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In our offices we have a very strong cell phone signal above ground, however in our conference room in the basement, Verizon & Sprint have almost no coverage (while AT&T works, it is 1 or 2 bars vs full bars above ground).

We are looking into purchasing a cell phone booster, to bring in the signal from outside the building into the basement. The main receiver would be installed and powered in the center of a 4000 sq foot space, and the antenna would be located roughly 50 feet away to bring in the signal.

My question is - do these cell phone extenders, such as the zBoost brand, work well? We have everything from regular voice, blackberries and internet cards which would be using this signal. The 'coverage' area of this boosters does not seem to be that wide, I am guessing the internal booster uses a low power so that it does not interfere with the regular signal.

Are there any 'commercial' solutions to this problem and who would I contact to price them out? I am not sure who to even call about this one.

Thanks in advance.

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Sorry this got moved to SF, I opened it on SU as I thought it more appropriate, so I don't know where this one belongs. I just thought these (3) communities have the smartest people I know about regarding this sort of thing! –  Dave Drager Jan 12 '10 at 13:59
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migrated from superuser.com Jan 12 '10 at 12:10

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4 Answers

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Thinkgeek.com has a test review for the zBoost Cellphone Signal Extender

Say Adios to Bad Reception

while they had pretty good results, a coverage of 2500 sq ft may not suffice. have a look at the Wilson 801262 instead (unlike the zBoost it supports dual-band).

The Wilson 801262 is a high powered, dual band amplifier kit designed for home/office use.The amplifier has 62dB of gain, and when purchased as a full kit can cover up to 5,000 sq ft! As the amplifier is dual band, it works with all US networks (except Nextel), and covers both voice and 3G data.

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FYI - 5,000 square feet is about a 40 foot radius. –  Greg Askew Jan 12 '10 at 12:23
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I've never looked into this, but one place to start looking is EVDOinfo.com and their related store 3Gstore.com. I have no connection to them, other than as a satisfied customer of 3G modems and routers. They seem genuinely interested in cutting through the marking claims of some of the more disreputable places, and providing reality-based information.

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I haven't used zBoost, but it is a type of Picocell / Microcell.

I have used similar devices to extend GSM and 3G services to sub-basements.

You may be also interested in Femtocell technology. This allows you to start your own private GSM network (well, not full blown network) and have free calls to each other if you invest enough in the back end technology.

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That should work fine. Just make sure and get one that covers all the bands your devices use.

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