Update: I just read over at Brighthand this afternoon that "AT&T will soon offer to its subscribers an accessory that can significantly improve their cell phone's reception."
Brighthand refers to an article over at RCR Wireless News article which talks about a report from research and banking firm ThinkPanmure. The report states that AT&T Mobility plans to sell up to 7 million femtocells from ip.access Ltd., a picocell and femtocell infrastructure vendor based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. And AT&T reportedly plans to sell up to 7 million units over the next five years, pricing them as low as $100 to its customers.
According to Wikipedia:
A femtocelloriginally known as an Access Point Base Stationis a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments. It connects to the service providers network via broadband (such as DSL or cable); current designs typically support 2 to 5 mobile phones in a residential setting.
Sprint was the first carrier in the US to test femtocell technology, and now it looks like it's AT&T's turn to begin some tests. The RCR Wireless article reports that AT&T plans to conduct a femtocell trial later this year.
Dieter and Malatesta talk a little about the technology in today's WMEpert's Podcast Go give it a listen. You'll enjoy it! They talk about lots of interesting stuff, especially some juicy rumors in the WM world.
Does this sound familiar? I bet it does. Do you lose your cell signal in parts of your house or office? Boyhowdy, I sure do and it's very annoying. Sometimes I can be sitting right here at my desk and notice that my Centro's LED is blinking in Red to let me know that I've lost my signal. Then I can actually lean back in my chair towards the window behind me and the signal comes back. I can't stand those sporadic signals. I used to laugh when I'd see characters in tv shows or movies walking down city streets, holding their cell phones up in the air as high as their arms can reach in order to pick up a cell signal. Well, I'm not laughing now. I've actually experienced it. Well, maybe I'm still smirking a bit. I think my house just isn't in the best spot for great cell coverage. I know some people who can't even get a signal at ALL at their house. They have to walk to the top of their driveway or somewhere in their neighborhood in order to get a signal. Now that's pretty sorry coverage if you ask me, and I'd have to seriously think about switching carriers. I've said this before I'm sure, but my youngest brother used to be on Alltel and although he loved their plans, he said that he could never get a signal at his house. He said that he had so much trouble getting a signal there and so many other places where he lives that he could probably climb on the Alltel tower and still not get a signal.
Well, I just read an interesting article over at Treonauts about Sprint's AIRAVE device. The Sprint AIRAVE is a device that creates a CDMA signal for your mobile phone (like a miniature cell tower). The AIRAVE provides enhanced and reliable mobile phone coverage in your house or office even if your existing wireless coverage is poor. ***Raises Hand!***
The AIRAVE works by utilizing existing broadband data service to carry your mobile calls over the internet sort of like Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). Best of all, AIRAVE works with any Sprint CDMA handset. So Sprint Treo and Centro users, you have the option of improving your coverage. AIRAVE enhances coverage up to 5,000 square feet. Well, dang, too bad I'm not on Sprint because I'd be getting one of these.
From the Treonauts article:
More importantly however the Sprint AIRAVE is much more than just a cool little mobile signal booster. For starters, with the $15/month AIRAVE Unlimited Voice Plan ($30 for Family) you get the opportunity to make and receive calls on your existing Sprint CDMA phone number from the location where the device is installed without using a single one of your precious and expensive mobile inbound or outbound voice plan minutes..
Pictured below is the equipment that you'd need: broadband data service and an available Ethernet port. If you don't have an available Ethernet port on your DSL/Cable modem, you'll need to buy a router in order to connect the AIRAVE to your broadband data service.
I'd sure be happy if AT&T came out with one of these devices. I have seen an alternative in the TreoCentral Store recently. The Wilson Electronics In-Building SOHO Amplifier Set w/ Building Antenna, according to the store's description:
..has a better receiver than what is in your cell phone. Its advanced electronics are very sensitive and able to receive small signals which would go undetected by most cell phones. It also has a better transmitter with double the power of your cell phone. This allows your voice to be heard by distant cell sites, increasing coverage up to 50 miles or more.
The Wilson Electronics In-Building SOHO Amplifier Set w/ Building Antenna sells for $499.95, which would be pretty steep say for a small family with only one or two cell phones. It sure would be nice to have such great coverage in your home or office. My eye doctor was complaining about the coverage in his office building recently and was thinking about buying such a device.
You can read the full Treonauts article here and check out Sprint's website for more information on the Sprint AIRAVE. And you can read more about the Wilson Electronics In-Building SOHO Amplifier Set w/ Building Antenna here.