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What Is A Femtocell? The Ultimate VoIP Cell Phone Signal Booster

A femtocell (femto cell) is a 3G wireless or Wi-Fi access point that is specifically designed for cell phones and used to enhance cellular reception indoors and also lower overall telephone costs for both consumers and cell carriers. The device will, for all intensive purposes, allow each person to have their own mini cell network within their home. It’s a way to booster your cell phone signal without using a traditional cell signal booster. With this device, gone will be the days of standing in one spot like you are on an old cord phone, or the enjoyment of hanging outside of or near a window in order to keep a call from dropping. With crystal clear service and potentially unlimited minutes while calls are routed through femtocells, traditional land lines may become obsolete. See the image below, it does a fairly good job of showing how a femtocell works.

Femtocells look just like wireless routers and are used to route cell phone calls, by lower power antenna, to broadband internet connections (DSL or Cable) and then back onto cellular networks. There has also been reports about a possible small USB device version, called the femtoJack, that works just like other femtocells. It behaves as a VoIP device and the following occurs when a phone call is made from a house or office that has femtocall capabilities. A phone call is made from a cell phone, as it is being made it is redirected to the femtocell, then routed through a broadband internet connection and from there is redistributed back to the cellular network. This is especially important because it allows people to set up a network in an area where traditional cell phone service is not available.

Femtocells allow cell phone users to get extended range in indoor areas where they previously had little or no service because of a dead zone. They are also beneficial because they can lower the cost consumers pay for their cell phone plan. Costs are lowered because minutes used within a femtocells range are generally unlimited when included with a plan. Carriers usually can offer free calls with a femtocell because it allows carriers to move data traffic away from cell networks and therefore lower their overall costs and also eliminate the need for uneconomical cell towers. Another benefit of using one within your home involves better data bandwidth performance which results in a better experience with music, photos, and live video on your cell phone.

As a leader among U.S. carriers in rolling this technology out Sprint recently began offering a femtocell device for $49.99 and $15 per month. This deal included the Airave router and an unlimited amount of minutes that were routed off the cell network. This means that all mobile phone calls made within range of the femotcell were unlimited for only $15 per month. Currently they are being made with ranges of 50-100m which is more than enough to support most phone calls in and around ones home. Another product that we have recently began hearing rumors about is the femtoJack, which is expected to be quite a hit, as a USB sized femtocell. Seamless hand-off is great to as it allows you to jump into your car and drive off while automatically transferring you to the cell network.

Currently they can support 2 to 5 cell phones at one time, depending on which model you choose and they work with most major cellular technologies including CMDA2000, TD-SCDMA, WiMax, UMTS, and GSM carriers. This of course means they can be used with most major U.S. carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Alltel, and Verizon.

Femtocell devices are expected to be widely available by 2010 and the number of users is expected to more than quadruple over the next several years. Most wireless customers should be able to purchase one from the same retailers that sell them their cellular phones and cell phone plans. This would generally include availability directly from carriers and from electronics retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

As of today femtocell cells are expected to cost several hundred dollars but as sales and productions volumes rise, prices are expected to drop. Major carriers are also expected to offer special prices for those that sign cell phone contracts that include femtocell services, in the same manner as they do with phones.

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