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Old 01-21-2022, 09:23 AM   #1
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Upcoming 3G shutdown

On February 22, 2022 AT&T is going to be the first US cellular carrier to disable its 3G network. The other carriers will follow suit later in the year.

Many people are probably assuming that this will not affect them because they don't own any 3G hardware. That's not necessarily the case. It turns out that lots of so-called 4G hardware actually accesses the 3G network as part of the authentication process when it connects to the cellular network.

Yes, you read that right! Many 4G devices actually need the 3G network in order to make a connection. So what happens when the 3G network is no longer there? Well, they don't connect unless a "work around" is implemented.

This can happen to older phones, but, these days, most people are probably already using phones that are true 4G devices and don't rely on the 3G network. But it will affect lots of devices that contain cellular modems including routers, tablets, IoT devices and even automobiles.

For example, many cars contain emergency reporting capabilities (think OnStar and others) that use cellular networks for accident reporting and assistance. Quite a few of those will be effected by the 3G shutdown and, for some of them, the loss of connectivity will be permanent--there will be no plans to update the firmware.

The technical explanation for this is complicated and it involves discussion of exotic topics such as voice centric and data centric modems. Suffice it to say that the problem is real and, in the case of AT&T, very time-sensitive.

The reason I'm positing this is to make people aware that they may be using devices that will be affected by the 3G shutdown. The best way to find out if this is the case is to go to the manufacturer's website for the particular device.

WiFiRanger has already implemented a firmware fix to this problem for those routers it sells that contain integrated cellular modems. How to implement their fix is explained in a blog post on the WiFiRanger website. Other hardware vendors are probably making similar posts.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:11 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info
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Old 01-21-2022, 07:52 PM   #3
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Correct. I had a 4G LTE phone that would not have continued to work on ATT network; the telltale clue is to go to Settings, then Network, and it has to say "VoLTE" (voice over LTE) to stay compatible after 3G ends. My old phone just said "LTE" and Consumer Cellular notified me that it would stop working, so I upgraded.
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Old 01-21-2022, 08:04 PM   #4
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Correct. I had a 4G LTE phone that would not have continued to work on ATT network; the telltale clue is to go to Settings, then Network, and it has to say "VoLTE" (voice over LTE) to stay compatible after 3G ends.
First, thanks docj for the heads-up.

Next - on my Motorola Moto g(7) with Verizon, i have an option to turn on VoLTE. (It's off now.) Is that something I need to do? (I assume that Verizon will follow ATT shortly.)
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:57 PM   #5
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First, thanks docj for the heads-up.

Next - on my Motorola Moto g(7) with Verizon, i have an option to turn on VoLTE. (It's off now.) Is that something I need to do? (I assume that Verizon will follow ATT shortly.)
The very fact that you have that option means that the phone will be Ok after the shutdown.

As for using VoLTE, I believe that Verizon calls that HDAudio and, yes, you ought be be using if if you have the option.
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Old 01-22-2022, 06:57 PM   #6
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Joel, will my MR1100 be affected?
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Old 01-22-2022, 09:04 PM   #7
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Here is a .PDF from AT&T to check if your phone will still work when they start the shutdown of 3G. https://www.att.com/idpassets/images...TT-Network.pdf

I too was one that was surprised my Apple 5S was going to be dead. Didn't want to spend the money but I upgraded to an SE Second Edition. Figure it should out last me.

Anything in the Apple world below a 6 will be non-functional.

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Old 01-23-2022, 07:00 AM   #8
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Joel, will my MR1100 be affected?
Joe:

The best way to check your MR1100 (or any other hotspot) is to go into its admin control panel (you access it through your browser) and go to the "Check for Updates" section. I'm still using an old 7730L and, sure enough, it had an update I could download.

The MR1100 is new enough that it probably was designed to avoid this problem. But I would check nevertheless.

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Old 01-23-2022, 07:26 AM   #9
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Joe,
Thanks for the heads up.


I knew this was coming and checked my Mobley device, which appears to be OK but I also use a ASUS1900 as a router and is not supported anymore.

I have the router connected directly to the Mobley, do you think it will work?
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:43 AM   #10
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https://www.onstar.com/us/en/support...twork-shutdown
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Old 01-23-2022, 07:51 AM   #11
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Joe,
Thanks for the heads up.


I knew this was coming and checked my Mobley device, which appears to be OK but I also use a ASUS1900 as a router and is not supported anymore.

I have the router connected directly to the Mobley, do you think it will work?
To clarify, routers shouldn't have issues unless they contain cellular modems. Nothing will change about how the router itself functions but if it has a modem it may no longer be able to connect.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:06 AM   #12
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Joe,
Thanks for the heads up.


I knew this was coming and checked my Mobley device, which appears to be OK but I also use a ASUS1900 as a router and is not supported anymore.

I have the router connected directly to the Mobley, do you think it will work?

Good to hear our Mobley device will still work! I was wondering. Thanks for the update.
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:12 AM   #13
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So this will probably affect alarm systems that use the cellular system to report alarm events?
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Old 01-23-2022, 08:48 AM   #14
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And that seems like a very large can of worms that has been opened
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