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How Do You Extend Your Wireless Connection?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the high-quality-tin-can dept.

Cellphones 214

ganjadude writes "So I am moving to a location where the cell signal is very poor (I don't get signal inside my house), and I have been looking at wireless extenders such as the ones that Sprint and Verizon have. I am brought down by the cost (Sprint charges monthly, Verizon $250 up front, AT&T.... well they are AT&T). Being that this is Slashdot, and a lot of us live in basements (I kid!), I assume that some of the crowd has had this issue in the past. What have you done, or what alternatives are available to someone in such a situation?"

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214 comments

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619164)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

FRAST PRAST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619172)

First post, motherfucker.

Re:FRAST PRAST (-1, Offtopic)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620940)

Nope - you didn't extend your wireless connection far enough.

For the poster - just get another cheap wireless router and use it as a wireless access point. The dlink 615 works fine and will cost you $50.00

Wifi (4, Insightful)

alop (67204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619174)

I use google voice, over wifi while at home.
If you have T-Mobile and a blackberry device, you have use UMA over wifi as well.

Re:Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619274)

I use google voice, over wifi while at home.
If you have T-Mobile and a blackberry device, you have use UMA over wifi as well.

What platform does google voice support calling over wifi only?

Re:Wifi (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619310)

Any platform that supports SIP though wifi

Re:Wifi (1)

RugRat (323562) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619308)

I have a blackberry curve on T-Mobile. I use UMA over Comcast internet quite successfully. I do not pay any extra for this capability, though it might be part of my rate plan.

Re:Wifi (4, Interesting)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619716)

Don't have T-Mobile, but when they released it, it was included in all T-Mobile plans and any calls you START on wifi (even if you transition to cellular mid call) are free, while any calls you START on cellular (even if you go home and transition to wifi mid call) count against your minutes.

So... when you're driving home, hang up and call back, but if you're leaving the house, keep talking.

Re:Wifi (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619412)

I don't think so.

Google Voice isn't a VOIP service, it's a forwarding / routing service. You might be able to have it route to another service, like Gizmo, but by itself you'd not going to send/receive calls.

Makes a pretty good answering machine though, so you could use to listen to messages and call them back when you're in cell coverage, but that's not quite the same.

Re:Wifi (1)

alop (67204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619550)

GV uses data service. If you're mobile, it's sending over 3G/EDGE. At home it uses wifi. My usage statement last month showed 245MB data usage Vs only 9 minutes of airtime used. That was for calls that came to my cell phone directly, that didn't dial my GV number.

Re:Wifi (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31620164)

I don't know why your bill shows what it does, but GV by itself absolutely does not do what you are describing. It only uses the data connection to tell GV servers to initiate a call (when using the GV dialer on Android or the web page on iPhone). From there it uses your minutes (yes, you can use a friends and family plan with your GV to make it look like it uses no minutes, but that doesn't make it use 3G data). It flat out isn't SIP. Now, sure, if you have it forwarding to a Skype number or the like then it would be using data - although GV wouldn't actually "know" it. If you were doing that though you could just use Skype or the like directly and not bother having GV involved (although GV could certainly serve to aggregate your numbers so the caller didn't need to know to call the Skype number, the cell number or other). Are you sure you don't have GV forwarding to a VoIP or SIP provider? Because not only does my usage totally disagree with yours - so do all the FAQ's from Google about their service.

Re:Wifi (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620308)

No, it doesn't. It does call setup (instructing GV to call your cell) over data. But your GV phone number is *just* a phone number.

Perhaps you added your GV number to your 'calling circle'?

Re:Wifi (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619646)

If you use the Google Voice app, you make a receive calls over SIP.

If you aren't using the Google Voice app, you have to call your Google Voice number first, and that means your call goes over POTS.

I understand how you got you're confused. You probably don't have a smartphone with the Google Voice app.

Re:Wifi (1)

GreyLurk (35139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619858)

On which smartphones? I know that the Google Voice app on the Blackberry Curve still uses voice minutes.

Re:Wifi (4, Informative)

noc007 (633443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620278)

I do have a smartphone running Android with the Google Voice app and this is not the case. As MDMurphy stated, GV is a forwarder and this is how the app functions; outbound GV calls still call the local GV number and use minutes. I believe alop has a Gizmo5 account, which is a SIP service acquired by Google in November, and is the only SIP service supported to directly work with GV without a POTS call having to be initiated.

Googles FAQ backup what MDMurphy and myself are saying:
http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115079 [google.com]
http://www.google.com/support/voice/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=115104 [google.com]

Even if one were to have a Gizmo5 account before they stopped accepting new accounts when Google acquired them, a SIP client app is still required; the GV app for Android will not connect via SIP and will still use airtime. The only way around this is to get a SIP account, Gizmo5 or not, and use a SIP client. GV can be optionally used depending on what services the SIP account provides and what you want to do. Additionally a service like SIP Sorcery might be needed depending on what you're doing:
http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0Ae8glDUXDsh9ZGR2eG43cjRfMzNkOTM4ZjNjeA&hl=en&pli=1 [google.com]

Google has stated that they plan on bringing SIP connectivity to the GV service in the future as part of their Gizmo5 purchase. Besides having a Gizmo5 account or jumping through the hoops of what's documented in the last link, I'm interested in how one can use GV via SIP or WiFi and no call over POTS or a mobile network using minutes.

Re:Wifi (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619570)

If finding a solution to the actual problem of not being able to respond to phone calls is what's important, may I suggest an alternative workaround?

Forward your cell phone to a land line in your basement.

Re:Wifi (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31620256)

http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/cell-phone/b32e/
$329.99 it works great!!!
I had one bar now 5
Nothing gets geeks into a seething tech frenzy like poor cellphone reception... and it doesn't help that we love the iPhone and AT&T sucks for cellphone service. Sad. Well quit staring at your one-bar-worth of signal strength and pick up this handy Cellphone Signal Extender for your home or office. Simply mount the included antenna near a window and run the coax cable to the base booster unit. You get 1500 square feet of prime signal area. We went from 1 bar... to 5 at the ThinkGeek secret headquarters and made our iPhones very happy in the process.

Re:Wifi (1)

Selivanow (82869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620776)

The reason that you get 5 bars is because you are communicating with the extender. It acts like a cell tower. The real question is how good is the quality of the actual call?
If the extender's connection to the cell tower is bad then the call quality will still suck.
(Other bonus of using a repeater is lower battery usage!)

Re:Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31620918)

Sprint will give you a Femtocell free with no monthly charge if you are in an area of poor reception. They did this for me about 6 months ago and I'm a happy camper now.

Don't... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619180)

Don't move to that location?

This, my friends. (-1, Redundant)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619186)

This is the ultimate wireless card [amazon.com] , minus the fact that it doesn't support Wireless N. The range on this thing is INSANE, and if you are so inclined you can change out the already great antenna for something else.

If you are having problems with being too far away from your router, aren't using Wireless N, and you have a desktop, I wouldn't recommend any other card.

Re:This, my friends. (1)

Dice (109560) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619206)

RTFS. Cell signal, not wifi.

Re:This, my friends. (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619390)

-_-;;

I'll just be going over here now ----->

Re:This, my friends. (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619604)

Also, if you're too far away from the router, you're too far away. Just because it can transmit further out doesn't mean your wireless card can, unless you have utilities that allow you to adjust the transmission power. (Like in the DD-WRT firmware, you can take a Linksys from 71mW to 251mW and I can receive the signal out at the pool. I still can't access it because my laptop card won't transmit that far.

Re:This, my friends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619220)

What? He is taking about cell phone extenders, not wifi

Re:This, my friends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619224)

From the review in the link you should warn people it's not compatible with Windows ME LOL

help (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619202)

This should help
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16875995063

Tim Rosco

Re:help (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619574)

Looks good, but I am always a bit leery of products that have no customer reviews.

Re:help (3, Informative)

funkysoulbrother (1766214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619770)

I've used a similar wilson setup for 3+ years now (http://www.repeaterstore.com/products/repeaterkits/wilson/images/pages/soho-50db-full-kit.html). Using the repeater to an internal antenna, I boost my signal from -1 in much of the house to 4+ (out of 5) in much of the house. The only down-side I've had is it's quite expensive, and not easy to install. The 30' foot cable from the repeater to the internal antenna is 5/8" thick and was very hard to pull through my walls. It works pretty good. My signal does pulsate a bit and will still drop calls occasionally, but I think a better external antenna will help. My antenna broke this winter from an ICE Dam breaking loose, so I think I'll get a Yagi antenna instead and make it a little stronger.

Re:help (4, Informative)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619772)

That's the crappy car version, won't do squat for his home. Try this one instead: http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/801247.php [wilsonelectronics.com] The new DT series gets GREAT results while keeping costs low and installation troubles to a minimum.

Re:help (1)

aurizon (122550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620106)

what you need is a bidirectional, multi band cell phone booster with an external antenna you mount high to 'see' the local cell tower. Make sure you look up your cell model to be sure the unit works with your phone.
This place has a lookup list of what your phone is. http://www.gsmarena.com/ [gsmarena.com]

This is a high on an outside wall antenna hooked to a multi band amplifier with an antenna inside the house where you want coverage. There are a few of them on ebay, the cheap ones are the old single band ones that are probably useless to you. You can even buy extra yagi antennas to hook up and point towards a cell tower that can be a few miles away. Then you can walk around in the house and when you talk the unit picks it up and amplifies it to the outside antenna and gets the signal back to you. It will also work for other people close to it.
See if you can find one on Craigslist or Kijiji. There are lots on ebay, read specs with care. Those little flat foil plates are no good for your use.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619212)

I use a 1 Watt military amplifier and a good antenna ... it works ...

Parabolic Reflector (1)

billhuey (183070) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619216)

Just a build a parabolic reflector. There's plans online for doing that in the 2.4ghz spectrum that can be adapted for cell phones.

Re:Parabolic Reflector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619248)

So then you have to stand right in front of it whenever you want to talk? ... I dunno how well that would work.

Re:Parabolic Reflector (1)

billhuey (183070) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619588)

...and then use a hands free headset. DUH ! (grin)

Extend your wireless (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619230)

V1@6ruh cheep.
Captcha undergo

Re:Extend your wireless (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620876)

V1@6ruh cheep.

And instead of wasting a mod point to let people know about a funny joke, you modded it offtopic. Stellar mod.

Ask to speak to the Retentions Dept. (4, Interesting)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619262)

The phone companies do charge upfront/monthly fees for those micro-cells, but when pushed, they will often reduce or wave the charges for them to retain a phone customer. You might call your provider (be it Sprint, Verizon, etc) and talk to the retentions department.

Re:Ask to speak to the Retentions Dept. (1)

Ingenium13 (162116) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619974)

I second this. With Sprint, if you tell them you get no service at your house, and that you would like to keep them as your carrier, they will not only waive the monthly fee but sometimes will even give you the device for free.

Re:Ask to speak to the Retentions Dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31620822)

this is exactly how i got mine.
still left sprint, but they gave me free hardware/service because i said exactly that.

Cell Phone Repeater (4, Informative)

mongoose(!no) (719125) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619268)

My dad lives in the shadow of a cell tower and gets no reception on his property, but does if he walks to the neighbors house (100 feet or so). I suggested he get a cell phone repeater. He now gets a bar or two, but not a good quality signal. This is the one he got [thinkgeek.com] (but not from Thinkgeek, I don't think). It should be noted, he also got a directional antenna that company sells to point at the nearest tower besides the one he lives under.

Re:Cell Phone Repeater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619330)

For that kind of money, the OP would be better off just getting the femtocell.

Re:Cell Phone Repeater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31620022)

Tell him to get a second directional antenna and set the whole thing up at his neighbor's house. Point the signal antenna at the repeater he lives under and point the base unit antenna at his house. I bet he gets at least as many bars as when standing at his neighbor's house.

Re:Cell Phone Repeater (4, Informative)

dingram17 (839714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620192)

That's the downside of being too close. The vertical beamwidth from the antennae will probably be too small as there would be gain, meaning that you need to be a reasonable distance away to start getting coverage. This is one of the reasons that cellphone coverage in high rise buildings is tricky -- there isn't enough signal directed upwards from ground masts, and masts that are on the top of buildings tend to not have enough down direction. Some clever use of phased arrays would solve this, but the sites are set up to serve the greatest number of people for the least cost.

Re:Cell Phone Repeater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31620244)

There's no guarantee that the cell tower he lives under is actually on the same network or using the same cellular technology even.

Wireless Extender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619290)

The current brand of femtocells don't support data services, only that old voice stuff the carriers still think is relevant. Until they do, I use a Wireless Extender from http://www.wi-ex.com with an antenna in the attic for boosting signal a bit. However, largely I use Google Voice to simultaneously ring both my home and mobile numbers - I get to decide which I pick up.

Wilson Electronics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619296)

I use gear from Wilson Electronics, which is the only way I've found I can get a decent signal at my cabin in the woods. Inside I use a Panasonic link-to-cell house phone coupled with Wilson's cradle antenna. It's a good setup.

saucepan extender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619306)

Put it in a pot
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/12/30/231217

get a signal amplifier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619346)

http://www.wi-ex.com --> get a unit that matches your phones frequencies. I got a dual band unit. I had no bars and my conversations dropped all the time. I ran a 50 ft rg6 cable up my tv antenna tower and connected to the omni antenna the amplifier comes with. I now get about 4 solid bars and never haved dropped a call.

sprint (4, Informative)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619352)

I live between two hills in a area where Sprint has great coverage but in my house I get either 1 bar or roaming. If I walk 100 yards up either hill its perfect reception. Sprint sent me a Airave ($100 normally) for free and comps me the $5 month fee. With it I get perfect reception. The Airave is not a repeater but a micro cell tower that communicates with Sprints network over a internet connection.

Re:sprint (1)

spaceman375 (780812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619990)

Two questions: Can the guy your neighbor get a signal thru your extender? What about the kid across the street running a rogue AP and transparent proxy?

Re:sprint (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620348)

1. Probably. It's a picocell. Should they not? It's using a few hundred kbps max, probably much lower.
2. This isn't relevant. We're talking about cell signals, not WiFi. If he's got a rogue AP, it has nothing to do with his setup.

T-Mobile (1)

Anubis_Ascended (937960) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619354)

Do you have T-Mobile in your area? You could try their Hotspot@Home service [t-mobile.com] ; it lets you use your own home Wi-fi network for voice calls (provided that you have a compatible wi-fi-enabled phone like the BlackBerry Bold 9700)

Put on the Foil! (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619356)

Tinfoil Suit (colander "astronaut helmet" optional).

Wi-Ex Signal Repeater (4, Informative)

crazyj (145672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619366)

As long as you have a decent signal somewhere close enough you can run a cable to such as in your attic, or on your roof I can highly recommend the Wi-Ex YX510 from ZBoost (http://wi-ex.com/YX510.aspx). I have one at home and one at my office and they're great — as long as you have a good signal it can repeat for you. If you have no good signal nearby then you're either S.O.L. or stuck with a "mini-cell" thingy from your provider.

Re:Wi-Ex Signal Repeater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619828)

Used this at my cottage and it worked. You need good horizontal and vertical separation between the base unit antenna and the signal antenna. You can also add some RF insulation (I used radiant thermal insulation) between the two. Directional signal antennas are available too.

Re:Wi-Ex Signal Repeater (1)

Olmy's Jart (156233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620034)

Yeah, these are the ones available from SmartHome. I agree! They work great.

Purple Pill (3, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619368)

I think I heard something about a pill that will extend the range of your hardware...

There was some drawback about a doctor and four hours though.

Re:Purple Pill (3, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619658)

How would you like to get your simm card's contents RIPPED IN 4 WEEKS?

I'm hopelessly oldfashioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619416)

... I'd just use a land line.

home based Cell phone extenders (2, Interesting)

TheCow (191714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619428)

I haven't found anything that is less than $200, but I have a product from http://www.wi-ex.com/

It is a simple device, that takes some work to get installed correctly, but works for me.

Even at $240, if you are going to be living there for over 2 years, it is less than $10 per month if you choose to look at it that way.

Just comes down to how important is better cell phone signal to you in your basement?

T-Mobile (2, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619430)

If you get a Blackberry from T-Mobile, it will happily connect via Wifi. The technology is called UMA:
http://www.umatechnology.org/overview/ [umatechnology.org]

They may have other phones that do it as well. I don't know.

No femtocell host [wikipedia.org] is required.

Threaten to cancel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619440)

I canceled Sprint due to horrible service in my area. They were offering to give the wireless extender to me for free just to stay on the service.

Just call and threaten to cancel your service. They'll jump.

Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619466)

Can you get reliable reception outside? If so, then a passive repeater might do the trick. One antenna outside captures the signal, which is then passed through a coaxial cable to a second antenna inside (and vice versa). Google "passive cell repeater". If the signal isn't strong enough for a passive repeater, you need an amplifier. Those things aren't cheap. The offers you got seem reasonable.

Cellular Signal Extender (1)

akherber (1773396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619468)

They can be hit and miss, especially if you buy low price range versions, but when set up properly these [amazon.com] can be a life saver. This is just one of the cheaper ones I found with a quick search. Ive seen the benefits of a little more industrial version and was amazed; especially in the environment I was in. I understand you were looking for affordable, but if you consider a one time investment on an encompassing RF range at least you wont have to ever make the payments to your cell provider if you were to change a plan or change providers. Hope this helps..

change provider (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619518)

Unless you're hooked on a certain plan or whatever try other providers. I can get a solid reception on one carrier and extremely poor on all the others (but if I cross the street they're all full strength). Choice of phone does not seem to matter very much (regardless of the fibbing some do with the bars they show).

OK so I'm from the UK and don't know how the US system works. Here there are several providers and they have their own towers (though some share some towers). Here it's also easy to get a free "pay as you go" sim card that you can use to try them out, though just asking friends around can be a more entertaining approach.

Passive Antenna Repeater (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619522)

My father who used to be in satellite/military communincations used to use a passive repeater system, basically two antennae connected via coax cable. The antennae would be sized for the specific frequency range you are using, and the one outside can have attached collector (like a dollar store metal colander) surrounding the antenna. Your mileage will vary depending on type and size of antennae, quality of cable used and position of the collector antenna.

Sorry I have no more detailed information, but he was the comms genius, not me.

Re:Passive Antenna Repeater (1)

pokechop (1437139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620890)

It's called a bent pipe....and it works. I installed this, two yagis and RG6. My signal went from -80 dB to -36.

Simple. (4, Informative)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619528)

Landline.

If you're concerned that people might have to dial 2 numbers to reach you when you have no signal, set up a Google Voice number to ring both phones, then give out THAT number.

Problem: solved.

An added bonus -- you can configure GV to go straight to voicemail at certain hours. Get a goo night's sleep while still being contactable in an emergency (your phone is still on and anyone who has that number can be told to call it in case of emergency).

Re:Simple. (1)

gwdoiron (1590237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620210)

The last time I checked, wired landlines gave you fantastic voice quality direct to your house. 900mhz cordless phones allow you to roam around wirelessly, without interfering with your wifi connection.

Re:Simple. (1)

galadriel (42210) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620414)

I do this (GV number calling both phones, since I can't get reception inside my house). It works reasonably well.

If you're more adamant about getting people to use the GV number than I am, it might work more than "reasonably well" (I have some fairly tech-challenged family who don't seem to get "Call THIS number. You'll always reach me. Yes, the other two numbers still work. Don't call them. Call THIS number.")

AT&Ts new Femtocell (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619536)

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/03/att-microcell/

Non-wifi options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619566)

Parabolics are finicky and hard to build. A cantenna [makezine.com] is much easier.

An active repeater is preferable but is not legal to make unless you're a cell phone company (special government licenses, hence the high price). Passive repeaters [calcellular.com] are laughably cheap and better than nothing. They have a directional outside antenna, which you orient towards the nearest cell tower, and an omni inside antenna for reradiating the signal inside your house.

If you're dying to communicate without wifi, you COULD use APRS [aprs.org] (warning: 90's era webpage) to send texts over HAM bands. This is a popular interface for DIY mobile trackers: you can transmit and receive GPS coordinates over handheld radios, decoding with a laptop or microprocessor. No cell phone necessary.

Re:Non-wifi options (1)

billhuey (183070) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619596)

There are good plans out there via Google. I made one out of mylar and some left over plastic for a bridging a wifi connection across a canyon. It worked well and it shouldn't be hard to modify it for the cell phone spectrum of your choice.

I use NetTalk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619660)

I have a Verizon femtocell, bought used off Craigslist for $120. Kind of annoying, actually, very annoying that is eats up minutes. I used to have Vonage but paying for both each month seemed stupid. I bought a NetTalk VOIP adapter 2 months ago, still has some bugs but $100 with unlimited calls for life. I'm assuming you have broadband since a femtocell requires it and you were looking at those options.

Here is a link, I think you can pay over 4 months but I think you get free shipping if you pay all at once, at least I got free shipping when I paid it all at once. https://www.tk6000.com/

No, I don't work for the company and like I said, it's still a little buggy but I can put up with it plus their support has been very good, super quick to answer help desk tickets.

antenna from a car hands free set? (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619680)

It should work well.

Wilson Electronics (1)

U8MyData (1281010) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619684)

Take a look at them. A little pricey but saved my rear end in a situation just like this. http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ [wilsonelectronics.com]

Verizon Wireless Extender (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619740)

I get terrible reception inside my house so I ended up getting a Verizon wireless extender. So far it's worked quite well except all location stuff is screwed up due to a bug. It has to sit near a window for GPS reception but now I no longer get dropped calls. Later this year they're coming out with a new one that also supports 3G.

Verizon offered me a discount but it was still $200. I also can take it with me when I travel. All it needs is an Ethernet connection.

Re:Verizon Wireless Extender (1)

spaceman375 (780812) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619960)

Two questions: Can the guy in the hotel room next to yours get a signal thru your extender? And, can the hotel IT staff sniff said connection? What about the kid accros the hall running a rogue AP and transparent proxy?

Re:Verizon Wireless Extender (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620826)

The data appears to be encrypted. You can configure it to allow only certain phone numbers. It supports up to 3 calls simultaneously and reserves a 4th for 911. If you restrict it then the only way someone else can use it is they receive no signal at all from my understanding.

Verizon Network Extender (2, Insightful)

rbphilip (530254) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619758)

You can almost always talk them down to $150, and mine works flawlessly. Best $150 I ever spent. My (basement!) office now has great cell service, as does the rest of my house.

DD-WRT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31619782)

DD-WRT firmware works great. Using it right now. (dd-wrt.com)

t-mobile (1)

Son of Byrne (1458629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619784)

I use UMA with T-Mobile on 3 different phones (2 blackberry curves, one samsung unknown model, and one Nokia unknown model). Check T-Mob's site for the models.

I'm *very* happy with the results from these phones using wifi/UMA. The voice quality is great and I can definitely live with the occasional dropped call versus the terrible intermittent behavior I was receiving with my former solution.

My former solution involved Verizon Wireless using a CDMA booster that had an external antenna mounted on my roof. Let me tell you from personal experience: that sh*t don't work.

I even dropped my voice services on my landline ever since getting the T-Mobile service. It's terrific.

Build an on-channel active repeater (1)

n6gn (851311) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619794)

http://www.sonic.net/~n6gn/ocar/ocar.html [sonic.net] This is essentially what one does with after market cellphone amplifiers, but the link offers more detail of the theory and what it takes to operate them properly. These amplifiers are bi-directional, both uplink and downlink are supported but in opposite directions. Use two isolated antennas and make the one pointed at the cell site (particularly) as directional as possible. I suggest a $50/$75 3' parabolic 'grid' reflector for PCS/850 MHz respectively. The ones offered for WiFi (2.4 GHz) actually work very well on PCS but not at 850 MHz and offer ~24 dBi gain. If you are really cheap, build corner reflectors http://www.sonic.net/~n6gn/corner.pdf [sonic.net] .

Wireless Extenders (1)

azdio (185000) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619818)

I am not connected to the company selling these in any way other than I think I may have purchased something from them once.

http://www.solidsignal.com/cview.asp?mc=00&m=Wireless%20Extenders&b=Products&pp=18 [solidsignal.com]

Re:Wireless Extenders (1)

Olmy's Jart (156233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620074)

Looks like those include the zBoost units. I have one for Sprint. Love it. I can see the signal improvement powering up the unit. I got mine from SmartHome and can highly recommend them. Just be sure to get the right unit for your band.

Deliberate cripple from wifi extender vendors (1)

La Gris (531858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619956)

Shortly after Orange France started selling Wifi extenders and powerline transmitters, they pushed a new firmware for theire Livebox Sagem3202 and Inventel modems that significantly lowered signal power and then quality.
The all in one box is required if you want to use the services you pay for.
Guess why they pushed this Wifi power reduction and disabled any access to configuration about the transmission power despite these modems can have it tuned otherwise.

use wifi (1)

roju (193642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31619998)

Buy a phone with WiFi and just use UMA?

Passive Repeater (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620006)

Go to hyperlinktech.com and get 2 antennas that match to the frequency used by your type of cell phone. One should be highly directional, preferably parabolic and the other should be omnidirectional or, preferably, something with sector coverage.

Mount the highly directional antenna so it is pointed at the strongest source of signal for your phone, preferably with line of sight to the tower. Mount the sector coverage antenna so it is centered on the area you will be using your handset. I've heard having the antennas mounted apart from each other is preferable. You then want to wire them directly together. If you can get complementary connectors on each (one N-Male, one N-Female) you can just screw them together or wire them with an extension.

The directional antenna will act like a large collector and funnel that radio energy across the line and into your sector antenna, boosting the effective power by the sum of the antenna gains minus ~3dB. The energy output from your handset will be picked up by the sector antenna and sent back through that directional antenna toward the tower and see the same overall gain.

I've done something similar before with wifi using parabolic antennas to shoot it around an obstacle - no additional power required.

Re:Passive Repeater (1)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620322)

I know the technique (passive repeater), but I thought the losses were much worse than 3dB, eg closer to 20dB.

Cellular extender / repeater (1)

Olmy's Jart (156233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620012)

If what you're after is a cell phone extender, then I can highly recommend the Wireless Extender Cell Phone Signal Booster from SmartHome. They are NOT cheap (> $200 single band. >300 for the dual band unit). But, after laying my money down and running the wireless antenna up into my attic with the repeater system and antenna down in the basement, I can honestly say, I've got a better cell phone signal in my basement than upstairs on the main floor or even the second floor. Be mindful that you get the right unit for your band / service. I got one that works with Sprint and I love it. Works with my 3G data network and data card from them as well (as would be expected - it's just cellular). Comes with enough cable to span two stories up into an attic from a basement.

Works with all 800 MHz cellular phone systems (Verizon)
http://www.smarthome.com/9625C/Wireless-Extender-zBoost-Cell-Phone-Signal-Booster-for-CEL-Phones-YX500-CEL/p.aspx [smarthome.com]

Works with all 1900 MHz PCS-based phone systems (Sprint, NexTel)
http://www.smarthome.com/9625/Cell-Phone-Signal-Booster-YX500-PCS/p.aspx [smarthome.com]

Works with both 1900 MHz PCS-based phones AND 800 MHz cell-based phones
http://www.smarthome.com/9631/Wireless-Extender-zBoost-Home-Office-Cell-Phone-Signal-Booster-Unit/p.aspx [smarthome.com]

Wilson Electronics (1)

ProfM (91314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620032)

http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/ [wilsonelectronics.com]

I have installed MANY of these in buildings, and if you have ANY sort of signal outside the house, down to about -90dBm, these boosters will amplify that about 60dBm, coupled with a good 5dBm indoor antenna, and 10-15dBm outdoor antenna, and you get very good signal indoors.

line2 (1)

lee1 (219161) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620526)

If you have an iphone this [nytimes.com] might be useful.

wire is 1/3rd the price and works better (1)

Uzik2 (679490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620544)

get a wired telephone.

quiet (4, Funny)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620704)

What have you done, or what alternatives are available to someone in such a situation?

Enjoy the peace and quiet?

VTech DS6321-3 DECT Bluetooth Phone System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31620754)

If you can get a cellphone signal of any kind in your house, look for a DECT 6.0 Bluetooth pairing cellphone systems from Vtech.

Place your cellphone high up in the window of your best signal exposure, and then use the Bluetooth integration to distribute the incoming and outgoing calls to any DECT phone in the house.

You can also get phone directory integration.

Look for the VTech DS6321-3 DECT Bluetooth Phone System

I bought a blue tooth head set (1)

pgmrdlm (1642279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620802)

I have dead zones in my apartment, but I also have area's where the reception isn't that bad. I bought a blue tooth head set and put the phone down in one of the good area's. The kitchen is that area, which is pretty much in the center of the apartment. I can walk in there and dial, then am free to move where ever I want through out the rest of the apartment.

Yes, I know it's a pain in the ass. And it will only work if you have area's in the apartment/house where you do have decent reception.

Or, you can bundle a phone package with your internet service. And no, I am not trying to be a smart ass.

What about 802.11 networks? (1)

ospirata (565063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31620846)

I have a D-Link DI-524 Wireless router and it is place in the middle of the apartment I live in. Unfortunately the signal is unstable at some corners, and often the signal goes below 20% and the link is broken. Does anyone has a useful solution to make the wireless router signal be replicated easier?
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