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Thread: Dead zone created from blocking Verizon Network Extender?

  1. #1
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    Dead zone created from blocking Verizon Network Extender?

    I recently moved into an apartment with horrible service for my VZW Blackberry Tour. I purchased a Verizon Network Extender not realizing that I could not restrict access to the device. I run a few different servers in my home, so I don't want any unnecessary bandwidth being used. Knowing that others can use my Network Extender when they are in range really upset me, so I decided to put a firewall restriction in place on my router to block the 4 ports that VZW mentions in their documentation coming from the NE's MAC address. This firewall restriction is in place M-F during the hours I'm at work. My intention was to restrict others from using my bandwidth through the NE during the hours of the day that my upload bandwidth is most valuable to me (when I'm at work and may want to remotely access my servers).

    Last night, when my internet was down for some maintenance I was doing, I had full bars on my phone, yet was unable to make a call. I hung up after a number of seconds, unplugged the NE, and then placed the call. I assume what happened was that I was picking up a signal from the NE, yet it was unable to function since there was no internet connection. I'll have to do some more testing when I get home, but I'm wondering, what happens when there is no internet connectivity on the device? If it still has cell phones using it even though it cannot function without internet, I feel that this is a huge (physical) security risk, as if the internet is out, and someone needs to call 911, their cell will try to use the NE unsuccessfully. Does the NE time out after a number of seconds not being able to place the call and direct the cell phone to the nearest tower?

    I certainly don't want to pose a risk to my neighbors during the day by restricting access to my NE, however, I don't feel I should be liable for any injury by protecting my personal assets from others (by disallowing neighbors to essentially share my bandwidth), just because Verizon designed this device poorly (in the sense of restricting access).

    Please post your thoughts, opinions, and knowledge regarding the NE without internet access.

    PS: I'm not sure what will happen with cells connecting to the NE when there is no network connection (ex, router powered off, NIC dead, etc), I assume it will forward them to the nearest tower. However, practically everyone has a router hooked up to their internet connection and then to their computers, so just because the internet is out doesn't mean the NE won't detect a network connection (to the LAN, if nothing more).

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    I'd go low tech on this and just plug the NE into a lamp timer. While you're away kill the AC power then it won't use any bandwidth, won't jam any phones, and won't run up your electric bill.

    But the thing should auto detect that it isn't linked to the internet and shut down. Perhaps it is pinging on a different port that you're still allowing so it thinks it has full access for voice too. You could try physically disconnecting (or connect to a spare router that isn't connected to anything else, so it has the ethernet green light but otherwise no connectivity) so it can't get to the internet on any port.

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    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    This is exactly my problem with my own NE. We have been having random reboots of our cable modem, and during those time periods when the Internet is down we can't make any calls unless the NE is unplugged. I assume this wouldn't happen if our modem and router were the same device but I can only speak to my circumstance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HF305
    I'd go low tech on this and just plug the NE into a lamp timer. While you're away kill the AC power then it won't use any bandwidth, won't jam any phones, and won't run up your electric bill.

    But the thing should auto detect that it isn't linked to the internet and shut down. Perhaps it is pinging on a different port that you're still allowing so it thinks it has full access for voice too. You could try physically disconnecting (or connect to a spare router that isn't connected to anything else, so it has the ethernet green light but otherwise no connectivity) so it can't get to the internet on any port.
    A co-worker suggested the lamp timer as well. I may end up going that route. I will try to block all ports on the device, first, before having to make another purchase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by koftheworld
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7E18 Safari/528.16)

    This is exactly my problem with my own NE. We have been having random reboots of our cable modem, and during those time periods when the Internet is down we can't make any calls unless the NE is unplugged. I assume this wouldn't happen if our modem and router were the same device but I can only speak to my circumstance.
    I'm a bit disturbed to hear that this is the case. What the hell were they thinking when they designed this thing? It does its main job great (giving coverage where there is very little), but it seems like they've overlooked some crucial safety concerns. It seems to me that someone who is injured by a fire/burglar/etc. could sue me for damages, since it is my device that prevented them from contacting 911. However, it is a flaw in VZW's device, so I could either have my case dropped or turn around and sue VZW. Something like this seems like it could easily turn into a class action lawsuit. This would be very bad PR for VZW, as well as have significant monetary damages, considering people's safety is at risk.

    I'm sure the number of users out there blocking ports/cutting off internet to the device is minimal, so they may have decided that was not a big issue when designing the device, however, surely someone must have thought about the chance of the internet being out! This thing seriously needs a firmware update to fix this issue and/or add the ability to restrict callers. I'm going to look into creating an online petition for this, as it is completely ridiculous. I don't want to have someone's injury on my conscience just because VZW decided to provide all VZW customers with access to MY device that I paid for.

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    I've created a petition online to request Verizon Wireless to create a firmware upgrade for the Network Extender to address the issues raised above. I encourage you to sign this petition and pass it along to anyone you know with Verizon Wireless, as this is a huge safety concern that could potentially affect anyone with a VZW cell phone.

    http://www.petitionspot.com/petition...etworkextender

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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbhm
    It seems to me that someone who is injured by a fire/burglar/etc. could sue me for damages, since it is my device that prevented them from contacting 911. However, it is a flaw in VZW's device, so I could either have my case dropped or turn around and sue VZW. Something like this seems like it could easily turn into a class action lawsuit. This would be very bad PR for VZW, as well as have significant monetary damages, considering people's safety is at risk.
    While I see where your point is going, I just thought I would mention that you took a deliberate action, when you decided to block the ports. Remember, blocking ports wasn't required to make the NE work correctly. It is only an invention of your own design, to make the NE do something it was not intended to do, by design, and that is to not work.

    Its the consequences of your own actions, that are your responsibility.

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    Pardon me for going even lower-tech, but why not just unplug it when you leave for work and plug it back in when you return home?

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    My 2 Cents

    Could use an inexpensive power strip/switch it on/off... less wear on plugging it in/out every day. Keeping in mind it can take 10-45+ minutes to reset completely.

    I think I remember hearing somewhere, that verizon tech's can change the range at which phones register to the NE... might be worth asking...

    Move the NE may make a difference not sure how large the rooms are but if it's far enough away it may not register with any other phones...

    Perhaps you can do some bandwidth shaping? Limit that device to just enough bandwidth for 1 call? May not be a great solution though...
    Sig Removed (might be misconstrued as advertising)

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    Just an update, it appears that if the device is not receiving an internet connection it is not a total dead spot. It seems that the first call you try to make on the device after it has lost connectivity to the internet will possibly go through after 15-20 seconds, possibly just fail. The next call seems to jump onto the cell tower. It's not great, but not epic failure either. Sorry for the FUD, though, like I said, when I made my OP (and the couple following), I hadn't had a chance to do extensive testing.

    As far as it being my responsibility for calls not going through for others (and legally liable), I argue that it is Verizon's responsibility for ensuring that calls go through regardless of whether a malfunctioning device (from port blocking, WAN failure, or otherwise) is within range. Certainly they should have thought about this in R&D, and I'm sure the FCC had something to do with this, too. However, even though it doesn't appear to be relevant, I believe that unless I modified the device in some way that would intentionally degrade the service of others, I have every right to do whatever I'd like with it. If I want to block ports to prevent others from using it, I should be able to without fear of the consequences. If anything, Verizon would be likely held liable for releasing a device with an obvious issue (not being able to restrict callers), which incited customers to prevent access by other means (port blocking). If they could not account for this in the design stage, they deserve to pay whatever damages are incurred. But like I said earlier, this doesn't appear to be relevant anymore since the device does seem to have some mediocre mechanism in place to switch over to a tower when there is no internet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agreenbhm
    As far as it being my responsibility for calls not going through for others (and legally liable),

    <snip>

    I believe that unless I modified the device in some way that would intentionally degrade the service of others, I have every right to do whatever I'd like with it. If I want to block ports to prevent others from using it, I should be able to without fear of the consequences. If anything, Verizon would be likely held liable for releasing a device with an obvious issue (not being able to restrict callers), which incited customers to prevent access by other means (port blocking). <snip>
    WAITAMINIT

    Did Verizon pay you to put a network extender in your home?

    If not, you have no responsibility to anyone to operate it at any time. If you want to firewall it, so nobody can use it, that's your prerogative.

    If they want a super-duper 5-bar signal, they can get their own network extender.


    Now if you were to mod it so it actively screwed with others receptions, yeah, you'd be in trouble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nalioth
    WAITAMINIT

    Did Verizon pay you to put a network extender in your home?

    If not, you have no responsibility to anyone to operate it at any time. If you want to firewall it, so nobody can use it, that's your prerogative.

    If they want a super-duper 5-bar signal, they can get their own network extender.


    Now if you were to mod it so it actively screwed with others receptions, yeah, you'd be in trouble.
    Exactly.

    10char

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    I think the point people are subtly trying to show you (and you may or may not be missing) is that you're using the device in a way Verizon Wireless most likely did not envision - it probably never even crossed anybodies mind as to what would happen if somebody decided to block the devices ports.

    Too bad it doesn't have it's own filtering abilities. Something where you could maybe put in your ESNs and the WNE queries the phone for it and matches to the allowed table, kind of like MAC filtering.

    Tech1: Look, I invented an in-home cell repeater to route calls over home internet!
    Exec: Does it work?
    Tech2: Mostly, it needs some tweaking, we haven't...
    Exec: Good enough, ship it!

    A simple firmware update should be enough to have the device handoff a call to a cell tower if it can't connect through the Internet. A petition isn't going to do much; you should write a letter though Planetfeedback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raduque
    A simple firmware update should be enough to have the device handoff a call to a cell tower if it can't connect through the Internet. A petition isn't going to do much; you should write a letter though Planetfeedback.
    The Network Extender should ALREADY hand off to the macro network. It's handing into the NE from the outside macro network that doesn't work.
    I'm just here to inform, even if it's myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mosherkl
    The Network Extender should ALREADY hand off to the macro network. It's handing into the NE from the outside macro network that doesn't work.
    I think you may need to re-read the OP's concerns. He stated he was unable to place a call while the NE was active, but without an Internet connection to route over. That to me says he NE is not handing off to a tower correctly, if at all.

    He also stated that it seems that the NE hands off when placing a second call, after the first call failed. So I guess the NE is handing off to the macro network, just not in an expected way.

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