With all of the excitement of the iPhone and 3G there are issues with the technology that may require further investment by carriers in infrastructure to provide seamless coverage. 3G technology operates at higher radio frequencies than earliest 2G systems and does not penetrate inside buildings as effectively. Voice quality may suffer and data rates are often much reduced.
DeadCellZones.com has launched a coverage complaint map that is optimized on the iPhone to when you are away from your computer. http://iphone.deadcellzones.com Type in your zip code, city and address to search for other complaints in the area. Add your comments on the coverage problem whether you are indoors and the type of device you are using to help carriers better understand how to solve the problems in the neighborhood.
As the cellular market grows, traditional landlines are going the way of the dinosaurs. One reason is the tightening U.S. economy. As budgets tighten, consumers are looking for ways to cut their spending and are beginning to see their landlines as a quick way to cut costs. According to the Nielsen Company, more than 20 million U.S. telephone households (17 percent) rely solely on a mobile phone for their home telecommunications.
Despite the growing dependence on cellular phones, infrastructure issues still exist and cellular reception woes plague users across the country. Surprisingly, reception problems are no longer an issue reserved for sparsely-populated, wide-open areas of the country. Dropped calls and reception issues exist from the streets of New York to the deserts of Arizona.
As consumers look to cut the cord, they need to be able to trust that their cellular devices will keep them connected. This includes selecting the right tools that enable them to make or maintain a strong data connection.
There are several tools for consumers to consider, including cellular signal amplifiers and femtocells. Femtocell users, however, should consider the significant technology limitations of this technology including user subscription fees, single-carrier access, and the necessity for a high-speed Internet connection (See the contributed post on femtocells).
Cellular amplifiers (such as those manufactured by Wilson Electronics) do not require a subscriber fee or an Internet connection, they fully support multiple carriers on multi-frequency bands, and are available in both mobile and in-building configurations. These devices enable users to reduce dropped calls and improve performance for mobile phones and laptop data cards, allowing users to trust that their cellular device will always keep them within reach.
Contributed Blog – As dependence on cellular devices increase, what about signal integrity?
Contributor: Walt Brooks, Wilson Electronics
This is great for consumers who are unable to boost a weak signal with repeaters and have zero bars of coverage outside their home. However, one possible limitation as these new personalized cell phone towers roll out is the possibility for interference with your neighbor who might have good coverage already. Your neighbor might not be happy with you if you start interfering with his coverage network.
I think it is going to be critical for carriers to do their research on their own perceived coverage as well as their competitors in certain areas before they start offering these products to the masses. We have plenty of cell phone coverage complaints in our database for carriers to analyze when making decisions about regions to target. Lets just hope they all start paying attention to what their customer is saying.
Below is a map of USC in downtown Los Angeles that appears to be pretty good minus the one Verizon complaint.
We are actively in the process of building relationships with a number of independent wireless retailers throughout the U.S. and this will be the focus of our efforts at the CES show in January and in throughout 2009. Independent retailers have started to recognize the need for personalized wireless coverage maps for neighborhoods and offices as many users are 100% dependent on their cell phone exclusively. Often improving coverage is requires purchasing a repeater or femtocell in your home or office to improve the coverage and retailers are starting to play a bigger role in fixing coverage gaps for consumers.See Our Full Screen Map
We are scheduling meetings for the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas on April 1-3, 2009. We are not planning on having a booth but and will reserving meeting rooms as needed. Please contact us if you are interested in meeting with us about the following:
1) Map licensing
2) Cell tower management companies
3) Carrier partnerships
4) Femtocell marketing and advertising
Today's coverage maps provided by the big carriers provide approximate coverage if you are outdoors but no value if you are indoors. Depending on the construction material and windows in your house your coverage may vary greatly from that of your neighbor. Our coverage complaint maps are designed to be very detailed and users can submit coverage problems in their home or at their office. This data can be very valuable if you are in the cell phone tower management business like American Tower, Crown Castle and SBA Communications. Another similar business like Femtocell providers will eventually be demanding this information as well but this market is still in its infancy.
Our data is also of interest to real estate professionals. Before you buy or lease a house you might want to check for coverage complaints submitted in the neighborhood. Real estate web sites like Zillow and Trulia might soon be licensing our data to help provide more information to shoppers.
Among the factors changing the traditional workplace environment:
• Economic and environmental concerns are encouraging companies and business professionals to tele-work. In a recent report, Forrester Research states 21 percent of U.S. adults currently work from their home
• The booming opportunity for global business is here. Over 80 percent of business travel organizers polled at the 2008 Business Travel Show in Dubai believe business travel is set to increase exponentially over the next 12 months.
In these non-traditional work environments, communication tools are also changing. An example of this change is the replacement of landline telephones with cell phones. Research firm Harris Interactive found that one in five U.S. adults do not have landline phone service in their home, with most relying instead on cell phones for communication. In addition, for data communication, the mobility of data card-equipped laptops offers business professionals the flexibility that a cable-tethered computer does not.
Greater mobility is an asset for business professionals; however, current technology is frequently unreliable, and spotty cellular reception often interferes with smooth business communication, leaving professionals without access to e-mail, the Internet or the ability to place important calls. Dropped calls or limited access to a strong cellular signal can potentially ruin a sale, limit productivity and reduce efficiency.
With these challenges, it is important that business professionals adopt the right tools to help maintain seamless professional cellular signal communication in non-traditional work environments.
There are several tools for business professionals to consider, including cellular signal amplifiers and femtocells. Femtocell users, however, should assess the significant technology limitations including user subscription fees, single-carrier access, the necessity for a high-speed Internet connection and the fact that use of femtocells is restricted to homes, offices and other in-building environments. See our blog post on femtocells.
Cellular signal amplifiers (such as those manufactured by Wilson Electronics) do not require a subscriber fee or an Internet connection, fully support multiple carriers on multi-frequency bands, and are available in both mobile and in-building configurations.
As today’s work environments continue to evolve, business professionals require the ability to have flexibility and innovation to keep pace. This includes selecting the right tools enabling them to get the job done. Cellular signal amplifiers are one such tool that can help today’s mobile professionals stay connected and maintain the poise and professionalism the business world demands.
Contributed Blog – Enabling business communication
Contributor: Walt Brooks, Wilson Electronics
October 2008 - Kineto Wireless $15.5M, which includes substantial amounts from NEC and Motorola.
September 2008 - Percello raised $12M to fund development of their femtocell chipset, bringing to $18M the total investment raised.
August 2008 - RadioFrame raised $26M to expand their picocell and femtocell range, bringing investment up to $100M since 2001.
May 2008 - Qualcomm and other venture capitalists invested an undisclosed amount in ip.access
January 2008 - Airwalk received $10M
Updated list from 3G in Home Blog
- Airvana: IPO
- AirWalk: $10 m
- ip.access: strategic investment from ADC, Cisco, Qualcomm
- Kineto: $15.5 million round including Motorola & strategic investment from NEC
- Percello: $12 million
- picoChip: strategic investment from Samsung
- RadioFrame: $28 million
- Tatara: $6.5 million
- Vanu: $32 million
- Ubiquisys: $25 million round including VC money and Google as a strategic investor; further strategic investment from T-Ventures.
This week there's been a bit of a brouhaha over whether or not Verizon Wireless gave Arizona senator and presidential candidate John McCain special treatment by building a cell tower near his Arizona home. The Washington Post says it did, Verizon Wireless says it didn't. The Washington Post suggested in a story that Cindy McCain, Sen. McCain's wife, requested that Verizon Wireless build a cell tower near their home in Arizona to improve coverage. Since there is now a tower there (even if temporary), on the surface it looks like Verizon responded to McCain's request. But not so fast.
Verizon Wireless, responding to the story, issued the following statement:
The Washington Post story regarding Verizon providing a cell tower to the McCain Ranch is wrong. Verizon received a request from Mrs. McCain, but declined. Subsequent to that, the Secret Service made a legitimate request for a temporary tower for its work and Verizon complied, as is required by our contract with the agency. The Secret Service request, made on May 28, specifically said it needed the service urgently and requested that Verizon "explore every possible means of providing an alternative cellular or data communications source in the referenced area and provide any short-term implementation of any type as a solution in the interim."http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/10/verizon_wireles_20.html
- Chasing your network provider to install extra cell towers near your home, improving signal strength throughout
- Switching network providers to one with better coverage in your area (always worth checking before taking out a new contract)
- Installing a repeater to boost the signal between your cellphone and the cell tower
- Using an operator's dual-mode WiFi/cellphone UMA service, such as T-Mobile's hotspot@home
- Using a dual-mode WiFi/cellphone, but making calls using a separate internet VoIP program such as Fring or Truphone
- Using a femtocell, such as Sprint's Airave
Broad Tradeoffs between signal repeaters and femtocells
- Repeaters are a one-off purchase and can be self-installed.
- WiFi based solutions may not require any installation (if you already have WiFi at home), but require a WiFi or UMA capable cellphone.
- Femtocells are self-installed by connecting to your broadband at home - they become part of the wireless operators network and attract a monthly fee.
Signal Boosters are great for poor voice coverage in sparsely populated areasFans of signal boosters argue that for a one-off fee, the problem of poor coverage is solved. It benefits all users - there's no additional charge or fees for boosting calls, so owners are happy for anyone to use them. In some cases, they can also boost signals for more than one network (some types of booster are dual band and can handle frequencies from different operators).
WiFi needs a dual-mode cellular/WiFi handsetWiFi/UMA operators highlight that there is usually nothing to be done to install their system in your home - many homes already have WiFi. The issue is buying and configuring the cellphone, and sometimes configuring any security protection on your WiFi network to allow access. There is a small, but growing, range of handsets available to be used in this way. Some models have had VoIP withdrawn recently, with manufacturers citing lack of demand for this feature. Indeed, most people are happy enough to use the standard phone in the normal way and just expect it to work.
Femtocells solve poor coverage but bring increased capacity and data performance tooFemtocell advocates would claim that this is what their solutions offer. Femtocells are fully functional cell-towers, but miniaturised into a unit of similar size to a WiFi access point. They connect to the cellular operator's network using your broadband internet link (cable or DSL). They are compatible with existing phones, although you can restrict whether your femtocell is available for anyone to use for calls, or just accessible from nominated cellphones. When entering your home, the cellphone switches to using your femtocell and calls are sent and received in the normal way - it just uses your own broadband rather than the external celltower. The downside is that your cellular network operator will typically want a monthly fee for you to continue using it, although this can be wrapped up in your overall bill.
TradeoffsIn sparsely populated areas, repeaters may well be a good and appropriate solution. I liken them to having a megaphone installed on your rooftop, allowing you to use your normal voice to project further.
But the radio planning teams within network operators find that these devices can cause untold problems in some situations. Imagine a densely populated area where many poeple were shouting through a megaphone - it would affect those who weren't using one. As with any shared resource, those who shout loudest get served first, whilst the ordinary guy gets poorer service. This can make it diffiicult for the radio planning teams to decide the best place to install new cell towers, and how to tune the network by varying power levels and frequency allocations etc.
Another reason to use femtocells is to offset the growing usage of mobile broadband data services. Each femtocell has the capacity today to handle 10 Mbit/s or more, and future versions will have the capability of 100 Mbit/s or more. This is replicated throughout every femtocell installation in the country - if millions of femtocells are deployed, then the total capacity is enormous. Outdoor cellsites have a similar capacity - today's 3G cellsites may have 3 or 6 sectors and therefore somewhere in the region of up to 50Mbit/s maximum; 4G cellsites may be ten times that. But each cellsite is serving something like 1000 subscribers (this includes those with phones switched off, not on a call etc), so the actual capacity per user is much reduced. Femtocells dramatically increase the data carrying capacity of the network, and by offloading traffic that would otherwise be carried on the outdoor network, free up capacity and improve quality for those who need to use the service away from home.
Finally, for data services, the short distance between the laptop and the femtocell will dramatically improve the radio connection and therefore quality and throughput it can offer. By using a femtocell, laptop and mobile data users will get a much better, faster experience which will use less battery power.
Summary: Boosters vs FemtocellsTo summarise, in some situations signal boosters are good to solve poor coverage issues in remote areas for voice service only. In urban environments or where 3G data services are required, femtocells or WiFi solutions are needed to achieve best results.
For more information about Femtocells including technical and commercial business case aspects, visit ThinkFemtocell.com
Buy Femtocell Primer - the only femtocell book published today
• Femtocells are effective only in the home or building where they are installed, and they lock users into a monthly broadband subscription fee. They are not able to boost cellular coverage in a mobile environment.
• Signal improvement is generally limited to a set number of phones previously programmed into the femtocell during set-up.
• Femtocells, like the Airave and @home, are carrier specific and won’t boost signals for multiple individuals with differing carrier subscriptions.
• Perhaps most notably, femtocells require a high-speed Internet connection, something currently unavailable in many areas of the U.S.
Unlike femtocells, cellular amplifiers are not tied to a broadband connection. This eliminates additional monthly fees and provides help to those without access to broadband service. Amplifiers from Wilson Electronics boost all incoming and outgoing cellular signals within their frequency range, greatly reducing dead zones and dropped calls. It is important to note that Wilson cellular signal amplifiers in particular are type-accepted by the FCC and are available in a wide variety of wireless and direct-connection models.
The benefits of an enhanced cellular signal amplifier have encouraged many consumers to look into any and all technology that promises extended and enhanced signal reach. When evaluating technology, especially femotcells, pay attention to the details and limitations it may have. If looking for a mobile, accessible cell signal booster, you might want to consider a cellular signal amplifier instead.
Contributor - Walt Brooks, Wilson Electronics
Disappointment comes with the hype that 3G was a new, better cellular network. Consumers thought they were getting a better product, with better, faster coverage, but current 3G network coverage is spotty at best.
3G network woes are unfortunate, but consumers can take advantage of 3G iPhone features even with less-than-perfect network coverage. Many consumers don't know that they can make the most of a 3G phone and network by boosting the cellular signal with a cell signal amplifier. Amplifiers are a great solution to making the most of a new gadget by providing increased coverage than what is typical.
Cellular amplifiers are available for the home, car and office. These amplifiers boost 3G and other cellular signals and decrease the possibility of dropped calls. With the increase of 3G data card use for mobile computing, these amplifiers also come in handy for data communications.
The 3G network dilemma doesn’t mean that consumers shouldn’t avail themselves of cool gadgets like the iPhone. They can, however, increase their enjoyment by taking advantage of improved cellular reception from other cool gadgets like amplifiers that allow them to use these cell phones without issue.
Contributor: Walt Brooks, Wilson Electronics
Summer is drawing to a close, and many Americans are taking their final vacation of the season. It is evident that summer travel plans have shifted this year because of the current economy. Rather than hopping on a plane or traveling across country, people have been altering their vacation plans by staying closer to home and taking road trips, which can be shorter and are traditionally more budget-friendly.
Having access to a cell phone and being able to stay connected while on vacation has become a key component found in today’s American vacations as well – as long as travelers can get and maintain a cellular signal. With a cellular connection, families can log onto travel Web sites to check the latest prices for hotels and activities, use Google Maps to get directions to that bed and breakfast tucked away in the mountains, stay connected to work or friends through calling, text messaging or e-mail, send vacation pictures or video directly to others, play both connected and traditional mobile games, or download the latest music to pass the time.
However, the problem of poor cellular signal reception is even more evident while traveling. With spotty cell reception, travelers lose access to online tools, data and calls. If a cell phone has poor reception that makes for spotty calls and data access, a summer vacation can easily turn into a hassle, leaving families frustrated and alone. Adding a cellular signal amplifier to a car, RV or boat can help traveling families ensure that they have a constant cellular signal for routine communication, or in case of emergency. With an amplifier, consumers can have the freedom to vacation in remote areas, while making sure they stay connected for fun, convenience and safety.
Story provide by Walt Brooks from Wilson Electronics http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/
As a huge Howard Stern fan if you miss a few seconds you might miss the entire punch line of a joke and its annoying. Unlike cell phone signals where the signal drops and you call is gone. Satellite radio just cuts in and out when you start entering an area where there is a poor view of the sky or you are on the edge of the terrestrial repeater network. I live in one of the largest most heavily populated cities in the U.S. (Los Angeles) and can't believe that I could be on the edge of a repeater network with such a large concentration of customers. After upgrading my S50 to the latest software my signal improved and I didn't need to start another web site similar to DeadCellZones.com to allow other frustrated Sirius and XM radio to complain about poor signals. Apparently a lot of other customers had a similar problem due to all of the comments below.
This coverage map does not reflect the terrestrial repeater coverage - the signal around most major metropolitan regions in the
Some people have satellite radio reception trouble if they live on the edge of a repeater signal, where both the terrestrial and satellite signals are equally strong for much of the day. If this is the case, it would likely be a good idea to shield either the side or top of the antenna with something metal to allow it easily select one signal or the other. This is likely an issue that will be resolved with newer generation radios.
This information below was found at peopleswireless.biz.
82% of the World is a Cellular Dead Zone
Satellite Coverage Maps for Cell Phones
If you are on a cell phone call and the call gets dropped, the proper etiquette is that that person that initiated the call in the first place calls the other one back. No dual dials. No dual voice mails. No delays to get the call going again. Its really this simple.
- if you initiated the call and it drops you call the other person back.
- if you received the call and it drops you just wait for the call back.
You could look at the maps of providers' service areas. But these are often optimistic. So, let's take this one to the people. On Dead Cell Zones, anyone can report poor service areas. The reports are plotted on a map, so you can view those in your area. Also, the complaints are color coded. That means you can see which network has the fewest complaints in your area. This will take some of the stress out of choosing a cellular provider. Just do the community a favor. Report dead spots you encounter.
A femtocell—originally known as an Access Point Base Station—is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments. It connects to the service provider’s network via broadband (such as DSL or cable); current designs typically support 2 to 5 mobile phones in a residential setting. A femtocell allows service providers to extend service coverage indoors, especially where access would otherwise be limited or unavailable. A number of non-U.S. operators have announced intention to have field trials in 2008, including O2, Softbank, TeliaSonera and Vodafone. Most analysts agree that 2008 will primarily be field trials and soft launch, while commercial launch will be commence in 2009. When will the U.S. carriers get their act together and catch up to the rest of the world?
We apparently don't have any Cambria, CA readers of our web site DeadCellZones.com because we do not have any complaints posted on our site yet. Carriers look at our web site everyday and would recommend to any other small town around the U.S. to post a complaint on our map so their complaint can get heard. Click here to see the LA Times Article.
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