Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

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Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:10 pm

I'm moving to a new apartment and for all practical purposes I get zero cell phone reception in it. I want to overcome this problem without purchasing a land line, so I'm thinking about cell phone repeaters, but I don't know much about them aside from the simple stuff I've gleaned from the 'net, which is that they boost signals. Does anyone here have any knowledge of experience to share?
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:31 pm

Who's your cellphone provider? Some US cellphone providers have their own dedicated "microcells" which will provide you with cellphone signal at your residence as long as you also have wired internet connection. They aren't free, but with the "right talk" (lots of complaining to your cellphone provider, threats about cancelling your subscription, etc.) you may actually get them for free :wink:
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:37 pm

I use Verizon. At one point I remember seeing repeaters on their website, but I no longer see them.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:39 pm

FireGryphon wrote:I use Verizon. At one point I remember seeing repeaters on their website, but I no longer see them.

www.verizonwireless.com/networkextender/
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:44 pm

Been wondering about this myself. I have Sprint; reception sucks in my house, and got worse after some recent network "upgrades" they did.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:46 pm

just brew it! wrote:Been wondering about this myself. I have Sprint; reception sucks in my house, and got worse after some recent network "upgrades" they did.

http://now.sprint.com/airave/?id16=airave

For all such devices you basically need 2 things:
1) Wired broadband internet connection.
2) Make sure you can receive GPS satellite signal - for example, when standing next to the window in your apartment/house (these things need GPS signal for providing your location to Emergency services).
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:55 pm

Cool that there's an official solution. I'll look into it, though the broadband connection requirement isn't optimal. I'd rather just amplify the signal rather than send it via a wired connection.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:01 am

Well, if you have extremely weak signal or no signal at all - there may be nothing to amplify, so to speak. Or you might need to place large antenna outside, which may not be allowed by the actual owner of the residence where you'll live... Although if the residence owner also has the issues with the cellphone signal - he/she might appreciate the "free" signal boost too and let you place stuff on the building :wink: Anyways, Wilson Electronics is the company that makes such "dumb" cellphone signal amplifiers, so look at their products.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:21 am

JohnC wrote:Anyways, Wilson Electronics is the company that makes such "dumb" cellphone signal amplifiers, so look at their products.

I didn't know those existed. A little pricey, but I imagine something like that is the only viable option if you don't have a reliable broadband connection.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:30 am

I have an AT&T MicroCell in my home. It acts as a standalone cell tower and delivers your phone calls to the PSTN via an Internet connection.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:34 am

just brew it! wrote:
JohnC wrote:Anyways, Wilson Electronics is the company that makes such "dumb" cellphone signal amplifiers, so look at their products.

I didn't know those existed. A little pricey, but I imagine something like that is the only viable option if you don't have a reliable broadband connection.

Heh, they've existed for many years... And yea, these things do work well, provided you have at least some initial signal to work with :wink: The prices also aren't that bad - the basic "consumer-oriented" kits begin at like $250, including the antennas: http://www.amazon.com/Wilson-Electronic ... B0014KOB6Y Of course, if you have large residence - you'll need a larger indoor antenna, as well as perhaps more powerful amplifier, so it may cost about $100-200 or so extra...
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:53 am

JohnC wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
JohnC wrote:Anyways, Wilson Electronics is the company that makes such "dumb" cellphone signal amplifiers, so look at their products.

I didn't know those existed. A little pricey, but I imagine something like that is the only viable option if you don't have a reliable broadband connection.

Heh, they've existed for many years... And yea, these things do work well, provided you have at least some initial signal to work with :wink: The prices also aren't that bad - the basic "consumer-oriented" kits begin at like $250, including the antennas: http://www.amazon.com/Wilson-Electronic ... B0014KOB6Y Of course, if you have large residence - you'll need a larger indoor antenna, as well as perhaps more powerful amplifier, so it may cost about $100-200 or so extra...

Description of the $250 one seems to indicate that it is designed to boost the signal in a rather small area, like a single room. So even a moderate sized residence will probably need the bigger system.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:18 am

I have one of the Zboost one's laying around my house. Don't need it in the new house. It didn't work amazingly well like going from 1 bar to 5, but it did completely eliminate dropped calls. I'd be willing to sell it cheap.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:22 am

What I love most about the microcels is that you get to pay for the thing just to use your own ISP which you also pay for. Brilliant.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:26 am

This is just what I've heard from others, but supposedly if you live in an area that they claim to have acceptable coverage in, and you do not have acceptable coverage in your residence, you can qualify to receive one for free.

As someone mentioned earlier in the thread, though, there's probably going to be some arm-twisting required, either way.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:10 pm

Here in the UK a friend of mine had a femtocell installed. He paid for the femtocell as part of a 2yr contract but the network provider covered the landline installation and line rental.

Probably a bit different to how it works in the US though, we have open-market LLU telephone exchanges where any company can install their hardware, and they just lease the last-link to the premises from the owner of the last link.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:22 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:Probably a bit different to how it works in the US though, we have open-market LLU telephone exchanges where any company can install their hardware, and they just lease the last-link to the premises from the owner of the last link.

That's how it used to work here in the US - CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers) could lease the "last mile" from the ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier) and provide their own services; the ILECs were required to make the connection available to the CLECs at reasonable cost. Unfortunately the big telcos have a lot of political clout, and got that rule weakened to the point where it is now largely ineffective. The rule also doesn't cover optical fiber, so as the telcos start rolling out fiber for the "last mile" it will likely force the few remaining CLECs out of business.
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:06 pm

Elsoze wrote:What I love most about the microcels is that you get to pay for the thing just to use your own ISP which you also pay for. Brilliant.

I agree that these things should be given for free to everyone, but most people can already get them for free with just a little bit of aggressive negotiations :wink: And those who can't get them for free might try looking at eBay for used units for significantly cheaper price (at least for Verizon's units).
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:12 pm

just brew it! wrote:Been wondering about this myself. I have Sprint; reception sucks in my house, and got worse after some recent network "upgrades" they did.

If your signal has gone down recently, you can call Sprint and they may offer to send you one free of charge. I got an Airave about a month ago and don't have to pay for it. I think the key is to note that reception has degraded in quality. For me, I used to get 3 bars inside but then it dropped to none or only 1 bar and I would be consistently roaming. It also helps if the reception isn't that much better right outside your house as well.

I get great reception now, but it is funny to think that I'm just using my own broadband connection for making cell phone calls. Plus, now there isn't much difference between using the mobile network for data and my Wifi, since it's the same thing!
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Re: Anyone use cell phone repeaters?

Postposted on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:06 pm

JohnC wrote:
Elsoze wrote:What I love most about the microcels is that you get to pay for the thing just to use your own ISP which you also pay for. Brilliant.

I agree that these things should be given for free to everyone, but most people can already get them for free with just a little bit of aggressive negotiations :wink: And those who can't get them for free might try looking at eBay for used units for significantly cheaper price (at least for Verizon's units).


^ This.

I've gotten 4 from AT&T and they work great, never paid a dime for one and could get more with a simple email to my rep. Now if only their cell reception was good enough not to need them in the first place (admittedly I do use them indoors in a building with a metal roof).

Also, before I got the microcells (technically femotcells) I've tried a couple of the repeaters with mixed but mostly poor results so my advice is get the microcell if you have an internet connection rather than a repeater.
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