How To Increase Cell Phone Coverage With a Femtocell or Microcell

July 20th, 2012 by Craig Mullins

I’m always looking for ways to get better cell phone coverage in my rural area of Burson, CA and Valley Springs. People have suggested I get a microcell or femtocell. Here’s why it won’t work for me, but for others it might be a great solution.

A microcell uses your home internet connection. Right now that totally eliminates me just on that fact. But if we did have internet at the property we only get satellite. As far as I know all satellite coverage is not compatible with femtocells because of the high latency in satellite. Every time you make a connection with a satellite the round trip to go from the satellite to your device take  up to 2 seconds. That would be totally unacceptable on voice calls.

One possible exception. The folks at Wildblue Satellite just launched a new satellite and created Exede by Viasat. They are claiming their satellite is compatible with Voice Over IP and have low latency. So they may work. If anyone’s tried it I’d love to hear how it worked. I’d love to find out how much data a typical voice call takes running on a femtocell since every byte we use is like gold running on satellite as some of you probably know that use Wildblue. 🙂

AT&T 3G Microcell Femtocell Features

at&t 3g microcell femtocell

40 feet coverage area or 5000 SQ FT
Works to improve data and voice coverage
Data usage still applies if using the microcell, instead configure your phone to connect to connect to WIFI for data.
Only devices you authorize can use it.
Need a 3G or better phone to utilize; older GSM/EDGE only phone won’t work.
Downstream speed of 1.5 Mbps and upstream speeds of 256 Kbps are recommended for best performance
calls transfer from the AT&T 3G MicroCell device to the strongest AT&T cell tower signal.
Calls initiated on a cell tower do not transfer to the AT&T 3G MicroCell device.
Up to 4 phones can be used simultaneously
Built by Cisco
$150.00 or $50 with $100 rebate and $20/month unlimited calling plan

Anyone have experience with Sprint, Verizon or T-mobile femtocell /microcells?

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