Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

Contributor

Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

I just got my Microcell Tuesday, and had a bear of a time getting the setup to work with my Airport Extreme N and Express N setup. I finally figured out that the Microcell and the "wide channel" option doesn't play nice. All traffic (local and net) slows to a crawl with 5-30 sec pings. After trying every conceivable option, trying WDS, client, and extending networks, I got things to work only with the Express set to "join a wireless network" and the Extreme Base Station set to only N in the 5 GHZ band, and not use the "Use wide channels" option in the Wireless Tab's "Wireless Options" section.

 

I saw this drop in network performance due to the "Use wide channels" option with both the Microcell plugged in "priority configuration" between the cable modem (motorola surfboard) and the Base Station, and in plugging the microcell into the Base Station's LAN port.

 

Not using the "Use wide channels" option drops a lot of the bandwidth between the Base Station and the Express, as opposed to using the wide channels option: ~1.8 MB/sec (13.7 mbit/sec) as oppsed to ~7 MB/sec (56 mbit/sec).

 

Anyone else see this behavior or have a better workaround that ups the bandwidth between the Base Station and the Express, while keeping the microcell in the loop?

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Message 1 of 13
Teacher

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

That's a little scary!  I have the Airport Extreme Simultaneous Dual Band (2.8 and 5 GHz) N router and I was planning to pick up a Microcell at the AT&T Store this afternoon.  My environment at home is pretty much all Apple, including two iPhone 3GS.  The only reason I moved to AT&T Wireless was the iPhone and my home coverage is abysmal and 2G, despite the fact that I reside in an 'best' coverage area.  The problem is in the hands of the local field engineering person.

 

When I first got the iPhones, the coverage was acceptable and we could make and receive calls at home.  Now calls that connect either drop or have useless audio, even outside in the middle of a field in a park in my neighborhood.  The best I ever get is 1 to 2 bars and sometimes in my home or neighborhood, I get 'no service' after 'searching'.  I've been hoping the Microcell will be my work around at home, but your post about the Airport Extreme concerns me.  You have both the Extreme and the Express, so perhaps that is part of the problem.  I can't afford to cripple my home network for this microcell.

Message 2 of 13
Contributor

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

I'll have to see if the extreme base station only in wide channels mode causes the microcell to choke the network. I know it is definitely this one option that is causing my conflicts. I'll play around this weekend and repost the results.
Message 3 of 13
Master

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

I'm not sure why yours is giving you issues.  I have an AirPort Extreme and I just got a Microcell today and I don't have the issues you are.  Everything working great here even with the "use wide channels" being checked.

 

No lag or excessive pings.  Pings are great in the low ms even when I'm streaming live HDTV across the network (I have 4 networked over-the-air tuners).  I ran tests both ways with using WiFi and then Ethernet to connect my iMac to the AirPort. Both connection methods worked great without any lag or ping issues.

 

Even when I place the Mirocell between devices its running good.  Right now I have it set up as:

Cable Modem > AirPort Extreme.  Off the 3 ethernet connections on the AirPort I have:

Port 1 > iMac

Port 2 > SiliconDust HDHomeRun Tuner

Port 3 > AT&T 3G MicroCell > SiliconDust HDHomeRun Tuner

 

The AirPort only has 3 ports but I wanted everything on the ethernet as there are times where I might be recording 4 HDTV channels at the same time and I'd rather do it over gigabit ethernet than WiFi.

 

 

Message 4 of 13
Contributor

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

I couldn't the Microcell to work when hooking it up to the Airport Extreme router, but I was able to do so with the Vonage Linksys adapter.

 

-Comcast Modem hooked up to

-Vonage Linksys Adapter with three Ethernet Ports

-1.Apple Extreme N (all Ethernet ports left empty)

-2.Att 3G Micrcocell

-3.Xbox

 

I can only assume that my Vonage Linksys adapter leaves the IP address clean for the Microcell to pick up the signal and the Apple Extreem N do its thing (it was set to Bridge mode btw..) when passing the internet connection through the Ethernet ports

 

I also understand that getting a second IP address from the highspeed internet provider e.g. Comcast here in this case, helps trouble shooting which I think makes sense...because my origional set up was to connect my Apple Extreme router to the internet, and then using all the ethernet ports for my other gadgets. It didn't work as all my other gadgets didn't find a valid address.

 

Good Luck All...I am very happy with my Microcell and my Blackberry.

Message 5 of 13
Contributor

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

I registered to reply and say this exact issue happened to me last night as well. I have my AEBS near my microcell and having wide channels enabled causes the AEBS to behave completely erratic. Massive latency, dropped packets, wireless connectivity loss, inability to (re)connect to the AEBS with clients, and generally unstable behavior. I tried everything including replacing the ethernet cable to the AEBS but the only thing that resolved the intermittent connectivity was disabling wide channels. Now it is rock solid again. It seems wide channels and the microcell are completely incompatible.

 

I find this especially strange since my AEBS is set to 5 GHz n-only which means if it operating in the 5 GHz band only whereas the microcell is operating in the 1.9 GHz band. There should not be any intereference, especially intereference that would affect the AEBS operating at 5 GHz. Perhaps wide channels uses a harmonic or some other frequency that is interrupted by GSM? Or perhaps the microcell is putting out some other RF besides 1.9 GHz GSM frequencies?

 

FWIW I did notice that (significant) distance between the devices seems to improve the situation, but that is impractical for most people since the wired switch is where both of those devices ultimately connect.

 

It would be nice if Apple and/or ATT could resolve this but I'm not going to hold my breath considering how they work together with the iPhone.

Message 6 of 13
Teacher

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

Can you tell us if you ever got this the microcell to work? So far nothing on this end! I have even tried to plug the microcell directly into the cat5 and no activation. So far I have one to return and one to put on eBay!

Message 7 of 13
Mentor

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

I have an AExtBS and it was set to use Wide Channels and the Microcell has been working fine. My network may not be the fastest but it seems to

be okay. I also have a second AExtBS in the LR and 2 AExpresses.

Right at this moment the Microcell is not working because I had to unplug it to move something and it takes forever to get a steady 3G signal again.

Hopefully it will get a 3G signal again...

Message 8 of 13
Mentor

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

Steady 3G signal again.

I have unchecked "use wide channel" to see if I can notice any difference at all in anything.

Message 9 of 13
Contributor

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

I had the same problem with the Microcell and Airport Extreme -- blinking 3 G. I ended up getting the Microcell to work by using the Alternate Connection Instructions from page 17 of the AT&T 3G Microcell User Manual. Ten minutes later, we received a text and email from ATT that our activation was successful! Solid green 3G light on the Microcell! And 2-3 bars now in our house. Yahoo!!

Message 10 of 13
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL


pareth wrote:

I had the same problem with the Microcell and Airport Extreme -- blinking 3 G. I ended up getting the Microcell to work by using the Alternate Connection Instructions from page 17 of the AT&T 3G Microcell User Manual. Ten minutes later, we received a text and email from ATT that our activation was successful! Solid green 3G light on the Microcell! And 2-3 bars now in our house. Yahoo!!


I have the AEBS as well and never had to do any alternate connections. Mine is set in non-priority mode, DSL -> AEBS -> MicroCell. I've assigned an static IP to the MicroCell based on its MAC address and set port forwarding to that address only. The MicroCell is the only wired device on my network, everything else is wireless and we have no problems at all with slowness of the inet or phone issues.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTMobilityCare

*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 11 of 13
Guru

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL

You should not need to set up any port forwarding for the Microcell on the AEBS. All of its connections are initiated from the inside. The AEBS doesn't have any QoS capabilities, alas, but if you have sufficient uplink bandwidth, then it doesn't matter.

 

Message 12 of 13
Highlighted
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell + Airport Extreme N + Airport Express N + wide channels = FAIL


nsayer wrote:

You should not need to set up any port forwarding for the Microcell on the AEBS. All of its connections are initiated from the inside. The AEBS doesn't have any QoS capabilities, alas, but if you have sufficient uplink bandwidth, then it doesn't matter.

 


You are probably correct. However, this is how I got it to work back in March and am reluctant to change it now. We have gone thru multiple power outages etc and the MicroCell has always bounced back in about 10 minutes. The MicroCell is the only wired device on my network so there isn't any performance hit at all, even with 2 or more phones in use and streaming Netflix at the same time. Download is 18Mbps and upload is 1.0Mbps sustained.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


I am not an AT&T employee. For additional help, please send a PM to ATTMobilityCare

*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 13 of 13
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