Modem compatibility with AT&T pre-paid SIM - Failure to log in

I have a Max Transit CAT6/LTE paired with an AT&T pre-paid hotspot/tablet “Great Deal” SIM and a Verizon tablet SIM.

I keep the AT&T SIM connected for daily work and after a few hours I’ll get a notice that my provider is requiring sign in - and my VPN shows the error that the router failed to log in to the network.

Debugging this issue has become a priority as it’s beginning to drop during web calls and fixing it requires I restart the router, so I can be down for several minutes.

If I drag cellular off-line from the web interface and then back on, it reconnects to the tower but shows the same error no matter how many times I do it.

If I force the modem to connect using the Verizon SIM before dragging it back online, I see “resetting modem” and Verizon works. Then I immediately return to forcing AT&T only, I again see “resetting modem” and it connects correctly with internet working again.

It would seem that PEPWAVE have a compatibility problem with AT&T prepaid “Great Deal/Best Value” SIMS that presently requires the modem to be reset (or restarted) periodically. Others are having this issue, I’ve seen one person trying to get AT&T to explain what’s going on on their forum, and the answer boiled down to “we can’t guarantee compatibility with third-party hardware.”

Does anyone have a workaround for this or know what setting I could change to prevent the problem to begin with?

Hi. Can you shows a web link to the plan you have?

If your VPN uses port 443 or is what is known as an SSL VPN, AT&T has been causing disconnects on those for going on 5 years due to them intercepting your 443 traffic. For that problem, tunnel the traffic to a SpeedFusion cloud or FusionHub and the problem goes away.

If your VPN is using 4500 or some other port than this issue is something new.

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Yes, here:

https://www.att.com/prepaid/plans/%20great%20value

Scroll to the bottom of the page, the blue box on the right “OUR MOST POPULAR—BEST VALUE 100GB of 5G high-speed data $55/mo.Pay per month”

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I have three different VPN services for various projects, they use seemingly random ports. This also happens when I haven’t even brought up a VPN yet, or after I’m done for the day and I’m just browsing.

It also seems independent of the tower I’m connected to or the bands the modem is on; one of my debug methods was to disable different bands, I feature I love about the PEPWAVE router, but no matter which, the problem would happen within a few hours.

It just happened again, this time the message is: “AT&T Free Message: Your attempt to connect to data service was unsuccessful. Please try again later.” - I did my switch to Verizon and straight back to AT&T and got back on the network.

Hi Mark. Thanks for the info on the plan you’re using.
I think a call to AT&T is definitely in order!

I’ll give them a call on Monday.

Do you know what the “Cellular->WAN Connection Settings->Network Mode” option does? Mine is set to “AT&T” for this SIM, I’ve changed it to “Generic” to see if anything changes.

@wonderer,

The network mode is more to the connection profile that the device would need to use when connecting to different telco around the world. As long as the Cellular WAN able to connect to the provider, that mean the network mode is correct.

For your issue , @Rick-DC is right that please contact AT&T to clarify whether the plan can be using in enterprise router. This is seen like control access from the AT&T data plan.

One of our value partner @Jonathan_Pitts , given me the following screenshot, the message shown that the proxy for the AT&T network redirected the access.

Can you please contact AT&T and verify the issue ?

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Hi Mark. Many times more than one setting of that parameter will work but your setting is OK and I’m confident that’s not the issue here.

I have three devices on this plan and they all suffer from random disconnection for varying lengths of time. Two devices are the Br1-IP67 , one inside a home, one ourside the home. One Br1 Mini inside the home. All are located in different areas of the DFW metroplex and have decent signal. I have called ATT and they only offer they gave me was to reset the connection. I have requested a level two tech to look into the issue further as I do believe it’s related to the streamsaver feature of this plan which likely inspects packets to try and send the 480p steam. I asked , but they didn’t seem to have a way to disable this feature. I’ll update this thread if I get anything useful from them.

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Hi Jonathan, thanks for the extra info, I’m waiting for one of the tech support people to pick up right now.

One major difference from you is that I’m mobile, which I thought might be part of the problem, so knowing this happens to someone who has static locations checks off that as a probable cause or factor. These disconnects have been happening all up the east coast, and DFW is Texas, so the other side of the country, so locality is not likely to be part of the problem.

I’m also not convinced this is a streaming issue, as this has occurred even when I’m not streaming video. I will keep a closer eye on what is happening on the network, but the last time it happened I just had a remote ssh session through which I was editing a document.

A modem reset or a router power cycle always fixes the problem, so it seems that the modem is suddenly in a bad state or wasn’t able to complete authentication after a challenge, perhaps?

OK, I just got off the call with the tech, he asked for the IMEA of the device when I told him I wasn’t using an AT&T issued device, and he said there was no problem with the modem; I wasn’t going to get service removed or anything. I told him my SIM was activated in the store using the floor model of their hotspot, so he said he’d reset the network settings - he asked that I turn off the MAX Transit and then he spent a few minutes doing things in the background and then I turned it back on and it connected as usual. As this wasn’t something I could necessarily reproduce while on the phone with him, he suggested that I might try a new SIM card and left a note on the account to provide a replacement at no charge - I just need to find a corporate AT&T store (Blue advertisements indicate corporate) to pick one up. He also said he would forward my issue to a level 2 tech, so if something comes of that, or if the connection problems stop after the network settings reset, I’ll drop a note here.

They have reset my connections , connecting me to another tower as well.
It works for a few hours to a few days, and then right back same issue.
They also gave me a couple of sim cards to try changing , but I haven’t yet as I’ll have to go visit those locations to do the swap.
When your internet cuts out do you have local access to the device?
Does the cellular still show as connected, but just no data passes?
Do you get that werid redirect page that I did?

Thanks @Rick-DC. See my response to Jonathan below also.

Is there anything I can do on the router side to generate logs that might show what was happening during the disconnect? When I had issues previously (July 2017) with an older MAX losing Wi-Fi connection, someone was able to remote in using cellular to see what was going on when the connection dropped. Obviously that won’t work now, as the cell is my only connection mechanism, but if I can turn on logging and forward those to someone, that might help get to the bottom of things.

Yes, it still shows that I’m connected to AT&T LTE, if I have my VPN up it tells me that my network provider is restricting access and when I open a browser I just get that redirect page, the exact one you get.

If you get that exact redirect page, then it’s something ATT is doing…
If you had no internet period then you wouldn’t get any page to load.
It’s almost like they throw us into a walled garden or something.
Then something resets on their side and it allows traffic to pass again.

For grins try to lock it to 3g and see if the problem goes away.
Just a random idea.

First, I think the questions asked by @Jonathan_Pitts in his most recent message are good ones – I’d like to know the answers also when you have a minute. I’m also wondering if you have contacted your Peplink Partner about this.

Having tried to engage the carrier I think it’d be OK to submit a help ticket. I think it’s unlikely this is a hardware issue, even an “edge case,” but it may be good to rule that out also. When you do that grab a diagnostic report right after the event occurs and upload it along with the ticket; turn on RA. I’d also suggest posting your ticket number in this thread. Regardless, please keep us informed as to status of this – it’s an interesting one.

I actually have it locked to 4G as they’re doing away with 3G soon, but the moment it happens again (proving that the network settings reset didn’t fix it) I’ll lock to 3G and see what happens.

I think the walled off area is a reasonable assumption, DNS appears to work but otherwise data can only go to Page was redirected. where n is whatever error condition they’ve detected during login. I took a look at msg=1, 2, 3 and so on, and they’re all about account problems, for example msg=6 is “It looks like you want to use data but have none available.” So this does seem account related, or authentication related.

Can you post your error page? What was your msg number?
Did you also login to your ATT account and verify you have remaining data.
Can you ping 8.8.8.8 or 1.1.1.1?

Yes, I answered and it looks like we are having the exact same issue. I’ve not yet contacted my Peplink partner (5Gstore) that’s certainly next on my list and thanks for the ticket link.