During one of my research projects for equipment to use on paranormal investigations I was looking at Cell Phone Repeaters for vehicles. As luck would have it I stumbled upon something I did not know existed. I first found a Sprint CDMA extender by Samsung, but with a little more digging I found that Samsung also made not one but two Verizon models as well.
So just what is this thing you ask? Well the device is basically a mini cell phone tower for your house, with just enough range to cover the front and back yard too. It connects to your broadband internet service so that it can communicate back to Verizon. When a cell phone connected to the device places a call, that call goes through the “extender” which is then passed back to Verizon over your broadband connection. Depending on the model it can handle either 4 or 8 cell phones placing calls at the same time. I will note for the safety conscious folks both models reserve 1 line for 911 calls only, and the unit has a build in GPS which is used with the 911 calls to help locate the caller.
The two models I found in my research are the Samsung SCS-26UC4 1x EVDO Wireless Network Extender, and the current model the SCS-2U01 3G Wireless Network Extender. Where do I find one you ask, used ones and factory remanufactured units are on eBay (between $80 and $200) and Amazon (between $100 and $225).
With my research complete I purchased the SCS-2U01, as the reviews I read indicated it actually has the best range and coverage overall. My motivation to purchase the unit was to finally solve a problem which is the result of there being only one tower in town that is actually not owned by Verizon. Most days service is “spotty” at best which results in many of the incoming calls going straight to voicemail. This model according to the documentation covers about 5000 sq feet, or a distance of 50 feet from the device. I found in my research folks stating coverage areas of up to 8000 feet, and placing calls more than 100 feet from the device. In my experience I found these claims , as I can make calls 100 feet from the unit with no issues at all and it appears incoming calls no longer go straight to voicemail!
A note about the 3G service this model has which the older model does not have as for some folks this might be the reason to purchase this unit. The not so obvious limitation is that the 3G data connection will only be as fast as the broadband connection the “extender” has access too. So if you have a rather slow broadband connection the 3G the SCS-2U01 has will be worthless, so you could consider the less expensive SCS-26UC4 instead.
Another point to keep in mind is that when your phone is using the “extender” to place calls, and for data downloads you are still being charge for minutes and data usage. So if you have Wifi at the house it’s still best to have your phone use your Wifi connection to conserve your data plan usage unless you have “unlimited data” of course.
Final thoughts… This device really does work and for folks like me that live in a “extended coverage” area this resolves the suffering from dropped or poor-quality phone calls, and unreliable data coverage in my home.