Internet stick problem

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Ken1
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Internet stick problem

Post by Ken1 » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:07 pm

Hi, I have a Novatel MC727 internet stick for my internet service. I bought it in August of 2009 and it has worked trouble free until early June this year. At my house, I have always had 3 bars out of 5 for signal strength. In early June, the signal started to jump back and forth between 1 bar and 3 bars at random; usually at 1 to 5 minute intervals. A week later it stayed at one bar. I have tried the stick outside my house and even close to the cell tower and cannot get more than 1 bar signal strength. I then tried it away from home at a location seviced by another cell tower and the stick gets all 5 bars lit. I also purchased a new stick; a Novatel MC988D and it worked perfectly at the store which is at a location serviced by another cell tower. I brought it home, installed it and it won't work either; in fact I could not even connect to the internet with it. I contacted tech support; spent 35 minutes on the phone with the tech guy and he could not make it work after trying everything he could think of. I returned it to the store and they tested it and said it was working fine. I have my old stick back and at least I have my internet back but it's painfully slow with 1XRTT instead of EVDO service. I have phoned tech support 5 times in the last 2 weeks and the reply I always get is that it's either my stick or my location at fault. Unfortunately I don't even know of anyone else around here that has one of these sticks. Everyone living in town has DSL and almost everyone in the rural area is still using dial up with a few people using satellite or another wireless service; both of which are far more expensive than these wireless sticks. Is this a cell tower issue or is it something else?

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haklesup
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Re: Internet stick problem

Post by haklesup » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:49 pm

The evidence suggests that something about the cell tower has changed. It may not have a signal from your carrier anymore or an antenna may have malfunctioned. Do you have a contract on that cellular modem, can you switch to a new carrier?

Rather than fussing with the tech support for the modem setup, focus on the phone company and complain about signal strength loss at your location. They can send out a truck to check signal levels at least. Insist that they run diagnostics on the tower or you may be forced to switch carriers.

Periodically on cell phones, one may need to dial a certain number to update the cell tower list in the phone especially when traveling. Ask tech support if a similar function needs to happen for the cell modem.

Ken1
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2005 1:01 am
Location: Sandy Lake, Manitoba
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Re: Internet stick problem

Post by Ken1 » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:31 pm

Hi, Yes I do have a contract and it expires in late August of this year.
The company that provides the internet service is also the phone company that owns the tower. I have a cell phone by that same company and I have not experienced any difficulty in service.
I can switch to a new carrier, however their tower is shorter and signal strength is very weak here. This other carrier also has a partnership with the phone company to share towers for the 4G service which is becoming available, however I don't know if they would be able to help much if I were to purchase one of their sticks and it doesn't receive a signal here. If I already had service from them and lost the signal, I am sure they would have more leverage to force the phone company to fix the problem.

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haklesup
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Re: Internet stick problem

Post by haklesup » Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:40 pm

given that your contract is about to expire, you should look at other solutions. For example many smart phones can be used as a modem with the proper cable or even more common today act as a local wireless router. The higher equipment/plan cost may be offset by not needing to have two plans (one for the phone and one for the stick)

Its possible that the cell tower signal is fine but other local noise in the area (cordless landline phones, wiFi etc) may be reducing the SNR so that the stick has to work really hard to hear it. The phone may have a larger antenna and better front end amplifier to cope. Try turning off anything in the house that transmits and see if the stick works better

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