
- addressing the port blocking
- assigning an IP address to the Microcell
Since they were both done at the same time, I'm not sure if it was one or the other or both.
I hope this will be helpful to others with this problem.
I don't even want to ruin this now by thinking about 3G soon becoming obsolete...
07-22-2013 9:10 PM
08-12-2013 7:12 AM
Well, it worked fine for a couple weeks, then last week we started experiencing dropped calls again. Also in the morning occasionally the 3G light on the MC is blinking red and I must power off. (Not sure if these are related.) Not sure what else to do at this point. I suspect our Internet service is the culprit.
08-12-2013 8:53 AM
Hmmm, I don't want to sound like I'm passing the buck but it may be CenturyLink. The MicroCell needs a constant, stable interent connection and things like packet loss and speed can affect the MicroCell. It sounds like the changes you made last time produced a little more stability in the connection. The blinking red 3G light can be an indicator of a hardware failure but more likely it was an update that was pushed by AT&T, and when the MicroCell re-booted, the re-boot didn't complete correctly and the MicroCell thinks it's broken. You may have too many devices sharing your router. The MicroCell can support up to four voice or data users at once. I assigned my MicroCell the first IP address in my DHCP table to give it priority. You might want to try that. Or you can deregister/reregister, do a hard reset if you haven't done those already.
06-29-2014 12:54 PM
It's almost a year later and our Microcell has been working fine. I didn't have to do anything else after the last post...it just seemed to straighten itself out. We don't lose calls anymore at all, even after a power outage, the connection holds.
I am about to help a neighbor with their Microcell settings, so I thought I would just update this post while I was back here looking at the technical details.