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Internet cellphone "boosting"

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by AntAltMike, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    I live in an area of universally poor cellphone reception. Every day, I see people walking around outside their nearby homes, hoping to wander into an elusive hotspot that can best sustain their connection. I am an AT&T customer using just an old, Nokia "dumb" phone, and previously, I had been able to use an AT&T AirCard here, though, because I am a low power user (basically e-mail and news articles only), I can't say whether my 3G AirCard service was performing optimally

    Recently, someone moved into the neighborhood and he found his Sprint reception here to be unacceptable. He is a more "high power" user, with a tablet-like phone (when they say after my flight lands, "You may now turn on your electronic devices", I'm one of the few who is still slumming it: nearly everyone else is poking an LCD screen nowadays), and he kept talking about how few "bars" he was getting here, saying it impeded his ability to get his device to do some of the things he wanted it to do.

    He remedied his own Sprint signal power/quality problem by obtaining from them, at no charge, something that he plugged into his Verizon wireless router that enabled that internet connection to broadcast his needed cellphone service. I hooked it up for him, and I assisted him in authorizing or activating it, and as I recall, we didn't even have to incorporate his WEP key into the authorization, but it didn't work for him until this authorization or activation had been completed.

    Is there something similar available to me, an AT&T "dumbphone" user, either for free or for a hardware or subscription charge? I am surely beyond my contractual commitment, so I have the negotiating leverage of renewing/extending or changing providers. If getting internet cellphone transmission would require that I upgrade to a more expensive data tier of service, I could consider it, but that is not of much value to me at present, as I get free Verizon internet via "cable" here paid for by my landlord, and if it is possible for the Verizon internet to be used carry my cell broadcast signal, could I simply "piggyback" off his nearby Sprint interfacing unit or would the needed interface device also be proprietary to my provider and possibly unique to me as a customer?
     
  2. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

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  3. SayWhat?

    SayWhat? Know Nothing

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    I've got the single band (800MHz) version of this and haven't had any problems:

    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...545PCSCEL)&c=Signal Boosters&sku=186639000663

    I'm out in the sticks, nearest tower about 4-5 miles. Used to get 2-3 bars outside and barely 1 inside. Now I get 4-5 bars all the time, inside and out. I use my phone for voice only, no data. Worked for both my LG phone on Verizon and on TracFone.
     
  4. klang

    klang Hall Of Fame

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    I've had the AT&T Microcell at home for a few years and it works great. I think I paid $150 for mine but I have read of people in fringe areas getting them for free.
     
  5. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    If he is using the Sprint AIRAVE, then you can't piggyback; it only works on Sprint products (at least according to their literature).
     
  6. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    I see lots of them selling on eBay for $60 to $80 as Buy-it-Now, and those prospective buyers who are not in a rush can do better in conventional, time interval auctions.

    I have bought AT&T Sierra 3G sticks on eBay for less than half what AT&T wanted when I had to replace broken units and encountered no resistance by AT&T in activating those on my existing AT&T wireless internet account, but I have to wonder if I can use a previously owned Microcell unit if I have not initially set up a Microsell service going through the "front-door" and making the initial hardware purchase from AT&T.

    My cellphone is a Nokia 2G model 1208, which I don't like anyway because the buttons are poorly designed, so now I have to either get up to speed on primitive 3G phones or move all the way into the second decade of this century and if I do and accept a two year commitment, I will probably find a reasonably priced deal for some kind of "pad" as well as a range extender or augmenter.

    I see that there are a lot of used Nokia 6350 and 6555 phones for sale used on eBay for $15 to $30. Their published specs say they are 3G and they look suitable for my minimal immediate needs.
     
  7. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

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    There are a couple of things going on in the Cell world that are very interesting.

    1) T-mobile fully supports WiFi-VOIP, I don't use minutes several of the places I play. :)

    The problem is that they don't handoff to the cell network as you leave the WiFi. (Yet.)

    2) Republic Wireless is building their whole business plan around using WiFi as much as possible and Sprint the rest of the time. $19/month for unlimited, unlimited, unlimited service. They are still working out the bugs on their secret sauce, which basically enables a sprint smart phone to do everything via WiFi (MMS is the last problem as I understand things). They already have the handoff between WiFi and Cell working.

    Republic has a long way to go, like supporting more than one phone, getting all their support structures in place, etc.

    Peace,
    Tom
     
  8. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    Some Microcell product descriptions say that in addition to the internet connection, they also require a supplied external antenna, which they recommend to be placed near a window. I don't see why such a terrestrtial antenna would be needed.
     
  9. klang

    klang Hall Of Fame

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    They need a GPS connection during setup. I assume it is a requirement for 911.
     
  10. RasputinAXP

    RasputinAXP Kwisatz Haderach of Cordcuttery

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    It's the GPS antenna.
     
  11. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    The Sprint's AIRAVE™ FAQ says this about the GPS antenna:
     
  12. phrelin

    phrelin Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    My youngest son brought an AT&T Microcell up to our house, plugged it in, and left it so when he or two his siblings (all 50+ years) and families come here they can chat and text to their heart's content.

    Yeah, we had to put it just outside the door away from the redwood trees initially (long Ethernet cable and extension cord) for GPS, but we got it to work and it has worked ever since.

    Doesn't seem to boost my Comcast usage noticeably. And, of course, our phones are Verizon and seem to get ok reception....
     
  13. djlong

    djlong Hall Of Fame

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    Be warned. You're basically telling your cell phone provider "Sure, charge me for the device that will hit my data caps from my ISP even MORE than I already am".

    Now, voice doesn't have nearly the impact of video - but the whole idea of Sprint, Verizon or any other cell provider charging you so that you can use YOUR resources to make up for THEIR shortcomings always struck me as a bit sleazy. The idea that Sprint may now be GIVING these devices away is at least a little nicer :)
     
  14. hilmar2k

    hilmar2k Hall Of Fame

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    VZW gave one to me for my office at no charge as well. Of course, the threat of my entire office switching providers if they didn't may have had something to do with that. ;)
     

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