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Anyone experiencing a Consumer Cellular HTTPS failure?

Discussion in 'Android Carriers' started by David Ziffer, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. David Ziffer

    David Ziffer Lurker
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    My wife & I have the same "LG Phoenix 2" (LG-K371) Android GSM phones running version 7.0/3.10.49/NRD90U/K37120k. These are AT&T "Go" phones made to run specifically on the ATT network, and our provider is Consumer Cellular, which uses the ATT network. Our phones worked perfectly till about noon on 9/26/17, after which both phones failed to deliver HTTPS content over the mobile network (Firefox reports "Secure Connection Failed" and Chrome delivers ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE). Non-secure (HTTP) content continued working over mobile. Both HTTPS and HTTP work fine over WiFi, and neither phone applied any updates at the time of the failure, so this is not a phone or browser issue, but some sort of mobile network HTTPS proxy server issue with Consumer Cellular. We are in the Minneapolis area. Is anyone else experiencing this?

     

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  2. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    That is pretty odd. Since this appears to be limited only to mobile data (cellular), has this been happening only in the same area? If yes, I'm curious if it's just a problem with general connectivity at the nearest cell tower your phones are connecting with or if its wider spread affecting the larger region you're in. Maybe try traveling a few miles away so your phones will be connecting to a different cell tower and see if you're still having the same problem accessing https sites.

    This Open Signals app will allow you do a quick scan with your phone and in the resulting map you can see which tower you're connecting to, along with zoomable map that you can use to see other AT&T towers nearby.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.staircase3.opensignal&hl=en
     
  3. David Ziffer

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    Thanks for the heads up about the app; I might just try that. But the problem happens at multiple towers. I regularly use the phone between Hopkins and Minneapolis and HTTPS fails everywhere. The tower would matter only if different towers used different HTTPS proxy servers. So yes if I went far enough I could probably end up in a different internet service area, but until I do that I can't tell.

    But I'm guessing you Open Signals app won't help. I can't use Google Maps because Google Maps is delivered over HTTPS, which doesn't work. I'm pretty sure this app is built on top of Google Maps.
     
    #3 David Ziffer, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
  4. David Ziffer

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    Also this has nothing to do with basic tower connectivity, if that's what you're getting at. Our phones connect to towers just fine. We have phone, SMS, MMS. All data-driven apps (e.g. WhatsApp) are working so long as they don't use HTTPS protocol. It is only HTTPS that fails, which unfortunately covers most useful browser and map functionality. My guess is that AT&T "upgraded" or removed or changed the settings on one of its HTTPS proxy servers (that serves Consumer Cellular). The folks at CC are technically clueless and AT&T denies that there is any network problem, so I am trying to find other people who are having the same problem.
     
  5. svim

    svim Android Expert
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    Yeah, a local tower being a problem was just a thought. Regarding AT&T, as reprehensible as it may be as a business, by law the big four carriers cannot cripple any access to their cellular networks that they contract out to MVNOs, like Consumer Cellular.

    But if you can't access sites/services like Google Maps using either a browser or the Google Maps app using mobile data that would indicate there's a significant problem. And hopefully others in your locale will chime in if they're also having this https access problem.

    You might want to install (using WiFi of course) this network analyzer app, Netalyzr:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.berkeley.icsi.netalyzr.android&hl=en
    The app (and their web site) are http so you should be able to then use it via mobile data. It will do a thorough scan and the results might provide something relevant. It's more useful to do this using WiFi as you have control over your WiFi connectivity (your router) but if there's something notable by doing a scan using cellular, even if you have no direct control of your cellular network you might at least get a handle on the problem.
     
  6. David Ziffer

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    Dear Megan: We have resolved this issue. I hope you will find our story below useful so that Consumer Cellular can more effectively help other people with similar problems.

    STEP 1
    By Friday October 6 I had already decided to change over to AT&T because of Consumer Cellular’s inability to help us with this problem. I was at work and went to a nearby AT&T city store to ask about which AT&T suburban store would have the best technical staff on the next day (Saturday) to perform the change. I just happened to talk to an AT&T rep who suggested that I manually reset my network settings. The procedure for doing this on Android Nougat (7.0) is:
    • Settings
    • General
    • Backup & Reset
    • Network settings reset
    • (then follow the prompts to confirm you want to do this)
    The “Network settings reset” is much less dangerous and involves much less risk and recovery than a factory reset, so I tried it. After doing this reset, all but one of the five or six APNs that had formerly been on my phone were gone, including the two from Consumer Cellular. This was no great loss, since the one set I was using wasn’t working and I wasn’t using any of the others. As expected, this wiped out all my data capability, not just the HTTPS capability.

    STEP 2
    I then went back to my desk and looked up the Consumer Cellular APN settings online. I randomly chose the ones provided at a site called “apn-settings.com”, which are as follows (omitted settings here were left empty):
    • Name: Consumer Cellular
    • APN: ccdata
    • MMSC: http://mmsc.mobile.att.net
    • MMS Proxy: proxy.mobile.att.net
    • MMS port: 80
    • MCC: 310
    • MNC: 410
    • APN type: default,mms
    • APN protocol: IPv4 (I left this default unchanged)
    • APN roaming protocol: IPv4 (I left this default unchanged)
    I then saved these APN settings and selected the button representing these settings in the “APN Names” list. Suddenly all my data started working. This surprised me because these settings are very similar to settings that my previous Consumer Cellular rep had had me enter previously. But apparently without first doing the “Network settings reset” those similar settings that he had given me didn’t work.

    STEP 3
    I then restarted my phone to make sure it would still work after a restart. Much to my relief, it did. I did not realize that after the restart, my APN settings had been modified silently and automatically and yet were still working.

    STEP 4
    That night I went home with the idea of resetting my wife’s phone in the same way that I had reset mine, because her identical phone had developed the same problem at the same time that mine had. But I decided to first try a less extreme method and simply copy my settings into her existing Consumer Cellular APN settings. So I put both phones together and opened my settings so I could copy them. I was surprised to see that something had automatically changed my settings from the ones I had entered in STEP 2 above. The new settings on my phone were (again omitting empty ones):
    • Name: Consumer Cellular
    • APN: ccdata
    • MMSC: http://mmsc.mobile.att.net
    • MMS Proxy: proxy.mobile.att.net
    • MMS port: 80
    • MCC: 310
    • MNC: 410
    • APN type: hipri,default,mms
    • APN protocol: IPv4/IPv6
    • APN roaming protocol: IPv4/IPv6
    The settings that had changed were the last three (the first seven were unchanged). I assure you that I did not enter these myself. So I copied my phone’s auto-modified values into my wife’s phone without first resetting her network settings. Her phone started working immediately.
     
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