Thursday, January 29, 2009

Verizon Offers Pint-Sized Personal Cell Tower

Article: "Verizon Offers Pint-Sized Cell Tower" by Chris Maxcer 1/27/09 [Tech News World]

The article discusses how many Verizon Wireless cell phone customers will now be able to make calls through an at home receiver. When users try and make a call through their cell phones the receiver, or router, will pick up the call and allow the call to be made by transferring it through the user’s broadband network instead of the local cell phone tower. This small router, known as the Wireless Network Extender, will act as private cell phone tower in the homes of people who do not get particularly good cell phone reception in their homes. The device is very space efficient and is about the size of a typical wireless network router used for the internet. This is very important for those people who may live in areas where their homes are isolated or in valleys where the cell towers cannot provide good cell phone reception. The router can transfer up to three calls at a time and this new service will not require any change in service plans since user's old plans will still remain in effect. The only additional cost is the one time cost of the router. If users of the wireless network extender are worried about outsiders using their network they can set online preferences which allow the router to only receive certain calling numbers which the user can program. This technology may prove to be very beneficial to Verizon Wireless because this would transfer more of the number of calls through broadband internet and less through Verizon’s own cell phone towers. This would allow the network to be less cluttered and have a more powerful signal to other local cell phone callers. For the users this would eliminate the hassle of trying to find a location in their home where they can use their cell phone and find a signal. Since the network extender uses a broadband network, calls may have weaker reception if large files are being downloaded simultaneously from the internet as the call. According to the Verizon Wireless website the router is a one time cost of $250. Customers will have to decide if this cost is worth the convenience of being able to make calls all the time from their cell phones at home with better reception.

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