I have had my Network Extender for less than a week now. I had little to no signal in my house (Just moved Here) I asked about the Network Extender which the CS was not fully aware of how it worked. I did a little research and found that the Extender is basically a mini cell tower which provides additional coverage where coverage is limited. I also read that it had to be connected to my internet connection. After talking to CS and asking them about this they were unable to really answer how the device worked.
After I received the device and connected it I found that it sends all traffic through my internet connection, so that raises a big eyebrow to me. I had to pay for a device which I need to use my internet connection, which again I am paying for, to connect to Verizon's network via VOIP. Now to me this does not sound right. Because I am providing the Network to which Verizon is unable to provide.
Now my thought here is hey what a good way to sell service! Especially for all of those customers thinking of going away from Verizon because they do not have service. Sell the Network Extender as an expansion of the home phone system. Provide free air time charges while in its range. I'm sure a lot of people would jump at the chance to get something like this if they were not getting charged for air time when they are at home. I remember some time ago they had a similar device and cell phone which used your land line when you were in range of the base station. So, similar concept right? It would be easy to differentiate where the calls are coming from just by the fact that the traffic is coming in via the internet. Also, you cannot stop people that attach to the NE from using it, which is now using my network bandwidth to allow them to make calls! This thing extends really far too... I have about 0.6 acres and I can get signal from the NE almost anywhere on my property.
The other thing I was wondering about has anyone had battery drain issues because of going through the extender? I have a phone that seems to be loosing battery pretty rapidly now where before It would keep battery for days. I have since had the phone replace by the Service Center and I am currently testing to see if it was the phone. I am not sure it is though because there is another phone on my plan which is having similar problems. I do notice the phones switching from EV-DO to 1X constantly.
Well, first of all, the network extender is your choice, and Verizon is very clear in their marketing that it requires a broadband connection.
It appears that it is working well for you. I know it works well for me too.
With every call, you are using the Verizon network as you are connecting to someone or something every time you make a call or receive a text. Verizon has an infrastructure in place so that the extender works, and they are providing access to that data stream.
The mini-cell tower analogy is a reasonable way to look at it.
If you are concerned about the modest 40K bandwidth a call uses, you can always pick up a zBoost 510 for about $350. The installation is a bit challenging as you might need to purchased an external antenna and point it at your nearest cell tower, but the concept is similar - it improves your cell phone performance, although generally not as well as the VZW extender. The over the air repeaters like zBoost will only amplify the existing signal. Poor signal, means an amplifier poor signal! Thus the need for an external antenna in weak signal areas.
You can control who has access to your extender. That is clearly described in the manual. You can leave access open to anyone - up to 3 calls simultaneously, or you can restrict it to a list of up to 50 cell phone numbers. It sounds like you have not gone into the setup screen yet on My Verizon. The default is open to everyone. Just change the default and add your cell phone number to the list.
If you are looking for unlimited home service, there are other options such as VoIP service (Vonage, Comcast, Verizon, etc). They charge a monthly fee, and they use your broadband connection.
Your battery drain should be no different than if you are in a naturally strong signal area, as your phone will not be constantly seeking a signal. The extender does not cause increased battery drain.
Finally, if you are seeing EVDO on your phone, then you are not connected to the extender. The extender does not provide EVDO signals (again, in the manual and literature). The extender will only deliver a 1X signal.
I have a suspicion that your phone is not connected to the extender at all. You can check the connection by dialing #46 on your cell phone and listening to the reply. It will tell you if you are successfully connected. But again, you are not connected to the extender if you are seeing EV on your cell phone!
You CANNOT control who accesses your extender. You can assign up to 50 numbers priority access, but if there are any open slots, any VZW phone within range CAN and WILL use your bandwidth, according to Verizon's own FAQ.
This is one of two major issues with the extender, IMO.
1) - You are not accessing Verizon's cell tower, why does it continue to use your minutes?
2) - You are providing Verizon with bandwidth for other customers to use to improve their network coverage, and they intentionally force you to accept those others. It would be easy to setup so that ONLY certain numbers could use it, but Verizon forces you to allow others. (I have no problem with forcing the extender to take any 911 call, that just makes sense) In essence, VZW is using your assets to improve it's network coverage, and charging you.
These are the two reasons I haven't bought one, even though coverage in my home sucks.
1) Why shouldn't it use your minutes? You may own the extender, but like the router you might own, and extender and router alone do not give you access to the network. Verizon has an infrastructure that is giving you access to their network. It's not just a cell tower. And in the case of your broadband network, its not just your modem and router. I have a VoIP phone as well, which uses bandwidth as well. I choose to devote a tiny portion of my bandwidth to that, and I choose to devote a tiny percentage of my bandwidth to my VZW network extender.
2) The max range is a 70'x70' unobstructed area around the device. But more typically it is about 40'x40'. Not sure what your situation is, but in my case, someone would have to be sitting in my driveway to access it.
I also have a VOIP phone in my house that I choose dedicate a small portion of my bandwidth to. No one else in my area can access that phone, and I get unlimited usage within the US and Canada.
If someone lives in an apartment situation, they could easily be giving free access to anyone living adjacent. There is no excuse why one cannot be allowed to lock access to one's own cell phones, except that Verizon wants to piggback others on your extender, thus releiving the load on their towers, AND making their coverage seem better than it is.
"Hey! I get four bars in my apartment!". Well, maybe your getting it by using your neighbor's broadband.
While I agree that the Network Extender is a sweet deal for Verizon (i.e. have your customers bear the cost to "fix" a service that the customer is already paying for), I also am happy that I have this option. No other cell carrier works worth a darn at my location either, so its not like I can switch to another carrier. I'm up on a hill in a major city and standard coverage will oscillate from 4 bars to zero (and then drop the call). Verizon blames my neighbors for banning construction of a cell tower up on the hill. (true)
I've tried cell antennae boosters ($350-$600). The amplifier does not "fix" this oscillation and the calls still drop.
So despite the $215 cost of the device, the network extender has made it possible to use my cell phone at home. This will save me $10- $12 / month in long distance charges I've had to pay to use my land line instead of my cell phone. I prefer the one-time cost over Sprint's monthly rental fee.
I am too far from neighbors to worry about poaching bandwidth, but I agree with Ted - Verizon should make it possible to lock out all users but a designated list for use in apartment situations. I am glad that visitors to my home are able to use their cell phones when required. I have my family phones on "high priority", but visitors to my house can now actually *use* their Verizon phone.
I also wish the extender had some way to signal that there's insufficient bandwidth on the Net connection. If my kids are using Bit Torrent for a big file transfer, my cell call quality goes south. (I have a T1 DSL connection, but upload speed is only about 700 K). In this situation, others tell me that my voice is breaking up. So you've got to watch for this. A bandwidth hog elsewhere on your home network will make the Network Extender useless. (but this is no different for a VOIP phone)
I'm pleased with the performance of the device. It has allowed me to conduct business from my home, so between fewer trips to client offices and savings in land-line long distance, I'll eventually pay for the unit.
I also believe that Verizon should allow Extender subscribers to limit usage of their Extender to their designated numbers. This certainly includes the inappropriateness of having your broadband subsidize Verizon's service to unaffiliated neighbors. MORE CRITICALLY -- Because neighbors here are so close together and regular tower coverage in the area is so poor, I am occasionally prevented from gaining access to MY OWN extender because the 3 channels are already serving those neighbors!!! So others benefit and I cannot be guaranteed access myself after having paid for the device! We definitely need to have this issue thoroughly investigated and addressed.
Wow, I'm amazed that I missed that the FAQ says even in Managed mode others can still use my Network Extender:
"Network Extender Management
What occurs if there are 3 other calls, and one my priority phones go to use it? I would expect that another non-priority caller should be disconnected, but I have a feeling that I won't be able to make a call as what I expect is not what Verizon does. What is the point to a "priority list" if you cannot bump other callers off? Further, if the 3 existing calls are not dropped, then really it's just a first come first serve. So perhaps the priority list will bump other callers off. Can anyone confirm? If you have a router with DD-WRT, you can watch your WAN ports bandwidth usage. I can clearly see when my calls start and stop via the Extender, and I'm thinking you could just take the same number times 3 to see how many calls are up (assuming your internet is idle otherwise).
If the priority list doesn't bump other non-priority callers off, i have a simple solution: pull the network connection to disconnect the other callers, then plug it back in, then make your call. It's a hassle, but it'll work.
My first reading of this FAQ (when I was just skimming it) thought it said that Managed Access only allowed the people you added to use it, except E911. Fortunately for me, there are cell towers around, just very weak signal (I get garbled reception in my house, but just fine outside), so I'm going to guess this should never affect me.
Another way to keep callers off your Network Extender is to just turn it off when you're not home. I do that when I'll be gone for any length of time anyway, as the thing is a heat pump.
Oh, and regarding VZN charging for minutes even when on your Network Extender - I'm sure this is a bit of a billing hassle, especially if you go outside of your Network Extender's range it it hops to a regular cell tower.
I just recommend you all get a free Google Voice account/phone number and add your GV number to your 5 free caller numbers and make all calls via that GV number (and give out that number instead), and then all your 48-continental US calls are free when you place them with GV.
Can someone please tell me how to register phone numbers for the network extender? I logged in My Verizon but could not find any place to start that. I've read so many "instructions", but none so far tells me where to find the form or list to start register phone numbers.