Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Teacher

Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

[ Edited ]

My microcell loses 3G connection with AT&T (I.e. The bottom light indicating a 3G connection begins to blink) pretty frequently (and of course when that happens I lose cell service for my cell phones).  I'd say this happens maybe once every ten minutes.  Any suggestions?

 

A lit the more info:

 

- my internet service is via dsl and is solid with throughput of 7mbps down and 750kbps up (with ping time of 45ms)

 

- the Ethernet and GPS lights on my microcell are solid green and never go out

 

- the topology of my connection is: router to switch to microcell and from microcell to other Ethernet devices (it's not practical for me to eliminate that first switch given where the router is in the basement and where the microcell needs to be on the first floor)

 

- I have power cycled a number of times

 

- I (and then the AT&T people) initially had a hard time provisioning the microcell because the software on the AT&T site did not recognize the address where I have my microcell (the support staff elevated the request and they used longitude and lattitude to create a new location for the microcell and that worked to get me up and running but this is probably not the issue)

 

i havent tried calling att support support because I figured I'd get more thoughtful suggestions here.  Any ideas?

Message 1 of 30 (1,931 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

There are some issues right now with the activation part of the MicroCell (GPS matching the physical address) but it sounds like AT&T may have fixed that part.

 

When you say your connection is from router -> switch -> MicroCell -> other devices are you using the Computer port on the MicroCell to connect to other devices? In other words, other connections go thru the MicroCell back to the switch and back to the router?

 

Using a switch may be the problem because the MicroCell sometimes has difficulties with a switch if the MicroCell is not given priority. Also, if other devices transit thru the MicroCell back to the switch/router, that may also be causing problems because of the priority issue and/or increased latency.

 

Your speeds should be fine but if your line has increased latency, jitter, etc (which only your ISP can fix) then that can cause you to lose connection or affect voice quality.

 

What you should first do is look at your setup and remove as many variables as possible to test and see what may be the cause. I would try to figure out a way to eliminate the switch first for testing purposes by connecting the MicroCell, and MicroCell only directly to your modem. That bypasses the switch, router, and anything else you have on the pathway. If you MicroCell works with no issues, then you know it has something to do with your setup and you can try a process of elimination. If your problem persists, continuing loss of connectivity (flashing green 3G light), then it's probably on the ISP side and you'll have to have your ISP do some line tests to determine what the cause may be.

 

The more direct of a connection you can make the MicroCell, the better. Ideally modem -> router -> MicroCell. You can assign a static IP address to the MicroCell and port forward to give it priority and that might make your connection more stable.

 

Is this a new MicroCell or did you buy it second-hand?

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


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

*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 2 of 30 (1,915 Views)
Teacher

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

[ Edited ]

Thanks, Otto.

 

this is a new microcell.

 

I was using the computer port of the microcell to feed an access point which in turn fed a sonos bridge and my wifi.  That messed up wifi access on my wife's iPhone (don't know why) so I have gone back to my original construct which goes from router to a switch in the basement up to a switch on an access point located on the first floor and I feed the microcell off that second switch. It's really not practical for me to change the topography since the whole house has straight shoots of Ethernet cable to the basement where the router and main switch are located and there are no round trip runs.

 

when you say port forwarding, do you really mean port forwarding or do you just mean using the Mac to tell the router that this device should always be assigned 192.168.1.xyz when addresses are handed out via dhcp?  And if you mean actual port forwarding, which port should I forward?  Just 4500 and 500?  And for each of those, should I set up one for top and another for UNDP (so I end up with four entries in total tied to the static ip I reserve for microcell)?  I've just tried that and will report back. 

 

in case it's relevant, my router is (unfortunately) built into my dsl modem (it's a comtrend dsl modem router).  I would be much happier if I had a separate router that gave me more power to tweak.

Message 3 of 30 (1,907 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

If you are using in-wall ethernet wiring that can introduce all kinds of issues. Your internet may be fine but transiting VoIP over that can be problematic. The MicroCell is not really designed as a pass-thru device. The Computer port is meant for a connection to a computer. I've never used it because I don't really see the utility of it but I suppose someone does.

 

The cleaner the connection to your RG (I see now that you have an all-in-one and not a separate modem and router) and the fewer the connections, the better and more reliable the MicroCell will be. I would look at something like a wireless repeater next to the MicroCell instead of using the in-wall ethernet wiring or switches.

 

I would assign a static IP address to the MicroCell and base it on the MicroCell's MAC address which is found on the bottom of the unit. That way, whenever there is an interruption in sevice, as soon as the router's DHCP "sees" the MicroCell's MAC address, it will assign the same IP address. I have mine setup so that the first available IP address in my DHCP table is assigned to the MicroCell. Look at my Guide (link in my sig) to see what the minimum requirements are for the router. And yes, you will have four ports assigned to the static address of the MicroCell ( ports 123 UDP, 443 TCP, 500 UDP, and 4500 UDP, public and private). Make sure those ports are open by your ISP.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


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

*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 4 of 30 (1,888 Views)
Teacher

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Eureka.  The connection seems to be steady now that I've set the router to assign a static ip to the microcell and forward ports 4500 and 500 (tcp and udp) to that static ip.  Am I doing this the right way (tcp forwarding entries for 4500 and 500 and ucp forwarding entries for those same ports)?  The router also allows me to forward 'tcp/udp'...should I be doing that and cutting the number of forwarding entries down to 2 (one for each of those ports)?

Message 5 of 30 (1,884 Views)
Teacher

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

sorry, I posted before I saw your answer.  Like I said, everything seems stable now, but I will revise my port forwarding to match your instructions and report back tomorrow after I've given it more time to test

Message 6 of 30 (1,882 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Good. Those four ports have to remain open all of the time, which they probably are. However, if you're going to port forward to a static ip address, then you should be forwarding all of the ports as indicated in the Guide. Forwarding those ports to a static IP address may just give the MicroCell enough stabilty to be able to work well due to your "complicated" wiring and switching.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


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

*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 7 of 30 (1,877 Views)
Teacher

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Spoke too soon.  Still losing signal.  If I use a straight shot ethernet cable from the modem/router (which only has one ethernet port) to the switch sitting next to the modem/router to the microcell (maybe a 50 foot run of cat 5e), I get a steady green light for 3g that seems never to drop but for some reason my smartphones drop connection to the microcell with some frequency even though the smartphones report a good signal (eg 4 bars) from .the microcell.  (The cell service without the microcell is between zero and 1 bars and I turned off handoff).  Would a better path from the router to the microcell affect the connection between the microcell and the phones even if I seem to have a steady green for 3g on the microcell?

 

You said you would recommend a repeater next to the microcell...do you mean a bridge or something else?  If I tried to put an a/p near the router I won't get a signal upstairs (the router is in a furnace room) so the only thing I could do along  these lines is to feed an access point via ethernet upstairs and have that send to a bridge...that can't be a better connection, can it?

 

Message 8 of 30 (1,837 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Got something going on now so I have to go but hopefully Avedis53 will stop by. He has experience with repeaters. I'll check in later. Sorry Smiley Sad

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


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

*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 9 of 30 (1,834 Views)
ACE - Professor

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

@I'm suspicious of your switch.  Can't you temporarily connect the Mcell directly to the modem/router without the switch just to see if the Mcell will work?  I realize that's not going to give you the home coverage you need but we need to take everything out of the network but the modem/router and the Mcell for testing purposes. 

 

Can you get a GPS lock with the Mcell in your furnace room where the modem/router is located (unlikely)?  Can you run a temporary Ethernet cable from your modem/router to the Mcell if you can't move the Mcell?

 

I don't recommend running your network through the Mcell.  It should connect to a port on the router and let the other devices in your network talk directly to the router.  The Mcell will degrade the bandwidth of your network severely if you do connect it they way you have been. 

 

Do you know the power output of your modem/router (in mW)?  A repeater might help your situation but for best performance, the repeater needs to get a strong signal from the router.

 

All that being said, I'm still hazy on your network.  I need a detailed explanation of how it is set up.  Locations of equipment, what is wired, what is wireless, manufacturer and model numbers of your equipment, what all is connected to the network.  If I can get a better picture in my head of what you have, perhaps I can be of more help. 

 

 

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


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

*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 10 of 30 (1,825 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Thanks Avedis53. Appreciate the help.

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


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

*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 30 (1,818 Views)
Teacher

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Thanks for your questions and suggestions.  Here are some answers:

 

1. Description of equipment:

In furnace room, have DSL telco line --> COMTREND CT-5072T combined modem/router --> brand new TP-Link TP-LINK (TL-SG108) 8 port gb throughput switch (the combined modem/router has only one ethernet port so I need to feed it to a switch there).

 

From the furnace room switch, I have 7 striaght shot ethernet runs to different rooms in the house.

 

When I originally started this topic, I ran things like this: DSL line --> COMTREND combined modem/router -->8 port gb switch --> ethernet run --> cisco access point/switch and I had the mcell plugged into in one of the ports in the access point/switch.  With that setup, I found that the green 3g light was ususally steady but would with some frequency blink.

 

I then moved the mcell to another room where it was alone on its own ethernet straight shot, so things now look like this: DSL line --> COMTREND combined modem/router -->8 port gb switch --> ethernet run --> mcell.  I appear to have a steady green light for GPS and for 3g, but my cell phones are losing connectivity with some frequency.  Since the mcell is in a room all by itself now, it's possible that when I lose connectivity it's 3g light does start blinking for at least a little while but whenever I lose connectivity I run in there and so far I have always found the light is steady.

 

Does the fact that I have a solid green 3g light that appears to remain solid even when I lose connectivity mean that the run to the mcell is fine?  Or could that still be a problem?

 

2.  The combined modem/router specs don't seem to give me the power output.  Is it worth me trying a repeater?  The ethernet runs I'm going over are probably around 100 feet.

 

3. No way to get a gps lock in the furnace room (I could probably run an antenna but haven't tried that yet).

 

Are you suspicious of the 8 port switch that I feed my modem/router into since that's a common element in all my runs?  The rest of my network seems to work fine (I can stream hd from netflix without issue, and the router diagnostics are reporting no error packages).

Message 12 of 30 (1,806 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

I would suspect the switch. Keep in mind that your internet could be fine for what ever you need to do but VoIP is different and is very sensitive to line conditions. The absolute best way to connect is modem -> router -> MicroCell. Or modem -> MicroCell -> router. But you have a combo system so I would take out the switch and run Comtrend -> MicroCell as a test. BTW, I have a Comtrend gateway but it's in bridge mode and I let my Apple Extreme Base Station do all of the heavy lifting. No problems whatsoever.

 

Did your port forward all of the ports as detailed in the Guide? You only mention two of the ports (if I remember correctly).

 

Is your ethernet cable (100' runs) in a conduit so you could pull cable if need be? You could be getting interference somewhere along the run. When you ran the VoIP test, where did you run it from? IOW, did you disconnect the MicroCell at its end and connect your laptop using that cable run and test?

___________________________________________________________

MicroCell Technical Guide by Otto Pylot


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

*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 30 (1,788 Views)
Teacher

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Just moved it to yet another location with its own straight shoot to the 8 port switch next to the router and it's still intermittently losing connection. I've been trying to monitor it more closely and I'm pretty sure the 3G light blinks each time I lose connection (the reason I didn't think so before is that the blinking only lasts for a minute or two so it was hard to catch). Would you recommend that I swap out the switch with another switch at this point to see if that helps? Strange because the router is not reporting dropped or error packages. One more data point: the straight shoot cable it cat5e and I while I'm not sure of the length I'm sure it's well under 200 feet (probably closer to 100 feet) so it should be within tolerances.
Message 14 of 30 (1,785 Views)
Teacher

Re: Microcell itself losing 3G connection with AT&T

Sorry, you were posting same time I was so didn't see yours. Don't know if the cat5 is in conduit. I am forwarding all four ports (actually six because for the heck of it I added 4500 and 500 tcp in addition to udp).. Internet connections from all of the straight shoots work well and approximate 7mbps down and 750kbps up with ping times in the 30 to 50ms range. Later this afternoon I will take the switch out of the equation (just run straight from comtrend modem router to mcell) and report back with the results.
Message 15 of 30 (1,783 Views)
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