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Verizon Taps Internet To Extend Wireless Coverage

Verizon Wireless customers now have an option to improve cellular signals where they are weak. They can add a Verizon Wireless Network Extender to improve reception through the Internet.

Manufactured by Samsung, Verizon's extender is designed to bridge structural barriers to wireless coverage within a home, as well as extend the range of cell phones in remote, mountainous areas, said Jack Plating, COO of Verizon Wireless.

"Current and prospective customers have told us they want this, and we are responding to that demand," Plating said. "For those who have wanted to sign up for Verizon Wireless service but hesitated because of reception problems unique to their home location, this is the answer."

Install Requirements

The extender is a femtocell base station that connects to the Ethernet port of a broadband router. About the size of a typical wireless access point, it places mobile calls over the Internet in much the same way that PC users use VoIP for phone calls.

The device requires a minimum broadband speed of 300 Kbps to enable three Verizon handsets to simultaneously communicate with the carrier's network over the Internet. It should be installed near a window, preferably at an elevated location, and at least two feet from a wireless router.

Sporting a built-in GPS antenna, Verizon's extender accesses signals from global-positioning satellites to maintain exact network timing updates and provide E911 services with an accurate location fix when required. The device typically takes about three to five minutes to complete its start-up sequence and detect the available communications channels. However, Verizon cautions that the base station can take as long as one hour to acquire a GPS signal during the initial installation.

The extender is ready to roll once all four lights on its panel turn blue. If the GPS LED is still red after one hour, the device's GPS antenna will need to be relocated so it can receive a stronger signal.

A Mini-Cell Site

After installation, the base station can extend handset coverage within a given area by up to 5,000 square feet. "Network extender makes Verizon Wireless' reliable network even more reliable, filling in nooks and crannies for customers who see the need," Plating said. "It's like getting a million-dollar cell site in your home."

When set in the open-access mode, the extender will automatically provide connections to the first three Verizon phones that initiate or receive a call within range of the base station. To prevent unauthorized callers from accessing the device and subtracting from the available bandwidth, buyers can go online to restrict base-station access to a maximum of 50 Verizon cell-phone numbers.

Available now, Verizon's Wireless Network Extender is priced at $249.99. No additional monthly charges are incurred for calls over the device.

Source: Yahoo Tech

Added: 01/28/2009