I live in an area that is JUST outside of the “good” AT&T service. See this screenshot to see exactly where I am…
The light orange represents “moderate” according to their coverage map, but when I am in my home it is far from “moderate.” I am lucky if I ever go to 2 bars. It makes me never want to use my cell phone when I am at home, even though I have unlimited minutes!
Here is a screenshot of my phone before adding the MicroCell:
As you can clearly see, there are only 2 bars of service. I called AT&T because I was not happy that I was always dropping calls in the house etc, and much to my surprise, there was a device that would, in the words of the sales person, bring a mini cell tower into my home as long as I had an internet connection. (see specs for requirements)
I met all the criteria, and a quick search showed it was available in my area, so I went and got one…here is what it looks like. It looks really cool!!
The price tag on this thing is a tad steep at $200. I personally feel that if you have poor service in your home, these should be provided, because Verizon has great service in my area, so they should do what they can to keep me from switching…but no chance. I had to pay the $200…
The installation process is very simple. All you have to do is go to the activation page that is provided on the machine and enter the serial number. Once you do that, simply plug it in and wait. It says set up can take up to 90 minutes, so don’t do it if you are in a hurry. It ended up only taking about 15 minutes for mine to update.
It uses GPS to locate the router, and says it works best by a window, however mine is sitting next to my desk on the floor, because I wanted to test to make sure it worked before I gave it a home, and it works great…
I have also heard Verizon offers a similar device for their customers who may need to expand their service, but I have neither seen nor tried it.
Supports voice and 3G data
3G and 4G wireless phones
Up to 4 phones can be used simultaneously
Broadband connection such as AT&T U-Verse®, DSL, or cable required. Not compatible with satellite broadband.
Recommended Internet Speed: Minimum speed is 1.5 Mbps download and 256 Kbps upload. Recommend 3.0 Mbps download and 384 Kbps upload for heavy data users. Check your internet speed.
100-120 VAC, 15 W; 12 VDC, 1.25 A Output
Power, Ethernet, GPS, Computer, 3G
DIMENSIONS (H x D x W)
8.5 in. x 6.3 in. x 1.5 in. (at top), 4 in. (at legs)
1 lb 2 ounces (AC power adapter not included)
AMBIENT TEMPERATURE RANGE
Install device in a sheltered location with a temperature range of 0 degrees to 38 degrees C (32 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit).
Installing near a window is strongly recommended to ensure access to Global Positioning System (GPS). A GPS link is needed to verify the device location during initial startup.
3G MicroCell unit may be moved if new location is within an AT&T authorized service area and properly registered online.
Calls transfer out, but do not transfer in. Calls transfer from the AT&T 3G MicroCell to the strongest available AT&T tower signal. Calls connected on the cell tower do not transfer to the 3G MicroCell.
FIREWALL SPECIFICATIONS SYSTEM ADMINISTRATORS (Business Customers):
Installing the 3G MicroCell behind a firewall, or behind a router with firewall capabilities, requires the following ports be opened to prevent the firewall from blocking communication with the network. This type of installation is typically found in corporate environments.
123/UDP: NTP timing (NTP traffic)
443/TCP: Https over TLS/SSL for provisioning and management traffic
4500/UDP: IPSec NAT Traversal (for all signaling, data, voice traffic)
500/UDP: IPSec Phase 1 prior to NAT detection (after NAT detection, 4500/UDP is used)
4500/UDP: After NAT detection, 4500/UDP is used