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How come there's no reception in elevators, subways, basements etc?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
May seem like an obvious question but you'd think they'd have the tech to allow for reception in these types of locations? Are little devices available whereby you could install them in elevators and receive a signal? I know they have devices to block signals in movie theaters. Doesn't the industry have portable signal extension devices?
post #2 of 33
Yes there are they are called repeaters and it's usually up to the phone company to put them in and the owner of the property to want them.
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post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Yes there are they are called repeaters and it's usually up to the phone company to put them in and the owner of the property to want them.

Really?? Well why wouldn't a company install them? People don't want dropped calls in elevators, people want safety in underground parking lots, people want to use their phones in the subways.

This would make paying for a parking space more attractive and things like that so why is basically no one doing it? Surely they can't be prohibitively expensive. Are they?

How are they sold? As GSM or CDMA repeaters separately or what? Are they sold by 3rd party companies or only by the carriers? What are the technical names? I want to search Google Images.

Thanks
post #4 of 33
There was an article about AT&T offering such a thing on this site a short while ago.

They are available but they can interfere with other carriers networks which can lead to some fairly severe penalties in Australia, I don't know about other countries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Really?? Well why wouldn't a company install them? People don't want dropped calls in elevators, people want safety in underground parking lots, people want to use their phones in the subways.

This would make paying for a parking space more attractive and things like that so why is basically no one doing it? Surely they can't be prohibitively expensive. Are they?

How are they sold? As GSM or CDMA repeaters separately or what? Are they sold by 3rd party companies or only by the carriers? What are the technical names? I want to search Google Images.

Thanks
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post #5 of 33
The metro (subway) in the city where I live has repeaters so you can still get a signal underground.
post #6 of 33
Surely you can handle a 40 second elevator ride without phone service!

I know the Metro in DC, and the Hudson River tunnels between NYC and NJ have service. But then, it's not uncommon to spend an hour inside the tunnel trying to travel that mile and a half

A repeater is just a radio tranceiver... designed around the specific frequency (or frequencies) it would need to support. In this case, you'd most likely need a separate unit for each carrier you wanted to support. (Proprietary software and all.)

... Who are you suggesting will pay for this?
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post #7 of 33
didn't think the radio of so fantastic iPhone was a little bit worse, than nokias' that. Neither did Apple pay for repeaters everywhere.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #8 of 33
Is that the same Nokia that pulled 5800's from sale in North America due to reception issues

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

didn't think the radio of so fantastic iPhone was a little bit worse, than nokias' that. Neither did Apple pay for repeaters everywhere.
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post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

Is that the same Nokia that pulled 5800's from sale in North America due to reception issues

Nokia makes lots of phones. So?

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

didn't think the radio of so fantastic iPhone was a little bit worse, than nokias' that. Neither did Apple pay for repeaters everywhere.

Neither Apple nor Nokia can provide the repeaters. Repeaters must be provided by the service providers.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Nokia makes lots of phones. So?

So, Nokia radio not better that, non?

C'est la vie!
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post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

So, Nokia radio not better that, non?

C'est la vie!

It's firmware (=software) issue that hurts 5800, not h/w one. iPhone 1.0 couldn't process 3G either.
I tried 5800. Battery isn't worse, rather better (solid 4 days on WiFi). But it's crap as web browsing device as compared to iPhone (the screen is too narrow).

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

Neither Apple nor Nokia can provide the repeaters. Repeaters must be provided by the service providers.

But Apple (or Nokia) had to order repeaters at least! Nokia doesn't need them, signal level is in average sufficient for the indoor reception. So, it appears to be Apple's headache, doesn't it?

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #14 of 33
It's hardware my iPhone will work on the 3G network in America AND Europe, Australia etc because it works on the 850/1900/2100 UMTS bands you need two 5800's the 900/2100 European model and the 850/1900 NAM model, but that issue is beside the point.

The opening post asked why mobile phone's (in general) don't work in places where there is no signal, in the middle if the desert in Australia mobile phone's don't work because it costs money for phone companies to put towers there, pay for electricity to power them and technicians to maintain them, as there is very little demand for mobile coverage in the middle of the desert there is no point putting them there.

I don't have reception issues any where that my N82 doesn't have the same issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

It's firmware (=software) issue that hurts 5800, not h/w one. iPhone 1.0 couldn't process 3G either.
I tried 5800. Battery isn't worse, rather better (solid 4 days on WiFi). But it's crap as web browsing device as compared to iPhone (the screen is too narrow).
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post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

It's hardware

Hardly so. Recent reports say customers don't need to replace devices. Downloadable f/w update fixes reception problems. So I'm predisposed to trust Nokia's explanation it's f/w issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

my iPhone will work on the 3G network in America AND Europe, Australia etc because it works on the 850/1900/2100 UMTS bands you need two 5800's the 900/2100 European model and the 850/1900 NAM model, but that issue is beside the point.

It's their design. Nokia's market-specific h/w & f/w configurations guarantee visibly better sensitivity in exchange.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

The opening post asked why mobile phone's (in general) don't work in places where there is no signal,

With Nokia's phones users just don't notice "phones not working" because phones usually do work in places with lower (than ideal outdoor conditions) signal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

I don't have reception issues any where that my N82 doesn't have the same issues.

My experience isn't that happy. Having been going from the office to the restaurant and chatting over phone since years I used not to notice a small tunnel I've been going through until I got iPhone. The signal goes away now each time. I used to phone my wife from my underhouse garage. I have to forget about it with iPhone... etc. etc.
I'm just lazy a bit, but I think, I would make a video one day, comparing several phones and iPhone reception quality...

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

... So, it appears to be Apple's headache, doesn't it?

That some cellphones get better reception that others is obvious. As a MOTO RAZR owner and former user, no one knows this truth better than I. To imply that cellphones made by Nokia or any other manufacturer can arbitrarily receive any signal anywhere is nonsense.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

TTo imply that cellphones made by Nokia or any other manufacturer can arbitrarily receive any signal anywhere is nonsense.

True. It seems also to be true (there're multiple complaining threads on Apple support forum too) Nokia's phones generally receive better, than iPhone, in places, where average user expects them to: in elevators, in short shallow tunnels, in basements (to reasonable extent)

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

True. It seems also to be true (there're multiple complaining threads on Apple support forum too) Nokia's phones generally receive better, than iPhone, in places, where average user expects them to: in elevators, in short shallow tunnels, in basements (to reasonable extent)

TBH, it's so varied you can't really draw too many conclusions from it. I've had Nokia phones with much better signal than the iPhone 3G, and ones where it's been worse. The next iPhone might have amazing signal, or it might be totally dire.
post #19 of 33
I wouldn't count forum complaints as proven fact.

On Engadget the story about Skype for the iPhone also included Skype coming to the BlackBerry. All of the negative comments were about Skype taking so long for the iPhone, no one even mentioned that it is just as late to the BlackBerry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

True. It seems also to be true (there're multiple complaining threads on Apple support forum too) Nokia's phones generally receive better, than iPhone, in places, where average user expects them to: in elevators, in short shallow tunnels, in basements (to reasonable extent)
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

I wouldn't count forum complaints as proven fact.
On Engadget the story about Skype for the iPhone also included Skype coming to the BlackBerry. All of the negative comments were about Skype taking so long for the iPhone, no one even mentioned that it is just as late to the BlackBerry.

I can say nothing about what is happening to Skype for mobile platforms, but complaints about modest reception capabilities of iPhone are very well proven for me by my everyday experience.
OK, there will be always doubts and arguments challenging my point of view, I can't help that. It may then be viewed as my future iPhone wish list, which I promote everywhere:
  1. better battery
  2. better radio
before anything else.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrochester View Post

The next iPhone might have amazing signal

That's what I wish Apple would focus on. Before any oled screens, biometric sensors etc.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #22 of 33
My point had nothing directly to do with Skype. The point was that Skype was coming to both the iPhone and BlackBerry, but people only complained that the iPhone did not have Skype but did not complain about the BlackBerry.

My doubts, arguments, and challenges are not based on opinion they are based on definitive tests.

Swedish Scientists Test iPhone 3G's Antenna: It's Fine

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

I can say nothing about what is happening to Skype for mobile platforms, but complaints about modest reception capabilities of iPhone are very well proven for me by my everyday experience.
OK, there will be always doubts and arguments challenging my point of view, I can't help that. It may then be viewed as my future iPhone wish list, which I promote everywhere:
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

My point had nothing directly to do with Skype. The point was that Skype was coming to both the iPhone and BlackBerry, but people only complained that the iPhone did not have Skype but did not complain about the BlackBerry.

People were complaining about Skype on BlackBerry here, for instance. I gave already some hints as to what's the difference between iPhone and BB audiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

My doubts, arguments, and challenges are not based on opinion they are based on definitive tests. Swedish Scientists Test iPhone 3G's Antenna: It's Fine

Firstly, thank you very much for posting at least some results of comparing reception capabilities. Such a comparison is quite rare.

Here go more or less exact and digitized results of their experiments:
Quote:
The P1 is a little better at receiving signals and the N73 a little better at transmitting signals. But the difference is small. The difference between the iphone's and the P1's receive sensitivity is 2 dB. - It is not much. At a difference of 4-6 dB one might start to wonder if there is anything wrong, says Mats Andersson.

You can't deny my estimations though intuitive lead me in right direction.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

Surely you can handle a 40 second elevator ride without phone service!

Tell you what really hacks me off is those who can't wait to get off of the plane to use their phone. Unless calling for an ambulance, I can't think of anything that necessitates all the phone use as soon as the wheels touch the ground.

That said, I don't relish cell phone use in flight. I may just buy a jammer to take on board when that happens!!
post #25 of 33
Elevators are like Faraday cages, they reduce reception bigtime... Look here

http://www.repeaterstore.com/news/faraday-cages/
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgreencrna View Post

I can't think of anything that necessitates all the phone use as soon as the wheels touch the ground.

As soon as the wheels touch the ground here in STL, I call my wife to come pick me up. If she leaves right after I call, she'll be driving up to the doors outside the luggage carousel just seconds after I exit the building.
post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

May seem like an obvious question but you'd think they'd have the tech to allow for reception in these types of locations? Are little devices available whereby you could install them in elevators and receive a signal? I know they have devices to block signals in movie theaters. Doesn't the industry have portable signal extension devices?

That bugs me also. Especially since my co-worker's cellphones seem to have no problem working
in the elevator or underground parking structure. Also, my 3G download speeds fluctuate on daily
basis from my cubicle. It doesn't seem to matter if I have 3+ bars or not. Sometimes a 5 minute
Youtube video can take an hour+ to stream or it will stream with no pauses at all.

My hope is that these problems will disappear with the next iPhone and AT&T network upgrades. I
also hope that Apple adds a second camera for video iChats over WiFi.
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post #28 of 33
That may mean nothing special but nokia's two decades in producing cell phones should have taught them how to choose suppliers...

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

That may mean nothing special but nokia's two decades in producing cell phones should have taught them how to choose suppliers...

OK, we get it. You like Nokia. Can we move on now?
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

OK, we get it. You like Nokia.

not quite. I hate nokias' buttons and narrow screens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post

Can we move on now?

Absolutely. As soon as something interesting looms in Apple's world I sniff the battery. Speculations about June 2009 arrivals have no batteries.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #31 of 33
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post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

May seem like an obvious question but you'd think they'd have the tech to allow for reception in these types of locations? Are little devices available whereby you could install them in elevators and receive a signal? I know they have devices to block signals in movie theaters. Doesn't the industry have portable signal extension devices?

I don't think so still. Every time I have a conversation with someone on my phone in the Tube, my reception bar falls fast and soon my conversation is cut off.

Phone problem? No.
Reception problem? 100% Yes.
post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

That's what I wish Apple would focus on. Before any oled screens, biometric sensors etc.

+1! And maybe they should throw in the bluetooth capability of sending and receiving files ( hopefully we see this in 3.1,3.2 or 4.0 )
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