May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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Quote of the Day - Correct me if I'm wrong - the gizmo is connected to the flingflang connected to the watzis, watzis connected to the doo-dad connected to the ding-dong. - Patrick B. Oliphant
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New Gizmo Gadget Review: Verizon's Network Extender

Like many others who have cell phone service, MIPTC's cell phone does not work inside my house.  There are conspiracy theorists who posit the cell phone companies plan it that way so they can get us to buy land line services, too, but I have a different theory:  NIMBY - not in my backyard.

We all want cell phone service in our homes and small businesses, but we're not willing to look at the cell phone tower that gets us that coverage.  Indeed, here in Orange County (or "The OC" to just about everyone else who doesn't live here and thinks that we all have plastic surgery and all the women here look and act like The Real Housewives of Orange County).  One aspect of that television show is true:  it is a resort area and looks like one, so inevitably there are few cell phone towers. 

Like Coto de Caza, the cause celebre of The OC, another ritzy area known as Newport Coast is notorious for poor cell phone service, as are many other areas around the county, including my home, which is not in any ritzy area.  But no longer. 

Verizon just came out with its Network Extender, which essentially is a cell phone tower in your home or small business in a small black box no bigger than a netbook computer with a small, three-inch high GPS antenna attached to it.  It plugs into your house's broadband Internet connection and viola, you have cell phone service where you didn't have it before.

It has an operating area just under a 40 foot circumference, and you must come within 15 feet of it to first connect to it.  Plus, you can specify which cell phones will have access to your router, so your neighbors won't be able to bog down your in-house network.  Personal accounts can make those settings online, business accounts have to call in to specify the cell phones that have access.  I set mine to a closed network, with only two cell phones allowed to attach to it, although you can specify up to 50.  There is one channel reserved for emergency 911 calls that any cell phone from any carrier can access.

It's a slightly expensive ($250) nifty little device that solved a nagging problem for me, one that I highly recommend.  You can ask for and receive a discount from the list price.  Sprint has a similar device, but unlike Verizon, charges a monthly fee to use that company's extender.  Verizon's device is a one-time cost and doesn't add to your monthly bill, with the exception that you'll probably make and receive more calls from your home.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, March 01, 2009 at 13:10 Comments (0)


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