Modem connected but no service - Also my modem is FAULTY what can I do??????

Firstly my modem is at least 'slightly' faulty, 9 months ago one of the LEDs for the signal (the highest/third signal strength) died, it was flickering like crazy and I went to investigate and when I picked up the modem and put the slightest pressure around the LED area it would go solid, when i let go of pressure it flickered like crazy, a few days later it went out completely and has never come back since and being so close to my tower and LOS I usually have 5 bars in the router interface and before that had all three LEDs lit up basically 24/7. Since then my service has slowly degraded to the point where I am getting really fed up with it and lately keep having to use my 4G mobile (also on optus) with "mobile hotspot" because I think the modem is faulty and now its getting to the point where hard reboots dont help and more upsetting was when I talked to customer service they showed absolutely no interest (nor any expertise) and told me they could do nothing and to take a screenshot of my problems. I was told by them 'this doesnt happen' 'thats not how it works' etc which is extremely frustrating and gives me little hope they will help me at all. This fault is either a component level fault or I suspect more likely cold solder joints which (if it is the problem) is most likely affecting other components in the router as well which is what I suspect because the components are all soldered onto the board. I was told on the phone nothing could be done but I think this is really not good enough when I think the hardware itself is faulty and have proof at very least this one LED is.

After this happened I have experienced multiple issues with connection problems at all hours of the day quite often at early hours of the morning like 2-4am when there is nobody there for support/customer service/fault testing, this is why I was told me to take screenshots because usually when I notice problems its outside customer service hours which is also certainly outside peak hours.

My modem is 500meters line of sight to the nearest tower, the next two closest towers are 3.75KM and 3.9KM away respectively and certainly not line of sight with lots of big hills in the way.

This is what usually happens.
1.My internet slows down to a crawl or cuts out completely
2.I log into my router interface and see I am connected but with no signal at all (no bars)
3.I used to try to reboot through router interface (I now skip straight to #4) - this would just go back to 'connected' but with no signal no matter how many times I reboot through software.
4.I hard power the router and it (used to) come back with full signal - excellent internet - at least until next time where I rinse and repeat. I also usually check the optus outages map just to make sure and 100% of the time they have all been green.
4b.Lately I have been trying 4 and getting no signal after hard power so have been using mobile hotspot regularly which is getting old really fast.

I can upload probably a dozen screenshots showing my connection problems on many different dates going back to March this year. Before this year I had a solid connection 24/7 since I started on 05 February 2017 so for over a year previous I never once experienced a problem at all.

So what exactly can I do here?

Comments

#1

wade wrote 9 weeks ago

06/03 - https://imgur.com/a/sqtc1mX
13/03 - https://imgur.com/a/OWX5AgY
21/03 - https://imgur.com/a/662rlSm
08/06 - https://imgur.com/a/vJOt8Bi -- Connected but no reception at all
09/06 - https://imgur.com/a/salnwWG -- Connected but no reception at all

Note that I have certainly not taken screenshots every single time this happens usually I now just yank the plug and hard reboot without even checking anything else, id probably have over a hundred screenshots if I did it every single time.

Sometimes its fine for a week then it happens multiple times in a single day other times it happens every few days. It seems very random to me and I also dont know why it would ever try to connect to the towers almost 4km away when my optus phone (actually its a optus reseller - catchconnect) connects to the one only 500meters away without fail every time I have a problem.

It seems like it is the same problem as this guy https://forum.vividwireless.com.au/forum/technical-support-lte/modem-con...

So I am curious what happened there? Did he get his hardware replaced??

#2

ozzcaddy-MODERATOR wrote 9 weeks ago

Hi Wade, it is hard to say that your problem is similar to the other person that you have provided a link to.

What Suburb/Postcode are you in?

Looking at the last two screenshots, the first screen shot shows the Cell_ID. Also, the signal is Poor as shown by the modems stats. The second screen shot shows No Cell_ID - '0', and again a Poor signal stats.

There maybe a fault with the modem by how Cell_ID = 0, and there are some signal stats displayed.

You may be best to speak with Tech Support and they can see how your modem and signal has been.

1300 327 837

Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney Customers (local time):
Monday to Friday 9am-10pm. Saturdays, Sundays and Public holidays from 9am-9pm.

Perth Customers (local time):
Monday to Friday 8am to 9pm. Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays from 8am to 8pm.

#3

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 9 weeks ago

Regarding the LED misbehaving, yes, I agree, that sounds like a solder joint issue. Maybe it has deteriorated over time due to heat? Doesn't sound though like that would be likely to be at the root of your connection / performance issue.

Modems can fail of course, though not often. I know some people in the past have purchased a 2nd-hand modem from eBay or other sites. This has risk associated with it. You would want to be sure that the previous owner has not left an unpaid bill behind them. If I were doing this, I would find out the modem's MAC address and then enquire first with vividwireless, to be sure that it would be suitable to connect from their point of view.

When you can post back with your postcode, we can have a look here:
https://www.optus.com.au/about/network/service-status

I looked back through my emails for the information about what happened with that other customer. Took me a while to find them; it turned out to be late 2016. The questions were never finally resolved with any certainty, but I can tell you the process. I passed along details of the customer's modem ID to my contacts at vividwireless, and they had a look at stats from the connections to the tower(s), finding that usually it connected quite well to one tower, but at the time of the errors/issues it was connecting to alternative towers further away with a much worse signal. I didn't notice anything about the modem being replaced, although that is a possibility.

Let's start with the obvious and most-likely things: your location and possible faults or tower issues in the area. If that doesn't produce a result, we should verify that your address is definitely still in a coverage area (this does change from time to time). I would then recommend testing with the modem in other locations, to see if the fault follows the modem or not. Last resort would be to escalate to my contacts and ask for an investigation.

#4

wade wrote 8 weeks ago

As mentioned every time I have experienced problems over the last 9 months all three towers, the one 500meters away - other almost 4km away are all green 'no issues reported' or something like that, not once have I seen them any other color/status and when I originally started this thread every single one was GREEN certainly not original or red and there was no work planned (pitt town says "Scheduled between: 16-10-2018 and 24-10-2018" if you actually look at it)

I talked to tech support a few times already as well as sat on hold for about 30mins the other day before I had to go out but honestly its like watching an episode of the IT crowd... "have you tried turning it off and on again". Even the hold message says this which is pretty ironic since my whole problem is that it locks up and I have to hard reboot it. Honestly customer support has not been any help at all and after already spending time trying its apparent its a complete waste of my time (and theirs). Most people would think a modem should last more than a year or two before exhibiting signs of failing like LEDs not working and constant lock ups but my concerns seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

I wish I could purchase a completely different modem and use the sim card in my preferred modem (I actually already have about 3 different 4g modems here) I am not sure why I am forced to use the vivid/huawei modem after my one has already developed faults? Is there any actual reason I am forced to use only this router and am not allowed to use another router even if I set it to only use 2300mhz? It kinda seems like anti competitive practices to me because I cant see any actual reason for this forced restriction.

Thanks anyways for the help guys.

#5

wade wrote 9 weeks ago

"Regarding the LED misbehaving, yes, I agree, that sounds like a solder joint issue."

I know a lot about electronics and know well that cold solder joints are most often a result of movement/vibration after the PCB gets flowed and if this is actually the case it would more than likely affect every other components that got soldered at the same time (probably every component on that side of the board), customer service really doesn't seem to like when I mention anything too technical though because it just goes straight over their heads and I seem to get 'but in my experience', or 'thats not how it works'.

https://www.kurtzersa.com/electronics-production-equipment/solderlexicon...

#6

wade wrote 9 weeks ago

..Ok so since there seems to be nothing vivid will do and apparently there is no way vivid will fix this situation with my faulty modem I have just paid for a brand new modem outright from good guys, I plan to use a random referral code so that means I should get 2 months free right?

So how do I do this, can I connect this to my current account and still get the 2 months credit? Should I sign it up with my SO details so 'she' gets the 2 months? How should I do this?

Honestly I just wanted my modem replaced since its impossible to use any alternatives and obviously it shouldn't fail to perform so quickly I hoped vivid would be good enough to just replace in good faith, ive been with vivid for almost 2 years and I think its very short time to have to replace this 'locked in' modem with identical one which is forced onto me and could more than likely fail again in under two years, not given any alternatives at all seems pretty bad form as I would honestly like to use something more reliable with better build quality and that actually has things like heatsinks for cooling and better quality components.

Anyways any suggestions on how I should go about signing up again this would be appreciated.
Cheers

#7

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 9 weeks ago

There are a bunch of Optus towers nearby which are having planned maintenance work done. One is at Clarendon, another at Richmond Golf Club, the last is at McGraths Hill. This may be significantly changing the loads on other towers nearby, as people are not able to connect to their usual towers, so end up on a more-heavily-loaded tower further away with a worse signal.

The support team have troubleshooting steps that they follow, because most of the time, that's how you get the customer back online most quickly. I work as a systems administrator in my day job. Step 1 is always "have you turned it off and on again" and that fixes about 80% of issues. 8^)

When there are odd scenarios that require more investigation, it gets a lot more complicated as you'd know.

Regarding modems and why you can't just use any modem, vividwireless have restricted their network to a particular make/model and set of MAC addresses, along with a particular set of SIMs, so you can't use a different make/model even if you put the vividwireless/Optus SIM in it. I expect that this is so there can be no unexpected issues caused at the customer's end. Firmware is tightly managed as well and is updated from the network end of things (i.e. is pushed to the modem over-the-air, not loaded by the customer).

I'm not an expert on the accounting process required to change to a new modem, but I would expect that the simplest method would be to (1) sign up a brand new account with the new gear, test that it is working; then (2) close your old account which is linked to the old modem.

Maybe someone else here can comment on that, if they know a better way.

EDIT:

One more thought. Back when we had the old WiMAX network and modems, there were a bunch of issues at one stage caused by power supplies which were slightly under-powered, and over time they just wore out and started causing all sorts of issues with the modems. The solution for that scenario ended up being to replace the power supply with a higher-rated unit.

Reason I am mentioning this to you, is that if you now have 2 x modems, you also have 2 x power supplies, so you might want to test by using the new PS with the old Modem, just in case you find that this fixes the issue. If it does, then you can keep the 2nd modem as a backup ... or return the modem you just bought and instead just replace the PS on the old modem. Most people wouldn't want to bother with the hassle of that, but thought I'd mention it in case you want to test that scenario.

#8

wade wrote 8 weeks ago

Thanks frosty you are very helpful to everyone here on the forums and I hope vivid is paying you well. ;) Honestly those towers you mention should not really affect me even if they were all down, there is one at windsor anyone from clarendon or mcgraths would hop to another at richmond anyone from clarendon would also hop to, another at glossodia (probably outside clarendons coverage but closer than me to 3/4 of those) and the other at pitt town you mentioned I think could possibly affect me if down, but as I already said every single time I have experienced problems and I check the optus outages map - I check it personally and have it bookmarked it takes like 15 seconds to check and have done so a dozens of times the three closest towers 500m 3.75km and 3.8km are all green every single time with "no issues reported" not once have I ever seen any one of them orange. When I originally posted they were all green only since have those you mentioned gone orange but tonight is a different matter because we just had a monster lightning storm and torrential rain go through so if you check it almost everything is red. Also as mentioned those two closest towers at glossodia and at pitt town are almost 4km away and even with a directional yagi on my roof I can barely even get a bar out of either of them so not likely too many people are reliably hopping to my tower from out there and VERY unlikely to hop there from even further away like clarendon or mcgraths which are double the distance at around 8km each...

I have already tried with multiple different power supplies as it uses standard 12v 1a switching with 5.5mmx2.1mm center positive barrel its almost a universal supply for almost every modem and router available these days and I have here as mentioned multiple other 4g modems working fine as well as countless other electronics that take the same supplies but its not the power supply causing problems that's one of the first things I looked at.

Thanks for the suggestions but I have already cancelled my current account and will wait for it to close out properly before activating any new account.

For anyone else doing this I basically think frostys way seems the best so if you do happen to get a faulty modem like my one don't bother buying a used one off ebay for $50 or whatever because its literally a waste of your $50 for one that could be dodge like my one.. If you purchase outright even at full price for $200 you only end up paying $20 for it after getting 2x free months (make sure you sign up with a referral code - if you want mine just ask..lol) just make sure to activate it at the end of your contract, theres really no point getting a used one if you stay for only 3 months you will actually save money or better yet do what I did wait for a 20% off code on ebay and get it from good guys for like $160 then you come out $20 ahead and have a brand new modem with another 12months warranty maybe a little bit of a stuff around but if vivid wont help replace faulty hardware it seems the best (only) option for a new one and this way there basically paying me $20 to take a modem - I personally wouldnt even bother contacting vivid as its a waste of time honestly just buy the new modem and thank yourself later, seems funny they don't just replace my other one as that's all I wanted but ah well wont even bother complaining if it ever happens again because next time ill just buy another brand new one and possibly give the old one away for free to someone who wants to try vivid and might use my code on sign up even if they only use it for a month to test if it works for them they get the free modem and I get another free month if they use my code on sign up.

Yeah I know full well its all completely locked down and that's my point, its a shame vivid locks it down as I still can't see any legitimate reason (nor have vivid ever given one) to do this, the only reason would be to force these modems onto customers due to having some kind of mutually beneficial anti competition contract with hauwei that screws over end users for the sake of the two companies (hauwei and vivid), its pretty obvious that other ISP in australia (at least on adsl and every other 4g provided I have used) allows you to use whatever modem you please but if you do there's probably a simple clause somewhere (nothing stopping vivid doing the same) that 'if you supply your OWN hardware no technical support can be given for YOUR particular hardware' or something like that, honestly there is no reason to do this at all and it is certainly detrimental to end users when their hardware goes bad and are forced to use the exact same identical ones with 'vivid' branding without a single other option, these vivid modems have modified flashroms for no legitimate reasons so although this is speculation I think its closer to the truth that there is some agreement between the two companies than anything about technical support or something else because that is easily not a problem when it comes to any other ISP I know about (maybe cable is a different matter - but the SIM card is obviously already network locked and because optus only allows vivid access through their 2300mhz spectrum its all already locked down on the optus end anyways thus absolutely no reason to force these modems onto us at all)

Anyways hopefully all goes smoothly signing up with the new account and honestly if this is the way it is all handled I don't see any reason not to just replace my modem every single time there is a 20% off on ebay just sign up for a new vivid account and get brand new modem as well as a old modem that I can sell or just give away and come out $20 or more ahead thus pay less overall to replace the modem every X months, seems crazy but that's why way vivid likes it apparently.

#9

ozzcaddy-MODERATOR wrote 8 weeks ago

Frosty, not sure if there is a problem with the Forum program regarding posting. See Post #4 by Wade which was done at least 6 days ago, but shows the same time stamp as Post # 8 (Wades latest post).

Have sent email with screen shot of Post #4.

#10

Frosty-MODERATOR wrote 8 weeks ago

Got your email, yes, something odd there.
Let's monitor posts over the next day or so.
See if there is a pattern.

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