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  1.    #1  
    Hi all,

    I'm observing behaviour on my Treo 180 which I consider to be unacceptable for a cellphone, and wonder if it's normal behaviour for the Treo, or if it's a defect in the unit - or even with Voicestream or maybe my SIM card.

    At work, I sometimes have to be in areas where voicestream's coverage is patchy. With any regular cellphone I have before my Treo, I lived with this minor inconvenience. An average cellphone will, of course, lose coverage when the signal is weak enough, but every so often it will scan for the network, therefore when I come back into coverage, the phone will relatively quickly pick up the network again. Often the regularity with which the phone will search for the network is configurable by the user - certainly in the case of most GSM phones (and especially Motorolas) that I've used over the past umpteen years.

    Now, my Treo will behave more or less like this - although there appears to be no way I can set the regularity of the search, and it takes a little longer than I would like to find the network again. Not a great big problem though.

    The problems really start if I have my SIM PIN turned on - as most GSM phone users probably do. In this case, what happens is that when my Treo loses coverage for only a few minutes, everything is more or less OK, and it will quickly get the network back. HOWEVER, if I am out of coverage for more than a few minutes (which can happen to me a few times a day), the Treo will, completely unbeknown to me, switch to the "Enter SIM PIN" screen, and will therefore NEVER get service back unless I HAPPEN to take it out of my pocket, and notice that it is sitting at this screen. This could be disastrous - a period of maybe 15 minutes out of coverage could result in me missing calls for the rest of the day! This is crazy!

    To make matters worse, if I now enter my SIM PIN as it asks, it will do its network search BUT I don't get the Handspring logo dialogue box, and the machine will freeze totally until the network search is finished. Then, to put the icing on the cake, it will NEVER actually find the network, even when it's absoultely there. To get the network back I have to manually toggle wireless mode off, then on (entering my SIM PIN _yet_ again), and I'll get the springy dialogue bpx and everything will be happy. Until of course the next time I unwittingly wander out of service for more than a few minutes.

    To be fair I've discovered that, when it's asking me for the SIM PIN in this case, I can jujst toggle wireless mode straight off, then back on (entering PIN of course) and we're happy.

    It's not much of a workaround - it still leaves me with the problem that my new Treo can potentially sit in my pocket for a whole day with no network because it's waiting for me to put my PIN back in.

    I'm guessing that what happens here is that, once out of service for more than a few minutes, the Treo powers off the wireless mode to save battery. Every n ow and then it will probably power wireless mode back on to see if the network has come back. If I have my SIM PIN set, this will trigger the Treo to wait and ask for my PIN before it can look for the network (but that doesn;t explain the bug where even then it won;t find the network).

    Has anyone else noticed this behaviour? To me, it's completely bizarre, and is not acceptable behaviour for a cellphone. I'm willing to bet than no sane cellphone on the planet would be designed to act like this.

    Obviously we want the Treo to conserve battery power in someway when coverage is bad, but this is NOT the way to do it.

    1) If it is automatically powering off wireless mode, when it automatically powers it back on, it should NEVER need to ask for my SIM PIN. I already put this in when i MANUALLY switched wireless mode on. When wireless mode is automatically deactivated and reactivated by the Treo, it should only be powering off or on the RF circuitry part of the GSM phone. Somehow though they have done it so that whenever the RF circuitry is auto powered off or on, it is also powering off or on the SIM card reading - which is why it's reading my card and asking for the PIN.
    In other words, when I MANUALLY toggle wireless mode, both the RF and SIM circuitry should be toggled. This is like actually switching your phone off and on.
    When the Treo AUTOMATICALLY toggles wireless mode to save battery, ONLY the RF circuitry should be toggled. It should not have to read my SIM card again. It's already done so. In fact, from a user point of view, the palmOS never even thinks wireless mode is off - it just thinks there's no coverage.

    2) If there is no way HS can make it work like above, then they should give the user the option of having it NOT do the wireless mode power off when in bad coverage. I would GLADLY sacrifice some battery life to have a phone which will not sit uselessly in my pocket all day as a result of a few minutes out of coverage.

    3) The option to control the regularity of the network search would be nice - as I said many GSM phones allow this.

    Failing any of the above, my other option is to frequently take the Treo out of my packet to check if it's in this condition, and manually make it get the network back as I described earlier. How many times is someone going to remember to do this? Absolutely crazy.

    Anyway, I've called HS, and they have escalated to a "Product Support Speciialist". The regular support guy I first spoke to first said that what I described is the way the Treo is designed, but when I explained further, he agreed that it is crazy behaviour for a cellphone.

    It's always possible this is a bug - and maybe there's a bug fix in the works? I REALLY REALLY hope so, because the Treo is the coolest thing I have used in a very long time. I want to see both it and HS succeed, but if this can't be fixed, I may reluctantly be foreced to return it.

    Incidentally, it's done this with 2 Treos now (although I'm actually on my 3rd - the first was replaced due to a very serious random power-off defect). When my second Treo exhibited the behaviour I have described, I called HS and they replaced it. The replacement is doing the same thing - so it's more a product problem most likely rather than a unit defect (unless I have the abysmal luck of 3 defective Treos in a row).

    Anyway, hopefully HS will be able to help me.

    I'd appreciate if anyone could share any similar experiences - or if yours doesn't act like this.

    Congratulations to anyone who made it through this War and Peace essay!

    Craig
    --
    Craig Campbell
  2. #2  
    Hi,
    my problem is similar to yours, what happens is that sometimes when i put Wireless Mode On, and after the Network search, all incoming calls i receive go to voicemail. This only stops when i make some call out or make Network search.
  3. #3  
    This is an interesting behavior. I have certainly noticed that the Treo seems to take a very long time to realize it's within a coverage area when I come from a building that doesn't get coverage. While annoying, I can live with it - but I'd love a software upgrade that gives me the option to change how often it checks for the presence of a network.

    I don't even know what a SIM PIN is. Is it some kind of security code? I've never set one, nor have I ever been prompted for one. How can I access this on my Treo?

    I also use Voicestream. Maybe I have the feature turned off? If so, that may be a way to solve your problem.
  4.    #4  
    There are 2 usual user definable PIN security codes in GSM.

    1) The phone PIN/lock code. This pin number lives on the phone, and prevents anyone from using it unless they know the pin number. This is analogous to the password you can set on your palm/treo in the Security application, or on a third party app like AutoLock. With this password set, no-one can turn on your Treo's handheld palmpilot mode unless they know the password. In the case of a normal GSM phone, often the phone lock code is defaulted to 00000000 or similar, and you are best to change it to something else when you get the phone - even if you do not activate it. If you keep it defaulted, someone could pick up your phone, change the lock code to something they know, activate it, and then you will not be able to use your own phone! If you bought your phone from a network operator, they may or may not be able to help you in this case.

    2) The SIM PIN code. This security code lives within your actual SIM card. If you set this PIN number, then, in the case of the Treo, you will have to enter it every time you turn wireless mode on. (This is why my problems are happening when wireless mode automatically goes off and on). What it means is that someone could steal your Treo with SIM card inside, and even though they may be able to use your Treo as a palm pilot, they would not be able to turn wireless mode on without your PIN code you set. Therefore, they can't make calls on your account! Now, they could indeed take your SIM card out of the Treo and put a different one in. They would then be able to turn on wireless mode, and make calls - but these calls would be on the other SIM card, NOT yours! Also, lets say they take your SIM card out of the Treo, and put it in another Treo or GSM phone. When they turn wireless mode on, they will still have to enter your pin number, so again they cannot make calls on your account, even with your card in another phone. Your SIM card is useless to them!

    So, to summarise:
    Phone PIN/Lock Code makes your phone/Treo useless to a thief no matter what SIM card they put in it - but does not prevent them from using your SIM card in a different phone/Treo.
    SIM PIN makes your SIM card useless to a thief, no matter what phone/Treo they put it in - but it would not prevent a thief from using your Treo in handheld PDA mode.

    In the case of a PDA device like a Treo, for maximum security, you really want BOTH the phone lock (in this case the PalmOS password) and the SIM PIN turned on. Then, if someone steals your Treo, both the Treo (unless they do a hard reset) and the SIM card are useless to them.

    To set the SIM PIN on the Treo:
    Make sure Wireless mode has been on for more than 30 seconds, and go to the phone application.
    Select Menu->Options->Phone Preferences
    Here's where it gets a bit misleading. In this dialogue box, and in the help screens for it, it refers to this as the Phone Lock PIN (or somesuch). It is actually talking about the SIM PIN though.
    To activate the SIM PIN, check the PIN Locked box. Here, it may ask you for a PIN number in order to activate the locking. If you do not know the number, check through the documentation that came with your GSM service to see if it has the SIM default PIN listed anywhere. It is often 0000 or 00000000. If you cannot find this information, you are strongly advised to call your service provider, and they should be able to tell you it.
    IMPORTANT: if you enter the SIM PIN incorrectly 3 times, your SIM will become permanently locked (this is again to protect from theft)! If this happens, you have to call your operator and ask for the PUK (PIN unlocking) code - I think that's the name, I may be wrong - and they should give you it after you verify your identity etc.. Sometimes the PUK code is given in your documentation. There is also another code called the PUK2 code. I can't remember exactly what that's for - it's possibly for if you enter the PUK code wrongly. Probably, if you put the PUK2 code wrong 3 times, your SIM card will go irrevocably dead. The PUK and PUK2 codes are not changeable I don't think.

    Once you have successfully set the SIM PIN, and activated the locking, you will notice that the dialogue box will now give you a button to change the PIN. Whenever you want to change it you will have to enter the existing PIN.

    Once all this is set up, every time you swtich wireless mode on, you'll have to enter this PIN, but you'll have the theft protection benefits I described above. Unfortunately you may also have the problems I inititially posted this thread about!

    Hope this helps,

    Craig
    --
    Craig Campbell
  5.    #5  
    Nrbatista,

    when you do network search initially, do you actually acquire the network and get good signal?

    Your problem sounds like maybe a network operator problem, but I may be wrong.

    Craig
    --
    Craig Campbell
  6. #6  
    Same problem here. I have used contacted customer support and I'm now waiting for an answer.

    I cannot live with a device that goes of the air and never gets back on.

    Does the problem also occure if you to not have sim pin code request on?

    /Jacob
  7. #7  
    Hi everybody,

    I think we 're facing the same problems! My Treo 180g 's problem is " lost signal " so easily and then I have to manually seach for the signal almost evertime.

    So anonying !
  8. #8  
    I've been using a Treo 180 since they came out and I can't say I have seen this problem. I used to have a sim code required but didn't see the problem then. I later removed the code because it was kind of annoying in normal use (I install and deinstall lots of software, requiring a high number of resets).

    Call Handspring's tech support and see if they can help you. It may be a defective unit

    Good luck.
  9. #9  
    My major problem with all this is the sucking away of battery life. I was in a building doing some work for 3 hours. I entered the building at 100% battery. I did not know that I had lost GSM coverage inside the building. I had to run an errand and picked up my Treo to make a call from my truck to discover that me battery was now less than 50%. Unfortunately, this is now a building that I'll be working in frequently during the week. Now I turn off the phone when entering and turn it back on when I get outside. Prolonged network searching really kills power. I too wish there was a hack or something that would enable the tailoring of all this.
    Up the Creek.... Try the River!
    www.riverontheweb.com

    Moblog: bluefrog.textamerica.com
  10. #10  
    I have noticed, I mean suffered under, the same conditions. I spoke to HS support in EU last week and my phone is being replaced for another reason but I expect that it will not fix the coverage problem.

    IMHO there is a bug in the phone software that causes the software to crash after an unknown number of service loss occurances. According to me the problem is not in the hardware, but most likely a corruption of internal memory structures. The HS developers will have a difficult time to find it because of the events required for the problem to occur.

    Most likely the problem has been recognized but not identified properly. I invite any HS developer to contact me so that I can give assistance with the analysis. I have sufficient qualifications (EWSD,MCSE,MCSD) to be able to so but I need somebody that can communicate at my level and the phone support people (no offense) do not have the required qualifications.
  11. #11  
    I've had a similar problem.

    The phone loses signal relatively easily, but takes forever to recover the signal, even if the signal is quite strong (5 bars).

    If I do need to immediately recover the signal, I have to manually turn the wireless mode off and on again. The phone does a network search, and then usually finds the signal again.

    Handspring Customer Support says this is a "feature" to save battery life. Maybe so, but I'm getting tired of turning the wireless mode off and on to get a signal back in a reasonable amount of time.

    This problem is of course exacerbated when the phone is used with a wireless provider with a weak coverage area, where signal loss is frequent (Cingular, in this case).
  12. #12  
    Hi tcc,

    You 're not alone ! I have this problem with Voicestream also.
  13. #13  
    I had the problem you all are describing, but since I installed the OS updater, it went away. Coincidence? Perhaps. Was it simply the hard reset? Perhaps. You might want to look into it.
  14. #14  
    Here we are at the end of 2003 and I have the very same problem with my treo 180 on T-Mobile. I can NOT believe the problem was not solved. Undoubtidly a sign of turnover in the software programmer ranks, and passing the buck on this terribly simple issue.

    Not only that, but is their some coverup? Why is this the ONLY place I have seen this issue, and also its the ONLY thread on this board. How can this not be a commonly reported problem as frustrating as it is!?!


    handspring had NO solution for me but the ignorant, "remove all 3rd party apps" garbage. When reading here, this has nothing to do with the problem. How can they not acknowledge the issue and provide some kind of answer (such as turn off PIN)??

    I am not pleased. I will positively not buy another treo until I hear this problem is solved. Nor will I be giving them for Christmas.
    Last edited by dnoyeB; 12/04/2003 at 06:22 PM.
  15. #15  
    Its the radio! The wavecom radio tranciever in the 180/270 couldn't hold onto a signal if it were taped to the antenna. The Treo 300's radio is made by AirPrime and is considerably more discrete.

    The software interface in the wavecom radio has to have horrible error trapping or the Treo would timeout faster. The wavecom radio is functional but if any of you have used a Motorola v60 then you got spoiled.

    The T600 does not use a wavecom radio anymore. Also the 133mhz processor and OS5 will error/recover faster. The current 33mhz processor just can't keep up if you have any Treo specific apps loaded.

    I do a battery drain every 3 months or so. It helps. HS is charting new waters with the Treo. That's why we bought it! The 600 should not do this for all kinds of reasons.

    There is a moral here. Never buy a phone you can load software on!

    Derek

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