Verizon offers in home personal cell tower

Verizon has introduced a new in home personal cell phone tower that connects to your broadband connection so users can get a full signal within a 5000 square foot area. The unit connects to a broadband connection with a 300 kbps minimum connection to communicate with the closest cell tower if out of reach in either a dead zone or blacked out area.

The unit acts as a cellular base station, also referred to as "femtocell". The Network Extender is a small unit at 7.8" x 2.1" x 5.8" and weighs roughly 1lb – about the same size as a wireless router. The unit doesn't require any setup to your existing Verizon Wireless phone, or any additional plans, but requires a broadband connection and needs to be placed near a window to collect a GPS signal.

The Network Extender offers 4 channels, 3 of which can be used for active calls, for up to 50 prioritized phone numbers, and 1 channel left open for 911 emergency services. The ability to block neighbours from using the unit is an added in safeguard for the device to prevent unauthorized access within the range.

Customers could be replacing their home phones with the improved range around their home, where previously, only landlines could each. The unit is great for places with basements, hilly areas, or any other locations where cell towers have troubles reaching. The Verizon Wireless Network Extender prices for $249.99.

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The extender does NOT connect you to the closest tower. It connects you via gateway to their network 'backbone' which handles trunking/routing your call.
Cell towers have only been proven to cause high phone bills, bird's nests and paranoia. Cancer studies related to non-ionizing radiation have as of yet been inconclusive.
The GPS signal is used for time synchronizing purposes related to framing data packets between the network and your phone. EVERY cell site has time codes received via either GPS or across the network. Given the latency of broadband connections and the possibility of lost packets on a broadband connection versus the protocols used on proprietary / leased data lines such as DS/E/T type lines, the GPS signal is the only reliable way for the femto-cell to get a consistant timebase. At best, with acquisition of at least 4 satellites, the GPS signal could only tell authorites where the femto cell is +/- 20 feet, and not within the 5000 square feet around the cell the phone connected to it is located.

It hits me... the tower operates over the internet, right?
Which means you can set your tower up in e.g. London and dial back to US just using the domestic rate, and you won't have to switch your phone if it just support the US USM mode!
Though the GPS in the tower worries me a bit

well, probably not. The network will probably be able to detect that you are using an IP address outside the USA (However setting up a VPN could solve this). The extender probably needs a locked GPS signal before it functions to make sure that it is in the USA (Otherwise why would they include it?). In any case, those extenders would be illegial in other countries as Verizon probably only has a licence for the USA. Just use a normal VOIP service (As you'd have internet access anyways)

How disappointing. I was looking forward to this to resolve my weak signal in the basement, but it still uses my minutes? No thanks. I was thinking of calling and complaining to see if I can get one for free.

So how does this help me? I live in a backwoods area. My cell phone doesnt work within 2 miles of my home (works fine where I work). I live in a county with a CO-OP phone company. Luckily I can get DSL (@ $40 / month). This "extender" would be great because I could ditch my home phone.... wrong. I cant get DSL without my home phone. What about a cable company? think back to that CO-OP, they provide the only cable TV service in the county and they dont do cable internet....

Extender is a great idea but how many people will it really benefit? if you so far off the beaten path that you cant get cell service these days then your probably not "lucky" enough to have high speed internet. And dont even think about using that extender on Satellite internet, Wild Blue's 7GB per rolling 30 days or Hughes Net's 200MB a day would be eaten alive with that traffic.

Why in the hell would I buy this for $250, to let Verizon feel that they could FINALLY get a signal near my house? I'm not even out in the boonies either!
I would just rather tell Verizon to kiss my ass, get new service with AT&T, and not even pay that much for my monthly service that they want to CHARGE their customers for with this antenna!

Oh wait, I did that already...

This is stupid and a waste... the only time I struggle with getting a signal to make a call or send a text message is when I'm in the mountains and I'm no where near a area that has broadband let alone a place to plug in a laptop to power to make this work. I swear these people that made this need to think a little cause in most urban places you already have a strong enough signal even under ground.

Sprint has had this for awhile for $100 but they charge a $5 monthly fee. For $10/month you get unlimited minutes from within your home.

The Fine Print
While some customers may see the Network Extender as an opportunity to ditch their landline phone service altogether, it's not without some possible gotchas: Customers, their Family SharePlan members and other Verizon Wireless customers can use their current phones and calling plans to place calls using the Network Extender, but they will be charged minutes and data usage according to their current Verizon Wireless Plans. So households with chatty Cathys who tend to rack up minutes on a landline might run into some interesting bills by switching to Network Extender without adjusting their plans or talking habits.

Slick86 said,
The Fine Print
<< snip >>

Oh sorry, i should of been more clear with my post. It will use your REGULAR minutes, but doesn't use up any extra. I was going by SirEvan's post by saying verizon charges people twice.

All the tower does is extend the reach of your signal, that is all. Has nothing to do with your minutes or whatever.

I should edit my post to "No no, it doesn't use any MORE minutes..."

lylesback2 said,

Oh sorry, i should of been more clear with my post. It will use your REGULAR minutes, but doesn't use up any extra. I was going by SirEvan's post by saying verizon charges people twice.

All the tower does is extend the reach of your signal, that is all. Has nothing to do with your minutes or whatever.

I should edit my post to "No no, it doesn't use any MORE minutes..."

I meant charging you twice by the fact that you have to pay for your cell phone plan, then you have to pay for the network extender....basically this is verizon double dipping, and having to not pay out of their own pocket to expand their service area.....why should they pay to install a commercial cell-tower, when they could sell you one and have you install it for them? So much for "Most reliable network"....I've always hated verizon, ATT has been so much better of a cell company.. Sounds like Verizon is relying on customers to make it more far-reaching.... no thanks... ATT works much better than everyone I know who has Verizon.

wtf....sounds like verizon charging people twice...once for service, then again for them to install a base station that they won't have to pay to install, so they can extend their network.....parasitic much?