is Network Externder worth buying?
paulrickmakita
I have seen a number of people having problems with the Network Extender. I'm wondering if at $250 this is worth buying? Is it mature yet? or still needs some work?
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Derizon
Enthusiast - Level 2

I've been using the Network Extender for about two months.  When it works, it works well.  I have it in the middle of the top floor of a 3 story 3800 sq ft. house and it provides good coverage throughout the home, and within 10-20 feet around it.

 

The setup is usually easy, depending on if you have a hardware firewall on your LAN.  It creates a tunnelled connection to the Verizon femtocell server to carry your voice traffic. 

 

People express concern over being "double charged", which may be partially true.  But whether or not your handset connects thru a Verizon tower, or over the Network Extender thru your internet connection, Verizion still provides a service to connect your call with another number. 

 

Therein lies my biggest problem so far with the Network Extender.  Verizon has had trouble keeping the server farm that responds to Network Extenders all over the country up and running.  Today is the third full-day outage that I've experienced since I got this thing a few weeks ago.  I can't hold cell calls in my house without it, so these Verizon server outages mean that my business calls get interrupted frequently and my investment in the Network Extender is useless.

 

Each Voice call on the Network Extender consumes about 40k bytes of bandwidth, and with the maximum of three simultanous calls, you won't use more than 120k bytes of bandwidth in each direction.  That's about 10% of a T1 (typical DSL) DOWNLOAD speed, and could be 45% of a DSL connection upload speed if your upload speed is only 256k.

 

If others on your home LAN are using Bit Torrent or similar high-demand services, your Network Extender calls may be un-intelligible.  Verizon recommends that you buy and configure a router or switch that permits you to prioritize traffic for the Network Extender if you have this problem.

 

If you want to test your internet setup's ability to handle VOIP, go to   myspeed.visualware.com/voip     where you can run free tests.  Use a computer that's connected to the LAN port you plan to use for the Network Extender.

 

Is it worth it?  I'm not totally happy with the reliability, but it still is the least expensive way to get decent cell service at my home.  And I suspect that Verizon will continue to get their act together with respect to their service reliability for Network Extenders.  At least I hope so!   I pay my minutes for it, and about $17 per year for the electricty to keep the Network Extender up. 

 

Like I said, when it is working, it works very well. 

 

 

 

 

 

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taz
Enthusiast - Level 2

I have 8 Mps brodband conection. While using various computer items, I do notice a drop in computer speeds when the extender is being used. I am on the second phone and second extender with no improvements. now it's to late to return them. Even if I could return the extender, I would be suck with cell phones that don't work at my home.

Tech support says that 25 feet unobstructed, line of sight  is all that can be expected from an extender.I have log calls into them trying to get this fixed.

My only sollution is to continue to inform my neighbors that inspite of being the highest priced, verizon  has no intention of providing reliable service in this neighborhood.

No verizon network guys at work here!

I will see who provideds the best coverage, then I will follow!

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ColdnFrosty
Newbie

Sorry to hear that its not working out. You could try a zBoost 510 repeater with an external yagi. That might give you a better solution and it won't use the internet. But I doubt you'll have any improvement in the range within your house.

 

I see no losses of performance on my Broadband connection and I have several 'puters and a Vonage VoIP running most of the time.

 

The only other suggestion I have would be to look for the most central location in your home, and away from any heating/cooling ducts. If you look at the zBoost literature, they say the same thing - keep it located away from metalic structures in the home. Just a thought.

 

 

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ColdnFrosty
Newbie
I just picked one up. I have a BlackBerry and am in a low signal neighborhood. Hit or miss in the house. I put the extender on the second floor and plugged it in. It picks up the satellites easily through the roof. I had 4 blue lights within five or six minutes. I now have saturated coverage everywhere including my basement. Although it is only 1X, I still get BB email, and can use the web browser, BB Messenger, etc. The 2G obviously isn't as fast as the 3G EV, but I have no complaints. Excellent device!
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taz
Enthusiast - Level 2

You are charged for your airtime while using the extender. This is true even though you are not using Verizon's towers. You also have to pay for your broadband internet connection or else the extender is useless. The extender creates a notable drain on your broadband, causing it to slow down while you are on the phone.

Before I signed up with Verizon, I checked to make sure that my area had good coverage. I was told that it was in an area with a very strong signal. After signing on and having problems, I was informed that it was a known problem area. To make it worse, Verizon has no plans to fix it.

This is what the extender accomplished. It gave me 5 bars if I am within 5 feet of it. At 30 feet unobstructed distance, it drops the call. This gets reduced quickly if a door gets shut or something gets in the way. After calling tech support, they think that this is acceptable. By using a land line and a cordless phone, I am able to cover all my house and most of my yard. It's unimpressive.

Bottom line:

                  0 - 1 bars at the street throughout the neighborhood

                  0 - 1 bars around my yard

                  0 - 5 bars in the house depending on how close to the extender you are.

I guess the Verizon network guys are all chasing  one guy around the country filming commercials instead of fixing their network and all their "Dead Zones".

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ColdnFrosty
Newbie
You might want to check either your phone or the extender. Mine saturates the house with 5 bars (three floors). Perhaps try a more central location ...
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sciphydude
Enthusiast - Level 2

Most people have an internet connection now days anyway, therefore I am not paying any extra for the internet. I had it already.  I have off set that cost by disconnecting my home phone line.  I am actually saving money with the network extender.  As for a drain on my broadband connection, I have not noticed because I have the 3Mbps service anyway to support otherVOIP like Vonage and two computers and my DVR. 

 

I can be on both computers and still make cell phone calls.  I Vonage when my contract is up with them and just have my cell phones.

 

Verizon does offer a 15 day money back guarantee on all there products.  So you did not know in that 15 days that you don't get a good signal at your home?  You also have 15 days to return the network extender, if you are not happy with it.

 

I have had some issues with my network extender, but I have also been in contact with a guy from Verizonwireless tech support.  They are able to adjust the settings, power level on the network extender to control things like the range of the extender and the distance that you have to be to the extender for the inital connection.  It is pretty much a trial and error kind if thing.  It took several weeks of being in contact with them and making adjustments before we got to a happy medium.  I had issues like my phone not staying connected to the extender, and they increased to power to fix that.  Then I had an issue with multiple phones in my neighborhood registering on my extender.  There were like 9 phones linked to it at one time.  They adjusted that by setting the RF beakon so that I had to be within 5 feet of the extender in order to establish that initial link. So no one else in the neighborhood can link to it now.  I get coverage all over my 1500 SQFT house and outside by the pool.

 

The network extender does it's job.  You just have to be persistent with tech support so your system can be tweaked just right.  You can't just take it out of the box and plug it in and expect it to work flawlessly.  If that is what you expect, then the network extender is not for you. 

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blackwidowinsc
Contributor - Level 1
Definitely worth the price.  I live in a 3700 square foot house that sits in the dip of a wooded lot.  After checking I am almost two miles from the nearest tower and I could only use the phone outside on the front porch and even with that would get 1 bar of signal.  Now with the Network Extender I can get about 4 bars anywhere in the house.  I didn't expect for it to work so well, but thought it was worth the risk with the return policy.   Happy that I took the risk.
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taz
Enthusiast - Level 2
VZ's solution to their lack of service is to have everyone buy their own tower, use their own network and thereby increase their coverage area while double charging there customers. What a scam! Being as VZ is the highest priced service on the market, it's amasing that they try to charge customers for there lack of service.
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blackwidowinsc
Contributor - Level 1

Can you expound on this subject.  For the people who know how the extender works, (basically giving you a voice over IP connection while being billed through the VZW network), I am hard pressed to look at it as being "double charged".  If you are using the phone, you are using your plan minutes.  You are billed the same as you would be if you were making calls with 1 - 2 bars, the only exception is that in most cases you will get enough bars to make and hold onto a call.  It would be nice if we could all afford other indoor solutions or could put repeaters on the tops of our homes, however the network extender is a more cost efficient way to stay connected using the cell phone, but it won't work for every consumer.

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taz
Enthusiast - Level 2
VZ solution to there lack of service is to have everyone buy there own tower, use there own network and thereby icrease there coverage area while double charging there customers. What a scam! Being as VZ is the highest priced service on the market, it's amasing that they try to charge customers for there lack of service.
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californiajay
Newbie

I've been using one for about 3 weeks now. I get maybe one bar without it on my entire block. Here are some thoughts...

 

pros

 

1 - Very easy to setup and use. Mine was working within 15 minutes of plugging it in and turning it on.

2 - Calls come through loud and clear.

3 - Could not have Verizon cell service if I didn't own it.

 

cons

 

1 - Coverage is just nowhere near what it is stated as. I get 4 to 5 bars within 10-15 feet of the extender, 2-3 if I go to about 20 feet and 1-2 if I go beyond that. I called Verizon and was told that this was actually typical. Raising the extender up as high as possible on a shelf or something does help. Literature states that it covers about 5000 square feet...yeah right!

2 - Cannot understand why Verizon doesn't at least discount calls made through it. I am providing my own equipment (extender, router, dsl connection) so that they do not have to provide a tower here. You would think they should pay ME.

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southcoast101
Newbie
Here is my take: It's like listening to FM without an antenna. Good but low dbs, scratchy stereo. Put up an antenna (in or outside) and reception really improves. I had 1 to 2 to Zero bars in my house before I got the extender. Now, I usually get 4 or three bars. Sometimes, through lots of walls, I do get 3, some times 2, BUT the 2 bars will be steady; no drifting to 1 or zero.The extender gives you a good amount of stability in service. Thats what you get. It was worth it to me.
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sciphydude
Enthusiast - Level 2

I have had my network extender for about four days now.  It works great.  I live in a remote area where I can get a marginal signal outside and even less inside.  My phone battery usually drains quicker because it has to work harder to look for a signal.  With the network extender I have 4 bars throughout my home and two to three bars in my yard.  The box does have to be placed near a window to get a good GPS signal or you can use the mini-coaxial cable to place the GPS antenna in a window.  The one issue that I am have is that for the past couple nights the system light has turned red like it is trying to connect to the Verizon network but it cannot.  All the other lights remain blue.  It has done this for the past couple nights and goes down about the same time.  Has anyone else experienced this?

 

I called tech support he assured me that there was nothing wrong and that they were possibly doing maintenance on the sytem at that time. That is a bit of an inconvenience as that is when the free night minutes kick in. 

 

Over all I am pleased with the performance of the network extender, except for those two nights.  I am going to continue to monitor it and see if it is truly a re-occurring issue.  I have already dumped my home phone line because I have Vonage.  If this continues to work out, my plan is get rid of Vonage also and just keep the cell phones to save even more money.  The $250.00 is a pretty good chunk of change to put out to begin with but I think the saving will be well worth it in the long term.

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bkllc
Newbie
If you meet certain qualifications (according to there charts you have a bad home signal) you can get it for $199
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upnorth
Contributor - Level 1
Can you elaborate on how to get the extender for $199? Can you do it at a VZW store? What questions do you need to ask to get them to check charts?
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bkllc
Newbie

talk to them over the phone... they can put a note on your account then you can buy it in the store for less...

 

Just tell them your in a very marginal coverage area based on the topology and the location of your house... they can check it out

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crdlsp
Newbie
I even got another $50 off for being a VIP customer. I have a family plan with five phones. I got it for around $150.
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dmpotter
Newbie

It's a shame I needed one, but do not regret getting it. Wish it didn't cost so much initially.

 

However, with the other versions out there (monthly rental with other providers), in the long run it would be cheaper.

 

 

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crdlsp
Newbie

I could not be happier with my purchase of the Extender. Mine also worked within 15 minutes of being plugged in and required no network settings to be altered. I was worried because it was not near a window but it was in a room with lots of window, it had no problem getting a GPS signal. I had a terrible cell situation in my house. I would get OK service in the winter but when the leaves came on the trees forget it. If you did not turn your phone off when you got home it would kill the battery in under an hour trying to connect.

 

My other problem was sometimes when it did connect I was roaming internationally across Lake Erie! I have phone bills for a tower that is in excess of 60 miles over the water!

 

This unit grabs our phone signal as soon as we enter the house. It even continues to hold when I am working outside. This is evident because of the strength and the tones it gives out when placing or receiving a call.

 

I highly recommend this unit.

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