The AT&T 3G MicroCell Owner's Thread

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by pcguru83, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    pcguru83

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #1
    I'm fortunate enough to be in the trial market of Charlotte, NC for the new AT&T 3G MicroCell device. This afternoon I'll be picking one of these up and I'll post some thoughts and impressions. This thread will also be a great place for questions for those of us who actually have the hardware.

    Here's AT&T's overview site about what 3G MicroCell is all about:
    http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/why/3gmicrocell/

    I'll be picking it up at about 2pm, so keep a look out for thoughts and impressions. If anyone gets theirs prior to that, please feel free to go ahead and posts your thoughts and impressions as well. :)
     
  2. paj
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    I just picked mine up from the Pineville store at lunchtime. I'll play with it when I get home from work. I did the $150 no-commitment option using my existing minutes.

    I'm looking forward to not having my phone switching between edge and 3g every 5 minutes.
     
  3. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #3
  4. macrumors G5

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #4
    I'd go for it, but $150 is tab much for my current coverage which is fair. I get decent 3G speeds, but I'd rather get full blown, but for $150, it won't matter.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pcguru83

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #5
    Wow, I didn't realize these had already been in any customer's hands. Interesting, but very cool. :)

    Picked mine up from the Huntersville store. I've got it activated and all hooked up. Unfortunately, the instructions state that it can take up to 90 minutes for activation to complete. It appears to have power cycled itself once already (likely for a software update according to the instructions). I doubt I'll have to wait the full 90 minutes.

    nozebleed appears to have beaten me to it, but I did take some unboxing pics that are uploading to Flickr as we speak. I'll post them as soon as they finish.

    I wasn't aware that the carrier wording would actually change when the device was in use. I haven't updated my iPhone to 3.1 yet (and don't plan to at the moment), so I hope that doesn't cause me any issues.

    EDIT: And the pics are up on Flickr. You can view the set here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcguru83/3941811731/in/set-72157622302770611/

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And it's activated!

    [​IMG]

    Doing some testing on call quality now. I have a 10Mbit connection with Time Warner cable, and initial testing seem to indicate that when I'm downloading something (can be anything--used iTunes Store download for testing), the call quality drops severely. Might try cabling the device so that it's in front of my router. The downside there would be that I'd lose remote access to my network (which would indeed suck).
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    #6
    Picked mine up from the AT&T store in Blakeny this afternoon, another guy was there buying one too. My mom was pissed that we didn't get the unlimited calling free (since we have DSL + a landline) so we just got the Microcell without the unlimited calling.

    Setup and activation took less than an hour, and now I have 5 bars throughout my house where as I used to only have 1 bar of 3G. Only thing is that the iPhone's menu bar isn't symmetrical any more and I must say it bothers me...:p

    If anybody has any questions about the device I'd be happy to answer them.
     

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  7. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Location:
    Cary, NC
    #7
    Can anyone speak about actual call quality. That's the main thing I'm concerned about. I know we have Vonage right now and the call quality (and especially voicemail) is not that great sometimes. We have TW for our cable internet. My long term goal with this thing is, if the call quality is good enough, I plan to get rid of Vonage (which we don't use that much anyway) and transfer the home phone number to my iPhone. This would save enough in a few months to pay for the Microcell unit.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pcguru83

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #8
    I've got a short excerpt I left on my Vonage voicemail that was placed using my iPhone and MicroCell. Sounds great to me. Is there a good place to upload just audio?
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    #9
    So far it's good. I have a 6mbps connection (DSL) and from the few test calls that I have made, they sound really good. There may be a tiny bit of static going that I hear when somebody is talking, but that's it. It's the best call quality I have ever gotten on my phone.

    Durring these calls my internet connection was idle. PCGURU83, have you been able to find any sort of "priority mode"? It's mentioned in the manual several times to give your calls priority over data, but I haven't found a setting anywhere for it on the website.

    EDIT: In case anybody cares, the Microcell outputs it's signal at the 1900mhz band, not 850 (which is fine, it works perfectly as it is, I just thought it was interesting).
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #10
    Yeah I was chosen to test before they were released to the public. I got it free, they paid me a couple hundred bucks and all minutes on it were free.

    Just recently started having issues, sometimes the whoever is on the microcell sounds garbled to the other caller not on the microcell. It also resets sometimes, which results in a dropped call. I'm trying to track down and pinpoint what exactly is causing this, it may occur while someone is using a bunch of bandwidth on the computer. I did a hard reset yesterday and haven't had the problem again yet.

    I knew about pricing and everything about a month ago, I had my own personal MicroCell rep at AT&T. We actually got into a heated discussion about how I thought it was ridiculous that they were basically renting a customer's bandwidth to bring their service up to par, and charging on top of that. I suppose the unlimited minutes may take away from charged minutes, resulting in lost revenue.

    just my .02
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pcguru83

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #11
    Yeah, I saw that mentioned as well. The Getting Started Guide instructs you to see page 11, but there's not a page 11. But I have a feeling I know what its referring to.

    My guess is that priority mode is simply placing your MicroCell device in front of your router. So you'd plug your cable/DSL modem directly into the MicroCell via the Ethernet port. Then from the Computer port on the MicroCell, you'd connect to your router's WAN port. I'm guessing that is Configuration C, or "Priority Mode". The problem with this is I don't believe you'll be able to access your network remotely, even with your ports forwarded properly.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    #12
    That would make sense.

    I currently have it connected from my router to the Microcell to a Mac Mini and the Mac Mini's download speeds are not affected (while not on a call at least) and I can still access my external Airport HDD. As for accessing your network remotely, I don't know, but if you try it please let us all know.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #13
    Of the 3 or so months I've had it, its been good. Like I said, Ive had issues with the person at home sounding garbled to another caller outside of the microcell. Liek to the point of unintelligible. A reset takes care of it so far, I havent had a problem in about 24 hours. At times when there are 2 people on the phone simultaneously utilizing the MicroCell - it will reset as if it was overloaded. When this happens, both calls are dropped. This happened a few times to us during trials.

    There have been times when I did not show service in the status bar on my iPhone, I would go to the MicroCell and find it blinking the 3G bars with no connectivity. Internet service working fine. After a few minutes, it would reset, and be fine. Some days (2 or 3) it did this almost all morning, then was fine for weeks. I dont know if this was on AT&T side or what.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #14
    Correct. This is the configuration I was forced to do, Airport Express only has one ethernet port. Im looking into a switch/hub to see if it clears the issues Ive been having.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #15
    Doesn't affect remote management.
     
  16. paj
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    How long did it take to activate. It's been going on 45 minutes for me. The internet is solid green, but and the GPS and 3G lights are flashing slowly.
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    #17
    The flashing GPS means you don't have a GPS lock. Mine acquired one in about 10 minutes. Try moving it closer to the window.
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
    #18
    Is it in near a window? It might even help just to put it right on the window sill until it activates. Then you can move it. They suggest you keep it at the window, mines about 3-4 feet away. It could take an hour or so though.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pcguru83

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #19
    OK, so here's a sample clip I left on my Vonage voicemail placed using the MicroCell. It was made while utilizing a good bit of my bandwidth by downloading an ISO of Ubuntu over HTTP. I was hoping I could find somewhere to upload it with an embedded player, but we'll just have to settle on downloading it. :)

    http://www.zshare.net/download/659264431601c6be/
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    pcguru83

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #20
    Took about 20 minutes. I never had a flashing GPS light, it was either completely off (when it was booting up) or solid. Definitely try repositioning it so that it can acquire a better GPS signal. That's probably why your 3G light is flashing also.
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    #21
    I guess this is only for people who have a poor talk quality and poor 3g connections. My iPhone is always on all bars and the talking quality is great. I have internet wireless connection through verizon which I pay $40 a month for.

    So, I guess I don't need this service, am I right?

    If this thing can save me money, I'll get it bit if I'm coming of the pocket more for this, I don't see why.
     
  22. macrumors G5

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #22
    Can anyone post the specs of Tech Specs of the AT&T M-Cell? I'd like to know if it is capable of transmitting in the 850MHz frequency.
     
  23. paj
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #23
    Thanks.
    I've stuck it right by the window and re-wired it using option C on page 11. Now everything is solid green except the 3G. That's flashing slowly. Checking online shows "activation pending.... blah blah... may take 90 minutes....blah blah".

    I guess I'll have to wait a bit.
     
  24. paj
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    Yay.. it worked.

    If anyone's interested, this is on a Jailbroken 3GS running 3.0.
     

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  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2007
    #25
    It's transmitting at 1900MHz, I don't know if that's all it's capable of though.

    All of Charlotte is still on 1900MHz for 3G. I wonder if in 850MHz markets the Microcell will transmit on the 850MHz frequency.
     

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