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kchirillo's profile

Contributor

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1 Message

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 1:28 AM

Does AT&T have a home cellphone signal booster?

Does AT&T have a booster for the house that would increase the cellphone signal ?

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ACE - Expert

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13.1K Messages

9 years ago

Yes, it is called a microcell and uses the internet to boost the signal. AT&T is planning on adding wifi calling, so you can use a wifi signal to make calls where there is no signal but no one knows exactly when that will happen.

Mentor

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56 Messages

9 years ago

Beware, the microcell is for voice only.  I've had one for 3+ years, and they still can't tell me why I cannot send or receive MMS from in or around my home.  Texting is fine, but MMS is does not work here for me. 

Professor

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3.9K Messages

9 years ago

It is basically the same thing, but there is a device called a Femto-cell.

It takes the att cell signals and sends them over your internet.

It is not wi-fi, and is not made (or supported( by att. OH, and is also very pricy. (have heard 200 bucks and more)

Another quirk of it is,   ANY cell phone in range that uses the att signal frequancy can use it, just like it is any cell tower. (essentially it IS a mini cell tower..)

 

There are also other models set up to work with other carrier frequancies, but they do not work nore than one set. (A spring won't work ATT, and i've forgotten what the other carriers are, embaresed to say... they change so much.)

 

OH! one other little quirks, for some reason one of these cells do not work well over satalitte internet connections.. no idea why..  lag timing maybe?

 

About all I know about them.  good luck.

Professor

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2.2K Messages

9 years ago

I am an ACE that works the AT&T Microcell forum and after reading these posts, I I thought I'd clear up some things that are posted here.

 

Femtocells are small devices that are connected to the internet and can communicate with nearby cellphones (within 40 feet) to carry calls over the internet instead of over distant cell towers that don't provide adequate coverage for a given house.

 

AT&T (Microcell), Verizon (Range Extender) and Sprint (AirRave) are the femtocells that are being provided at this time and can be used only with the respective carrier's cellphones.  T-Mobile is using WiFi Calling instead of a femtocell and AT&T will follow suit sometime later this year as a firm release date has yet to be determined.

 

The Microcell can be used for voice, SMS, MMS and data but since it connects at 3G speeds, data usage is best left for WiFi.  I'm guessing that chuckgraham1949 has a Samsung phone (galaxy perhaps) as they are well known to have Android OS/Microcell conflicts concerning SMS.

 

Only AT&T phones can connect with a Microcell and they have to be authorized by the owner of the Microcell in order to use it, so the statement that any cellphone in range can use it is incorrect.

 

The Microcell is manufactured for AT&T by Cisco but AT&T handles the tech support for consumers.  Microcell prices run around $200.  I've seen some sold for less than that or given away by AT&T.  I got my Microcell for free from AT&T about 3 years ago after complaining about poor cell coverage in my area.  AT&T has moved away from giving them away but depending on how nicely you approach them, one might still be able to do so.  Used Microcells are available on eBay but I caution people not to buy them unless the seller guarantees that the Microcell is unauthorized and working.

 

While there have been instances where satellite and wireless internet customers have been able to use Microcells, AT&T does not recommend or support the use of Microcells in these cases.  The high latencies that are associated with wireless ISPs are deal-breakers for VOIP communication.  The Microcell requires a hard-wired connection to the internet in order to work properly.

 

If anyone has any further questions about the Microcell, please stop by the Microcell forum and Otto Pylot and I will be happy to help if we can.

Professor

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3.9K Messages

9 years ago

I was not refering to micro cells per sae, but the femto cells I was mainly talking about are made by third party companies, and they DO accept any incomming signal, just like a cell tower.

I agree, microcells ARE configured to reject any signals other than authorized ones.

Femto cells have been around a bit longer than mirco cells have.

Used to be able to buy them from Radio shack, just had to pick the carrier signals you wanted for that particular unit.

Not sure if they were basically femto cells or not, but I can even remember cell phone repeaters. Those puppies had some range to them. They did not actually connect to internet or anything, they just boosted and repeated cell phone radio signals. I think those pretty much died when cell signals switched from analoge to digital signals.

Any ways, thanks for the inside info. Always great to hear from folks who actually know what they are talking about.

Re-reading this it just hit me:   We have a forum for Micro/Femto cells?

Gotta find out the link for that one.

 

Professor

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2.2K Messages

9 years ago

Here is the link to the AT&T Microcell forum:  https://forums.att.com/t5/3G-MicroCell/bd-p/3gmicrocell

 

Just to keep the record straight, the Microcell is a femtocell, as is Verizon's Range Extender and Sprint's Airwave.  What you are describing is a cellphone repeater/signal booster, not a femtocell.  Femtocells require a connection to the internet, carrier-specific protocols and more importantly, authorization to use the carrier's servers to conduct a call.

 

There are many cellphone signal boosters out there.  Cel-Fi makes a great unit albeit expensive.  weBoost (used to be Wilson Electronics) makes a good line of them too.

 

If you want to know more about the Microcell, I encourage you to read Otto Pylot's Technical Guide for the Microcell.  I helped with parts of it.  See the link in my signature.

 

Mentor

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56 Messages

9 years ago

Avedis53

 
First off, without the Microcell, I have only one bar of signal inside my home, and can get two outside nearby.  I know it's now good, but.....it is what it is.  I sure do have a Samsung Galaxy S6 as you guessed, but also an Iphone 5S.  Both act exactly the same, signal strength with or without the Microcell, dropped calles without, hit and miss SMS, and NO MMS with each  I've been aware of the Samsung v Microcell issue also, and have heard through the grapevine of a fix within the next 35-40 years.
 
I have a question for you. 
 
You state the Microcell "can be used for voice, SMS, MMS and data": 
As per AT&T Tier 2 Tech Support, MMS does indeed not go over the Microcell, nor does it go over wifi.  If there is a way to get MMS over the Microcell, please share how.  Also, they prefer me, in my case, to keep wifi turned off before I try MMS.  I have to say, both phones work as they should when in a location with a good signal from a tower.
 
After a 3 1/2 year struggle, I've pretty much given up MMS at or near my home.  UGH.....
 
Anyway, off to the Technical Guide for the Microcell.  Will see what's there and post back if anything "new" that I have not seen before.  Although not read yet, THANKS for posting it for all to see.
 
Chuck
 
 
 
 
 
 

Professor

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2.2K Messages

9 years ago

I'm not a Android expert so I can't speak about that OS with much detail but I do know a little more about the iPhone iOS.

 

Whoever you talked to at tech support doesn't know their whatever from a whosit.

 

You can send MMS over an iPhone to another iPhone via the Mcell without iMessage turned on or without WiFi turned on.  I just turned off iMessage and WiFi on my iPhone 6 and my wife's iPhone 6.  While connected to the Mcell, I sent a picture to my wife's iPhone via MMS via my cellular connection only.  Easy peasy.

 

For the iPhone, under "Settings", go to "Messages" and make sure iMessage is turned on and that "Send as SMS" is on.  Also under "Settings", go to "Cellular" and make sure "Cellular Data" is turned on.

 

Do you have the latest iOS on your iPhone?  What version of the Android OS is on your Galaxy?

 

It use to be that you couldn't send/receive MMS on Android without a third-party MMS app but my understanding now is that it is possible.

 

For the Android phone, you can try navigating to:  Menu>Messages>Settings>Multimedia Messages>Receiving>Foreign Network and click on Auto Download = "OK".  Try MMS and see if it works now.

 

I strongly recommend that you start a thread on the Microcell forum about this.  That's where this discussion belongs and you can get more input there.

Contributor

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1 Message

8 years ago

Hi! I'm using a signal booster, and I don't have any trouble with MMS or SMS, or anything actually.

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