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Thread: My Experiences with the 4150L hotspot

  1. #1
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    My Experiences with the 4150L hotspot

    We got the 4150l because we live in a rural area and do not have any wired high speed internet connections. But it has not been very reliable at all. I'm posting to generally share my observations of the device. We are on our second device and awaiting a second sim card. I seriously doubt that the sim card is the problem but you pretty much have to cooperate with support since you're sort of at their mercy :-)

    Anyone with one of these or the 4620 should get familiar with the admin web page. It's at the device's ip address 192.168.1.1 and has a password field in the upper right corner. The password will be the same 8 digit alpha numeric security code that you provide when connecting computers to the hotspot.

    There are some things you can change on the device but not many. As is often the case verizon has crippled the device well below what I suspect are it's true capabilities. However I suggest you not change settings unless you really need to. If you have problems, verizon technical support will fairly quickly direct you to reset the device to factory settings. Resetting to factory defaults can be done with the admin web page or via a small hole in the device with a paper clip. In any case I learned the hard way as I had made all sorts of tweaks to the setup and then when I called with problems all that was reset. There is an option to backup the configuration and if you do start making changes I'd recommend doing that.

    There have been various complains about the device. Many of which have been cleared up by the latest firmware. You should make sure you have that. One of the tabs on the device admin page will let you check.

    I have been able to connect to the LAN wireless side with various devices without any issues. It's not the strongest wireless signal you will find but given they are trying to make it run on a battery that's understandable. The only significant issue we've had on the wireless lan side has been the ip addresses. The device will only allow 5 wireless connections and it's dhcp server will only give out 9 ip addresses. If you use it with a lot of devices and watch the lan page you will see that it is often incorrect as to what devices are currently connected. This has lead to problems for us as the device will continue to think something is connected when that device has been turned off and won't allow more connections. I basically solved that problem and the ip address limitation by establishing a 2nd subnet with an extra N router I had on hand. Now I only use the hotrspot as an access point.

    The big problem we have had has been on the wireless wan side. And that's why we're on our second device and soon to try a second sim card. As a result I have taken to watching it's cell wan connection on the WWAN admin page tab quite closely. This admin page tab shows you how long the device has been connected to the verizon network, how much traffic there has been, and what ip address you are assigned.

    A lot of people will report that they have connectivity problems and have to cycle the device with the power switch. But often these complaints do not get into the details of their problems. Obviously there are two wireless connections going on here, one from your device to the hotspot using 802.11 and the second from the hotspot to the nearest verizon tower. In the beginning I did the same thing as others when the device seemed to not be working, turn it off and back on again. After a while I started spending more time trying to figure out exactly what was going on. This is with the hotspot located on the desk with the wireless computer right beside it. And because we are rural I have a 9 element yagi antennae connected to the hotspot. I consistently get 3 to 4 bars reception on the hotspot. So signal strength is not an issue.

    If you watch the WWAN tab on the admin page you will see the status change frequently between connected and dormant. As best as I understand this is to save power. You cannot affect this behavior using any of the settings. My searches suggest that the core hotspot may provide for some control over this but the "verizon" version of the firmware has locked that control out. I believe the connection to the version network is where most of the problems with this device are.

    I started watching the wwan tab closely in one browser window while navigating around web pages in another brower window. I used two monitors for this. There are two behaviors I have observed. The first is going dormant and not returning to the connected status. In this you can observe that on the wwan tab the status remains at dormant even though you have other browser windows open attempting to load web pages. Once this happens it will not recover. Often you can recover from this manually by clicking on the disconnect button on the wwan tab. Once it disconnects then the button will change to connect, click on it again.

    The second more common problem I observed is sporatically cycling through a disconnect and reconnect. I can not find a consistent set of events that provokes this behavior. It can go from hours with the same connection to cycling the connections multiple times in the space of 5 minutes. If you are watching the wwan tab what you will see is that the devices status changes to disconnecting, clears all the counters and ip addresses, changes status to disconnected, then starts up the connecting status. Eventually the device re-establishes connection to the cell network and you will see a new ip address. To the locally connected devices this just seems like the intenet connection has hung for a couple minutes and then resumes working. It can happen in the middle of activity. Again I have found no consistent actions on my part that I can use to reproduce this behavior on demand. As I'm sure most readers know this makes trouble shooting much more difficult.

    I don't think it is an issue with resources at my local tower but that's speculation on my part. We have a tower located fairly close to us and the area in all directions is rural. I have the external antennae mostly because our house is in a low area adjacent to a lake. Bottom line I do not think that this tower is experiencing a lot of traffic. However I have no idea what the various limitations of the hardware at the tower are so it's difficult to be certain. Other accounts I have read on the net suggest that others are experiencing similar problems at different locations. That at least tends to point to the device, no tthe specific tower.

    I have also tried changing the wwan connection to force 3g only, as well as turned the ssid boradcast off, and changed the 802.11 to N only. None of these made a difference. I didn;t expect them to but I had seen where others thought these changes helped.

    Hopefully with my post I've given others a bit of a jump start on their own problems. And if anyone has ideas I'm open to them. I have engaged verizon technical support and I'm working at their teir 2 level. I beleive they understand that I am technically competent so perhaps I'll get somewhere with them. My wife is less patient and wants to tell verizon to bag it and sign up for hughs nets. I know that will be a pain since we're just months into the 2 years on the device.

  2. #2
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    I thought I might add. If you are fooling around with one of these mifi's I also found that it not only limits it's dhcp address list to .2 through .10, it also ignores addresses outside that range. So you can't fool it by assigning fixed addresses above .10 to devices. I wasted a lot of time when I assigned .100 to the n client switch I have connected to my hardwired network and could not get it to work. I assume this is just another part of verizon's efforts to cripple the thing. I don't understand why though since just about everyone is paying for usage.

  3. #3
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    As I expected, the new sim card arrived and it didn't take long before I was seeing the same behavior. Random cycling though disconnect and connect. Stuck in dormant. Sometimes it self recovers. Sometime I can recover through the admin web page. Occasionally it needs a power down/up to recover.

    Calling verizon tommorrow to see what they suggest next.

  4. #4
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    where do you reside?

  5. #5
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    I'm in rural VA along the NC/VA border at Kerr Lake. There is a 3g tower about 3 miles from me.

    I called verizon back and told them no go on the replacement sim card. Hot spot is still doing the same thing. This time the tech did some more research and told me there are a couple dozen similar complaints about 3g internet connectivity in my immediate area. She called it "marginal service" and said there was nothing else they could do.

    To give verizon credit they let me cancel the service without a termination fee. I did have to get a little obstinant with them to get this. At first they tried to get a cancellation fee out of me. So if you end up here stand your ground and they seem to back down.

    I'm not convinced it had any thing to do with the service area. I was getting great signal since I had an external antenna. I think verizon simply didn't have the connectivity at the tower for the number of customers in the area. And then when a new customer made an internet connection they bumped somebody. And since it was 3g equipment they didn't want to invest the time or money to fix it. Makes you wonder what they will do when some of the 4g equipment starts reaching it's limit.

    So I called exide and had their new satellite internet installed. 12g down and 3g up. So far (fingers crossed) it seems to work fine. So long verizon :-)

  6. #6
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    Sorry it didn't work out. The MiFis are crippled to prevent more than 5 devices (10 on LTE). That's an arbitrarily small number.

    I have a next generation 4620L. It likes to automatically disconnects he internet when the connection is idle (which requires a visit to the device's HMI or the admin panel to reconnect it). I've configured my DD-WRT enabled router to keep a SCP connection alive across the internet to keep the WWAN connection alive. It also does a 2nd NAT destroying the 10 device limitation (my 2nd NAT supports 65,535 clients ).

    An alternative to native Verizon service is Millenicom (Verizon wholesaler MVNO). They offer 20GB of Verizon 3G data for $60/month; no contract either.

    The latest generation of Satellite internet looks pretty good too...

  7. #7
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    I tried to trick it to keep the connection alive with a ping to google as a scheduled task every 10 minutes and that didn't seem to matter.

    Another provider running on verizon won't help me much since the issue is at verizon's tower, not the mifi. The last verizon tech admitted there was many identical complaints in my immediate area.

    So far, a few weeks so far anyway, the exide (aka wildblue) new satellite is still an order of magnitude better than verizon was. Plus I get twice the data for $60 that verizon was providing for $50.

  8. #8
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    new firmware came out like 2 days ago...tho i only had my mifi for a few days but i did upgrade and not sure if it made any difference?

  9. #9
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    If you are in a 4g area I think you're fine. If you're in a 3g area then I don't believe any firmware will fix it. Problem is on the other end, not the mifi.

  10. #10
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    About what you said , i think the hotpot should be adapted to different network. And some guys said that the mifi is OK or not or some what. Maybe the problem is on the other but not the mifi. life the buddy above has said.

  11. #11
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    Great to see this post, I like to read about your experience.Its good, to follow to buy with same feature product.

  12. #12
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    Have you mapped out the signal throughout your residence?

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