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Help! My MicrcoCell Doesn't Work!

ACE - Master

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Help!  My Microcell Doesn't Work!

by @OttoPylot

Recipient of the Award for Community Excellence in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

 

 

“My MicroCell doesn’t work” is the most common complaint that we see on the MicroCell Forum. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give us much to work with because we don’t know what’s not working.  There can be lots of reasons why your MicroCell has “stopped working” so the following are some of the more common issues. A more detailed description is given in my Tech Guide on how the MicroCell works, common issues, and potential fixes.

 

First and foremost, there is no functional difference between the older, white MicroCell and the newer, black model.  Both are still 3G and the only real differences are the loss of the Computer port, external antenna port, and a smaller footprint on the black model. A new MicroCell more than likely will not correct any issue(s) you may be experiencing.

 

LED Light Pattern

 

Letting us know which LED is flashing, and the color, helps us diagnose what the problem may be and which troubleshooting methods we should try first.

 

White MicroCell LED’s, top to bottom: Power, Ethernet, GPS, Computer, and 3G.

 

Black MicroCell LED’s, top to bottom: 3G, GPS, Ethernet, and Power.

 

A flashing green 3G light indicates a failed update, a hardware failure, or something is blocking access to the AT&T Mobility Servers.

 

A flashing red 3G light indicates a failed location check.

 

The AT&T MicroCell documentation is a bit misleading on the flashing red 3G light in that it just states that “there may be a problem with your device”.

 

The Power and Ethernet LED’s should always be a solid green. The GPS LED will flash green while it is performing a location check and then turn solid green once the location check is completed. That doesn’t mean that the location was verified, it’s just an indicator of the progress of the location check.

 

The LED’s may turn a brief yellow while they are changing status’s but they should quickly turn to green or red.

 

AC Adapter

 

We get many rolled eyes when we suggest that the ac adapter could be the source of a problem. This is especially true if you’ve been using the same MicroCell for a couple of years and suddenly start experiencing issues. If the adapter starts failing to deliver the correct output, 12VDC, issues will occur if adequate power is not being delivered to the board and/or the radios. That can result in quite a few seemingly unrelated issues.

 

To check the ac adapter, test it with a voltmeter. It should read 16VDC +/- 0.5 with no load. The reading should be higher than the stated output because the voltage will drop a bit once the load is applied and you must make sure that the 12VDC is being met and delivered reliably. A really high no load reading can damage the MicroCell because too much voltage is being applied. Damaged MicroCells can not be repaired.

 

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

 

This is the most difficult issue that we encounter and one that is the most sensitive. We ask for the ISP of the user because we must make sure that the internet service provided is not satellite or wireless broadband. Many customers assume internet access is the same across all platforms and so fail to mention what kind of service they have. The MicroCell is designed exclusively for land-based service, which is DSL, fiber, or cable. It is not designed for satellite or wireless broadband. AT&T states as much in their literature and will not support those types of connections.  The MicroCell can work with satellite and/or wireless broadband but it is not reliable for various technical reasons regardless of what the service provider claims. You can have reliable service for a long time and then all of a sudden start to experience problems, none of which AT&T Support or us can help you with.

 

 

Router Requirements

 

This is another sensitive area but is critical for the proper operation of the MicroCell. The MicroCell is basically a dumb device that just passes voice data back and forth. It is a closed system so unlike a router, where one can tweak and make changes, the MicroCell is a closed system with no changes or modifications possible. The minimum router requirements are given in my Tech Guide and on page 23 of the MicroCell Users Guide (DPH-154) under Firewall Settings. The requirements are fairly basic so most ISPs should have no difficulty meeting them. However, if your ISP supplies you with a router, modem, or gateway, you must make sure that it is not custom configured for your ISP with settings that may not be compatible with the MicroCell. AT&T cannot force an ISP to open ports that the ISP has closed for “security” reasons so unfortunately you must work with your ISP and not AT&T.

 

We also get many questions on how to check and/or configure routers for optimal MicroCell use. This is another area that we really can’t help you with. The reason being is that there are just too many routers/gateways available, with different firmware versions, customer setups, etc. for us, or AT&T to keep up with. It may sound harsh but we don’t want to be responsible for modifying a customer’s internet connection. That responsibility is between the customer and their ISP or device hardware manufacturer.

 

MicroCell issues can be either reported by phone or chat to AT&T Support, ATTMobilityCare (preferred), or posted here in the community.  If you can supply us with the basic information as indicated above the quicker we can hopefully get a resolution to you. If you choose to send a private message to ATTMobilityCare, please include a detailed description of your issue, what has been done to correct it, any trouble ticket numbers assigned to you, your account info, the best way for them to contact you, and your location.

 

OttoPylot

Recipient of the Award for Community Excellence in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot

 

*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.
17671 Views
15 Comments
Employee

Great short and quick guide to manage your Microcell.

Employee

@OttoPylot,

 

I'm always astonished by your level of knowledge around MicroCell; and this guide really highlights just how much of an expert you are. You knocked it out of the park!

 

Thank you for putting together this amazing guide! I know I speak for both our customers and our internal AT&T folks when I say how much this is truly appreciated.

Employee

Hey @OttoPylot,

 

Thank you again for your amazing support.  You not only help the community every day, but I know we rely on you as well for your knowledge and passion.

 

Such a great thread as always!  Concise, but filled with invaluable info.

 

Tim, AT&T Community Specialist

Tutor

@OttoPylot

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

 

My MCell was blinking, yet working (?), but nothing helped until I followed your advice of changing out the power plug. Now I have a happy, unblinking, MicroCell! Smiley Happy

Thank you for sharing your incredible MicroCell knowledge with us!

 

In case others read this and wonder about where to find a replacement plug.. I happened to have a 12W universal adapter that I purchased from Amazon. 

 

ACE - Master

@LindaBu - Your very welcome. Glad it helped.

*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.
Contributor

great work! can you tell me how to delete microcell from my network operators in settings? im in a no service area and rep assured me this would work, but failed to ask if i had satellite internet! i have since unplugged the microcell and deleted all #'s associated with it. now i cant wifi text or call, at all...thanks for your help. i have a galaxy s6 active

ACE - Master

@ludsco - sorry I'm late in responding. If you want to delete your MicroCell you need to go to your myAT&T MicroCell Settings page and Delete. That removes the MicroCell serial number from your cellular account so you can sell the MicroCell if you want and the buyer can reactivate it under their account. If you have satellite internet the MicroCell may work but is not reliable and that's why AT&T does not support that type of internet service. 

 

If your MicroCell is disabled (powered off) your phone can not see the 3G signal and won't attempt to connect to it. For WiFi-C (WiFi Calling) you'll need to enable that on the S6 and then the quality of the connection will be dependent on your WiFi signal has has nothing to do with the MicroCell. Leave WiFi enabled on your phone, which is separate from WiFi-C. Some phones will handle WiFi-C and SMS/MMS better than others, but that's a function of the phone and OS.

*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.
Observer

I'm at wits end with my microcell as its not worked in several months. ATT replaced my microcell three times with new black ones. I've deleted and registered it at least 25 times as did ATT online techs not to mention spending perhaps 30+ hours on the phone or chat with Att techs The unit has been plugged, unplugged, reset 5o+ times. Registration online never even lights up one status bar. Im certain it has something to do with my ISP, Frontier FIOS. About the same time I got Frontier the microcell stopped working. I had it for two years prior and it worked, albeit hit & miss, but it worked. I contacted Frontier several times but they refuse to discuss this issue because they didn't furnish it and all they say good luck. I'm not in a position to upgrade my iPhone 5  for newer models which do not need the microcell.  I use mac computers and reviewed your suggested network settings but I do not see those editable on my mac's network settings. All my computers, upends phones get wifi but not the microcell. Is there anything else I can do? Its been terribly frustrating.

Thanks

ACE - Master

@peterdee - your Mac has nothing to do with the MicroCell. The network settings are in your router that you use to connect to Frontier. If you are using Frontier-supplied hardware to connect it could be that they are configured specifically to work with Frontier's network which may not be compatible with the required router settings for the MicroCell.

 

Frontier's response is not surprising as they, and most carriers, will not help MicroCell customers because it's not their service/product. This is especially true if the ISP offers their own version of VoIP. We have had quite a few complaints from Frontier customers with the same issue. Frontier is having some issues right now so it's probably a network configuration that they are unwilling to look into because as long as you have internet service, there is nothing wrong.

 

There is nothing that AT&T can do to force another ISP to play nice. Most of the time, the required port settings are open and configured correctly so there is nothing to do but even then, if your line conditions aren't sufficient for VoIP (too much jitter, noise, etc) you will have call quality issues even if your internet is fine.

 

In the future, if you have any MicroCell questions, it would be best if you post them in the MicroCell Forum because it may help others.

*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.
Observer

I have deactivated and reactivated the microcell per your instructions. All lights are green. However, I'm not getting anything on either phone (5S or 7 iphone). Last night everything was fine. This morning - nothing.

ACE - Master

@tracker1304 - please post your question in the Microcell Forum. It's easier to answer your questions and the answers may be useful to others who post there with a similar issue.

*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.
Tutor

Hope you can help me.

I only get service at my my home via microcell.

It quit 2 weeks ago. I reset it several times, I get a power light an ethernet light, but no satellite light or signal strength light (ever).

I called AT&T tech support and it is a joke.  45 minutes of sales pitch then transferred to a "tech" who was obviously reading from a script.

can the device be tested in some way? I loged in to our account and  the device IS activated, it just does not work.

Router settings have anything to do with it?

Thanks for any and all suggestions

ACE - Master

@bilbur - as I mentioned above, it's best if you post your questions to the MicroCell forum and not here. That makes it easier for others to follow the conversation and to get help as well. If you have a white MicroCell it could be a failing ac adapter. Did you follow the instructions above in my post for testing the adapter?

*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.
Tutor
Thanks for the reply. I thought I had joined the microcell forum ????
I did read your entire tech article. I don't understand much of it tho.
I went thru the entire re-registration process, but no luck. deleting
the numbers and the more complicated stuff is for rocket scientists, not
old guys who just want their phones to work at their own homes.
I guess my last resort is to get a newer phone that will just use the wifi.
I'm sure sick of AT&T tho.
Thanks again for the tech info.
B



ACE - Master

@bilbur - if you have a white MicroCell it could be that the ac adapter is starting to fail. How to check it is given in the Quick Tips (the document that begins this blog). There is no "button" to push to automatically fix all MicroCell issues, so a lot of troubleshooting needs to be done by the customer with our guidance. It could be as simple as replacing the adapter with one of the same rating if that is the problem. You never did say what kind of internet service you have (cable, DSL, fiber) and who it is with.

 

As far as the MicroCell Forum goes, what you are responding to here is my blog. The MicroCell Forum is found under the AT&T Forums Home -> Wireless -> Phones and Devices -> MicroCell

*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.
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