After a storm line moved thru Texas this Mother's Day weekend (early Friday morning in my area, before daybreak), I found neither my Mi-Fi nor my cell phone were working properly.. I was able to get thru to Verizon Tech support after *numerous* dropped calls (I'd be trying to explain the problem, and the phone would just disconnect from the network... same thing the Mi-Fi was doing, both had 3-4 bars of signal strength though which was weird!). Finally managed to keep the cell phone online long enough to talk to a tech support person for a few minutes, for some reason she had me do a full reset of the Mi-Fi unit (in spite of the fact that both my cellular devices were experiencing odd behaviour, much more likely a cell tower issue than BOTH my cellular devices developing problems at the same time!). After the Mi-Fi was fully reset (ie. remove the battery, press and hold the little reset button with a paper clip for 5 seconds, re-install the battery after another 10 seconds, etc.) the Mi-Fi seemed to work for a little bit and my phone hadn't dropped the call yet so we decided to let me try it for awhile and see if that (somehow?) solved the problem.... well, it didn't after about 20 minutes or so the Mi-Fi again stopped "talking" to the cellular network and my phone started dropping calls again.
Long story short I was finally able to get back on the phone with VZ tech support (after numerous more dropped calls) and explain that what we'd done previously hadn't actually solved anything, and they FINALLY issued a TroubleTicket to have the cell tower checked by a technician. Later that night everything spontaneously went to working VERY well suddenly for 4 -5 hours till I sacked out. Next morning (Saturday), back to not working again so I just left it all and worked outside on other things. Later that day after lunch, it all went to working VERY well again finally and seems to be staying that way now... except, my Mi-Fi appears to now be powering itself off after the inactivity timeout as if it was on battery power even though it's actually plugged in! WTF?
It has turned itself completely off 2X now for no apparent reason other than inactivity. It's like it thinks it's on battery now instead of on a/c (it IS on A/c however!). I went into the setup and increased the inactivity shutoff setting from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, but it still shouldn't be doing this. It appears to be a result of that reset the VZ tech had had me perform Friday afternoon. My admin passoword to the unit and WPA2 key were not reset they are as they were, but something is definitely different now!
Any thoughts on how to fix this? It's annoying to say the least! My area is still on 3G only if that matters. The Mi-Fi has never turned itself off while on a/c power previously, that reset seems to have introduced this annoying little glitch. 😞
ps. And what might have happened to my local cell tower during the storms that Friday morning to bring all this upon me anyhows? There wasn't much lightning (mostly far away rumbling only, no close strikes at all in my neighborhood), and barely any rain just some wind as far as I can tell (some branches and dead trees were blown down in my area, nothing tornadic however). It sure did something to that cell tower though! Arghhhh!
Thanks for the details. This sounds like a combination of two different problems. Firstly there was most likely a service problem in your area that VZW has now resolved. Thanks for your diligence in pressuring VZW into sending a field tech to repair the damage. Lets assume that problem is fixed and that your service is holding steady again for all devices.
The second issue sounds like a hardware problem on your MiFi 4501L, or perhaps your wall charger/USB cord. Quick question, does your MiFi's E-Ink display a charging battery symbol when connected to the power source? You should see the icon make a charging motion by starting at empty, add a bar, and then fill before recycling through the sequence again.
Confirm that the MiFi is charging properly:
1. Completly power down the MiFi
2. Remove the battery
3. Confirm no lights or images are displayed
4. Connect the A/C power (from the desired power source)
5. Observe the screen and LED lights
Your MiFi should acknowledge that there is a charging resource available and display the charging symbols for you along with a Yellow blinking LED light on the side.
When the MiFi does not behave as described then there is a hardware problem...somewhere. The easiest thing to check is charging the MiFi from another location, wall charger or USB cable. Compare a few different scenarios and look for trends. If you cannot change the behavior of the MiFi then your MiFi or the battery must have gotten fried somehow. I dont believe VZW cover's battery replacement but they should replace a bad MiFi under the one year warranty.
Post back your findings for addtional suggestions.
Thanks John for your response, however Yes it was indicating charging prior to the 2 self power-down's it did on it's own. Right now in fact it's showing full battery charge (still plugged into the same A/c plug and outlet, nothing about that has been changed).
I did enable the Logs yesterday, but it has not self powered-down again so far. Also there was a Software Update it said available Monday morning when I checked so I let it download and apply the update... took it from 2.23.01 to 2.28.02. The updates was Successful. Since then no self powering-down while on a/c has been observed... new behavior has though!
Now the thing flashes steady purple 100% of the time any wireless device is connected to it, even if said wireless device (my Motion LE1700 Tablet PC) isn't sending/receiving anything from the internet. The send/receive purple light only goes solid purple now when NOTHING is connected to the MiFi. I'm BSCS degreed and have Microsoft Product Certifications in Windows, I'm positive my TabletPC is not "talking" on the internet Automatic Updates are disabled and there is 0% utilization of the wireless internet connection according to Windows Task Manager's Networking tab... I watched for 15 minutes late last night as the MiFi flashed purple but the Tablet PC indicated 0% activity. My TabletPC was the only wireless device connected to the MiFi, I confirmed this thru the MiFi's admin screen (and the WPA2 passphrase is set and nobody else knows it but me). What's up with that? Did this update change the behavior of the MiFi's led?
Thanks again. Sorry to be so long winded I try to get all the detail I can down.
Details are good, keep them coming.
Now it sounds like the device behavior has shifted. Instead of having a power issue now there is a possible data leak. Its true the LED blinks only when traffic is detected. I don't think we have ever confirmed that the LED blinks for local, internet or both kinds of traffic, but it should blink none the less. The only way to know for sure is to set up a sniffer and monitor the connection between the two devices, background traffic can come from more than just windows update. It might just be a keep-alive/heartbeat between the MiFi and your connected devices.
When I watch my MiFi (also on 2.28) I notice it is steady purple when not connected. Connecting my Win7 Laptop to the MiFi causes my MiFi to blink purple similar to what you are describing. This may or may not be a new feature with the new firmware, I no longer have access to the older version to confirm. I'll play around with WireShark and try to sniff out any traffic with my own equiptment.
I took the MiFi and my TabletPC both to my local Verizon Wireless store today around noon and showed them what it was doing... they were suprised at the constant flashing "violet" LED even though my TabletPC wasn't accessing the internet just connected to the MiFi. Then I disconnected from the MiFi and the violet LED went solid on. They then went and checked their own in-store MiFi and found it behaves the exact same way as mine.
I swear before the software update I did to the MiFi Monday morning it never flashed the LED unless my TabletPC was actively communicating on the internet, just being connected to the MiFi didn't cause the LED to flash. Now it flashes full time whenever anything is connected to it... while at the store they had me disconnect from it, saw that the LED stopped flashing and went solid, then they connected a store laptop to my MiFi and sure enough the LED went back to flashing constantly even though their laptop wasn't doing anything online either.
This is in fact new behavior and contradicts the manual's descriptions of the LED behaviors.
Something's still wrong out here with my local cell tower I believe, web pages are failing to load far too frequently it's like the MiFi is barely getting thru to the internet even though it's running a steady 3 to 4 bars of signal strength. This thing has given me nothing but trouble since Saturday morning when that storm front blew thru the greater Houston area! Prior to that it had been very fast, reliable and generally trouble-free in fact. Weird!
So far it has not self powered-off since Sunday night. I let it run off it's internal battery the entire trip to my local VZ store and back and now have it plugged back into A/c again. Log is still enabled if it does power itself off maybe the log will capture the reason why.
This is an interesting thread, perhaps we made a discovery today.
The MiFi 4510L has a long history of disconnection and dormancy issues. Most of the time we were able to correct them by resetting or power cycling the device. Since the rollout of 2.28 those complaints have died down quite a bit. Every firmware version that has been released has been focused around this issue and the 3G/4G handoff. Perhaps in an effort to keep the device active they unlocked additional monitoring and now have the LED respond to all kinds of network traffic, not just HTML.
My logs from WireShark were consistent with what I expected. After a 2 minute sniff I captured around 256 frames of network traffic between the MiFi and my laptop. Most were generated from my laptop while some was from the MiFi. I had no HTML traffic but I did show lots of ICMP, NetBios, SNMP and CLDAP packets. The remainder were random TCP and UDP packets that seem to be going to random services.
Just as interesting, I disconnected my computer and the violet LED stopped flashing and turned solid violet... I then allowed my new Droid Razr to connect to the MiFi and the violet LED goes back to flashing continuously even though the phone isn't being used for anything. After 15 minutes of this I disconnected the phone from my MiFi and the violet LED stops blinking and goes back to solid.
So in summary, the developers have definitely changed the LED's behavior it no longer flashes when sending/receiving data from the internet it now flashes whenever any device is connected to it thru WiFi even if that device is not actually accessing the internet thru the MiFi. The behavior no longer agrees with the MiFi manual.
I don't much like this behavior, it was better when the LED flashed only to indicate actual internet access (html, ftp, etc.) by a connected device. 😞
Thanks for your help John.
Now that we have exposed a new behavior of the MiFi 4510L lets do a little follow up.
I'm curious if your data usage will go up or not from the previous months. Since the release of 2.28 the disconnection threads have died down and there was a wave of new data usage/overage issues. Many users reported having several GB more then they normally do all the sudden. Its always hard to trace a data leak back to the actual source, perhaps this new MiFi feature is the reason why. If the MiFi is inaccuratly reporting the data it sends to VZW that could explain for a surge in usage without any new user behavior.
Lets keep an eye on it, atleast for the next month or two. Check in with VZW for updates on your usage for the next few weeks. Make sure the MiFi's are not bugged out and causing more problems then they are solving. I'll leave mine on and do the same to compare.
Mine is on 24x7, I don't turn it off normally. I'm leaving my computer connected to it and turned on 24x7 also (as I have done for many months now). My average bandwidth usage runs about 3.5 gigs a month, I usually get the VZ e-mail that I've used 50% of my bandwidth allottment some 7-8 days before the usage resets in fact. So far I've yet to get the 50% allottment usage notice this allottment period; my period resets the 7th of each month. I'll be keeping an eye out in case anything changes!
ps. I'm also seeing odd disconnects and reconnects of my computer's Wi-Fi connection to the Mi-Fi. I've not seen this behavior before either, the Mi-Fi and computer are in the exact same places in my home office nothing has changed here except the Mi-Fi's behavior it seems.
pps. No more self power-off's have occurred since Sunday night/Monday morning. This software update did apparently stop that problem it has not occurred again since. Of course that problem didn't start until AFTER a VZ tech support person had me do a full reset of the Mi-Fi last Friday afternoon.
I have been monitoring the behavior of my MiFi for the past few days to try and confirm some of your suspicions. In this test scenario I have simply connected to the MiFi and let it sit for as long as I could without consuming any data. What I noticed in my logs was that the MiFi was still tracking data for these sessions. Specifically within a few minutes of connecting to the MiFi a new session was recorded in the logs and data was consumed.
My results show that from 5/16 until this morning (5/22) my MiFi has consumed .001GB of my total data plan. I assume this activity is related to Microsoft updates and background activity that I did not start on my own. From this we can confirm that the MiFi is consuming data while it is on and devices are connected, even if the user is not doing anything. In my opinion, the miniscule amount of data that was consumed is not a concern. The real question is weither or not this behavior is new with the 2.28 firmware update. I suspect it is not and only the behavior of the LED has changed.
Its good to hear that your original problem of the power-off's has been resolved. Keep us posted if you discover or have questions on anything else.