You are here

I Just Stepped Out

I Just Stepped Out
by Gary Woods

A lot of people these days are ditching their land line and just going with their cell phone. The problem is that one of the worst places to receive cell calls is inside your house. Every time my cell phone rings I head for the deck outside my living room to take the call.

If you're one of the people who has given up on your land line but don't want to do the "Texas Two Step" every time your phone rings there are a couple of options you can look into. First up, there are femtocell devices that essentially create a miniature cell tower in your home which transfers voice calls and data at 3G speeds to and from your carrier's network through your broadband Internet service.

Femtocell is available from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless and connects to your home network via an Ethernet port on your router. To get the most out of the device you'll need to place femtocell or a separate antenna for it near a window so it can signal its location to your carrier via GPS. Carriers charge anywhere from $125 to $250 for the product but there are no extra monthly charges.

If you've got a large home or would like even better coverage you can get a repeater or signal booster which amplifies cell-tower signals. Repeaters cost anywhere from $250 to $400 and are sold by third parties like Wilson Electronics and WI-Ex's ZBoost line.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc