Ever since I moved, the wireless coverage in my home has been abysmal. It may be the tech shield or just the signal strength down here in South Carolina, but whatever it was I finally couldn’t tolerate it anymore. As I told my kids growing up, if you are going to complain about it — you might as well do something about it. I was missing more calls than I was getting!
I decided to install an AT&T Microcell. These are essentially a small cellphone tower for my home. I got the old 3G model:
Once I got it plugged into power (runs on 12 volts) and connected to the Internet through a 10-base-T cable. It just sat there flashing away, since it needed to be activated. I read through the manual — horror!! That’s the manual for the version I have but the new version manual has a bit better information.
The person who sold it to me didn’t deactivate it (you can deactivate it from the Manage Settings area of the Microcell page), so it took about an hour on the phone with AT&T to get the device started through the activation process. They handled the situations very effectively I thought. Since I’ve done some technical support in my life, I was pretty tollerant.
The Microcell has a built in GPS receiver, so it needs to be close enough to a window… to receive the satellite signal. It will not go through the activation process until it is satisfied it knows where it is — this process can take up to 90 minutes. Yes, it happens every time the device powers up (thought it didn’t seem to take as long the second time). Once the activation completed, AT&T sent me an email, a SMS message and even called me back later in the day.
Well now I have 5 bars throughout my entire house. I am very pleased so far.
Access to the Microcell is limited to cellphones you allow to connect — naturally they also need to be an AT&T number.