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“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.
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.
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.
*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.