AT&T signal repeater?

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Anyone heard any more about AT&T (or someone authorized by AT&T) offering a device that can repeat a cell signal (or strengthen a cell signal) within a home? I'm getting zero bars in my house, but plenty of signal outside my house.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lazy-i.com View Post


    Anyone heard any more about AT&T (or someone authorized by AT&T) offering a device that can repeat a cell signal (or strengthen a cell signal) within a home? I'm getting zero bars in my house, but plenty of signal outside my house.



    I believe they have been planing to launch their 3G MicroCell solution, but I don't think they have formally announced it or pricing. This site was launched back in January, but it requires a login in now to view. engadget covered it back then briefly.
  • Reply 2 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    I believe they have been planing to launch their 3G MicroCell solution, but I don't think they have formally announced it or pricing. This site was launched back in January, but it requires a login in now to view. engadget covered it back then briefly.



    Yeah, I remember that now -- I wasn't sure if I dreamed it or if it was real, but there it is. What's AT&T waiting for? I'd buy one today (if the cost isn't insane).
  • Reply 3 of 8
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lazy-i.com View Post


    Yeah, I remember that now -- I wasn't sure if I dreamed it or if it was real, but there it is. What's AT&T waiting for? I'd buy one today (if the cost isn't insane).



    If you have good wifi coverage at home, I would seriously consider a VoIP app for the iPhone. Skype is probably the best one out there right now and their rates are good ($3 for unlimited calling to North American landlines and cells). Their Mac/PC clients also support video calling.



    Another option is iCall. I have stayed away from them as they have been more than a bit sketchy with their launch and their plans. Originally, they said all NA calls would be free, but have since switched that to PAYG, $10/month or an ad supported plan of some kind. The only feature that I really likes about iCall over Skype was the ability to switch an incoming call on your cell over to your VoIP connection. This would keep you from using minutes on your plan. I suppose Skype could add this sometime and I am surprised they launched without it. For now, I can just tell the person I will call them back, but having the ability to switch mid-call would be more convenient.



    One thing to remember with the FEMTOCell/PICOCell options from the carriers, is that they will also use your ISP connection. And I think they will provide coverage to other users in the area, so you get to pay AT&T for the service (to fill their holes) and then pay your ISP for the data other users are chewing through. Given some ISPs are considering/implementing bandwidth usage caps, this is less than ideal. In this case, AT&T should be paying you to install these cells.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    If you have good wifi coverage at home, I would seriously consider a VoIP app for the iPhone. Skype is probably the best one out there right now and their rates are good ($3 for unlimited calling to North American landlines and cells). Their Mac/PC clients also support video calling.



    Another option is iCall. I have stayed away from them as they have been more than a bit sketchy with their launch and their plans. Originally, they said all NA calls would be free, but have since switched that to PAYG, $10/month or an ad supported plan of some kind. The only feature that I really likes about iCall over Skype was the ability to switch an incoming call on your cell over to your VoIP connection. This would keep you from using minutes on your plan. I suppose Skype could add this sometime and I am surprised they launched without it. For now, I can just tell the person I will call them back, but having the ability to switch mid-call would be more convenient.



    One thing to remember with the FEMTOCell/PICOCell options from the carriers, is that they will also use your ISP connection. And I think they will provide coverage to other users in the area, so you get to pay AT&T for the service (to fill their holes) and then pay your ISP for the data other users are chewing through. Given some ISPs are considering/implementing bandwidth usage caps, this is less than ideal. In this case, AT&T should be paying you to install these cells.



    So would that mean that I would have to have two phone numbers -- one for my AT&T line (should I decide to keep it, and I probably would) and one for the Skype account? How would Skype work when I wasn't near a wi-fi spot? Excuse my naive questions, but I've never considered VoIP before.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lazy-i.com View Post


    So would that mean that I would have to have two phone numbers -- one for my AT&T line (should I decide to keep it, and I probably would) and one for the Skype account? How would Skype work when I wasn't near a wi-fi spot? Excuse my naive questions, but I've never considered VoIP before.



    You would need a skype number only if you need to receive calls on Skype. Assuming you have enough of a cell signal to at least get your phone to ring, you would only need to keep your cell number. Then call back on skype. Receiving calls could be a problem for you, if you tend to miss a lot of incoming calls because of a weak signal. In that case, you could register with Skype for a new phone number. Then yes, you would be maintaining 2 numbers. I guess you could then do call forwarding from one to another and try to manage it that way. But, if you do have enough of a signal at home to at least have your phone ring, then just having your cell number and a skype account is enough. (Google Voice will eventually make this type of number management much easier, but not yet)



    Yes, Skype only works on Wifi. Hopefully, when you are away from WiFi you have a useable cell signal and can make your calls on that. There are ways to get it to run on 3G, but I don't think it would be very usable with the latency on that network type.



    And I should clarify, you would certainly need to keep your cell number. Skype runs as an app on your phone (or PC/Mac) so you would need your iPhone activated. Using Skype or any other VoIP solution would be a means to supplement your weak cell signal, mainly for outbound calls. I am considering lowering my cell plan to a lower minutes used plan. While most of my calls are inbound, the number out outbound I am doing on Skype now might be enough to let me drop a few dollars from my monthly plan. Certainly I could almost entirely drop my LD portion if I was paying for that, but my plan gives me 100 free N.A. call already. Skype just helps make sure I don't ever go over that allotment.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post


    You would need a skype number only if you need to receive calls on Skype. Assuming you have enough of a cell signal to at least get your phone to ring, you would only need to keep your cell number. Then call back on skype. Receiving calls could be a problem for you, if you tend to miss a lot of incoming calls because of a weak signal. In that case, you could register with Skype for a new phone number. Then yes, you would be maintaining 2 numbers. I guess you could then do call forwarding from one to another and try to manage it that way. But, if you do have enough of a signal at home to at least have your phone ring, then just having your cell number and a skype account is enough. (Google Voice will eventually make this type of number management much easier, but not yet)



    Yes, Skype only works on Wifi. Hopefully, when you are away from WiFi you have a useable cell signal and can make your calls on that. There are ways to get it to run on 3G, but I don't think it would be very usable with the latency on that network type.



    And I should clarify, you would certainly need to keep your cell number. Skype runs as an app on your phone (or PC/Mac) so you would need your iPhone activated. Using Skype or any other VoIP solution would be a means to supplement your weak cell signal, mainly for outbound calls. I am considering lowering my cell plan to a lower minutes used plan. While most of my calls are inbound, the number out outbound I am doing on Skype now might be enough to let me drop a few dollars from my monthly plan. Certainly I could almost entirely drop my LD portion if I was paying for that, but my plan gives me 100 free N.A. call already. Skype just helps make sure I don't ever go over that allotment.



    So there's a problem: I don't have a signal strong enough (at all) to even get my phone to ring in the bunker-like building I call my home. I didn't know you could do call forwarding with an iPhone. If I had a Skype number, could I not go in and set up call forwarding from my AT&T account to that number? The [email protected] part would be turning the forwarding on and off when out in and out of my house...



    This would all be solved, of course, if this AT&T signal repeater/thing would ever get released...
  • Reply 7 of 8
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,742member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lazy-i.com View Post


    So there's a problem: I don't have a signal strong enough (at all) to even get my phone to ring in the bunker-like building I call my home. I didn't know you could do call forwarding with an iPhone. If I had a Skype number, could I not go in and set up call forwarding from my AT&T account to that number? The [email protected] part would be turning the forwarding on and off when out in and out of my house...



    This would all be solved, of course, if this AT&T signal repeater/thing would ever get released...



    The iPhone can do call forwarding, but I have never used it. Settings->General->Phone is where you set that up.



    With that, yes I guess you could forward calls to your Skype number and receive calls that way. Downsides:

    1) If you have no signal at all, will you be able to enable/disable call forwarding on your network? probably not.

    2) Cost of a skype number? not sure, but probably not cheap.

    3) That you would have to manage your call forwarding, as you say. I probably wouldn't remember to do it every time I leave/enter my house.

    4) Even if 1-3 were not a problem, to receive the cell calls that are forwarded to your Skype number, you would have to have skype running at all times at home. Even if you aren't on a call, this is a battery killer and would prevent you from using your other apps.



    A VoIP solution would be to supplement your weak signal. It is most useful for outbound calls. As I said, if you had even a weak signal, if you had enough to receive the call, you could call back or with iCall, transfer call directly to VoIP. Given that you have no signal at all, it might not be the best option.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    nainai Posts: 1member
    You don't need to get anything that is authorized from AT&T if you need your signal problem solved should get a cell phone signal booster made by [url]www.WilsonElectronics.com[url]. AT&T won't care as long as they still get your money. All of Wilson's signal boosting products are all FCC approved. They bring the signal from outside and broadcast it through out a given area. They don't sell to the public so you would need to go through one of the authorized dealers like www.UnwiredSignal.com they will help guide you to what you need to fix your signal issues. Hope this helps.
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