How can I get a better cell connection without switching over to VOIP?

TMobile / Sprint

Episode 1744

John from St. Petersberg, FL

John uses VOIP and has a cell phone antenna in his home to actually reach the tower. He gets dropped calls because of his location, even with a microcell.  Leo says that one option is to look at AT&T or Sprint/T-Mobile to see if the coverage where John lives is better. They may have closer towers. He recommends talking to neighbors to see how their service is. Sadly, coverage maps are of little help like this.

Also try a different phone and see if the connection is the same. It could be an antenna issue in your phone.

How can I improve cell service in my house?

Dead Cell Zones :(

Episode 1726

Doug from Myers Hill, NC

Doug is having trouble with using wifi calling on his older iPhone on Verizon. Leo recommends calling up Verizon and request a Femtocell (microcell). Verizon calls it a 4G Network Extender. The FemtoCell offers cellular wifi calling in areas that cellular coverage doesn't work well. It's essentially a mini cell tower connected to your wifi. And if you are nice and tell them your service won't work in your home, so you may as well not be a customer, they should send it to you for free. Don't pay for it.

How can I get better cell service where I live?

Cell phone tower

Episode 1428

John from Jasper, AL

John has issues with coverage in his home town. Leo says that the irony is that AT&T is considered to have total universal coverage, but that doesn't seem to be the case entirely. Leo says to go to the carrier he's with and ask them for a FemToCel. If they want to keep his business, they'll give him one for free. With it, it will route his calls over the internet for cell service to his phone.

Why can't I use my cell phone at home?

AT&T MicroCell

Episode 1427

Paul from La Jolla, CA

Paul is having an issue with dropped calls and limited cell reception. He's told he needs a receiver to boost the signal. Leo says that receiver is called a FemToCell that plugs into his internet access and routes his calls through the net. He should call his carrier and tell them he can't use their service in his house and ask them to provide a FemtoCell. In most cases they'll provide it for free. He may need to threaten to cancel his service to get it.

How can I improve cell coverage?

Episode 1256

Naomi from Denver, CO

Naomi has a friend who can't seem to get Internet access with her mobile phone. Leo says if she doesn't have good cell access in her home, then she should ask her carrier for a Femtocel that she can connect to. It basically uses the internet to make phone calls. But she'll have to have a separate internet connection to take advantage of it.

Another option is a signal amplifier. Naomi can check out WilsonAmplifiers.com for the WeBoost. It'll boost her cell signal from where it's best to where it's worst.

How can I digitize old MiniDV video tapes?

Episode 1096

Libby from Claremont, CA

Libby has some miniDV tapes that she wants to make digital copies of. She wants to know the best method for doing this, and what format she should use. Leo says that miniDVs are already digital. So that saves a step. Since the service Libby took them to made DVDs, she can rip them and get MPEG2 files. Leo uses HandBrake and VLC Media Client, which work together to rip DVDs. Leo says to just rip it. Don't reencode it.

How can I get better cell coverage?

Episode 973

Julie from Rancho Cucamonga, Ca

Julie gets terrible cell reception in her home. How can she make it better? Leo says the best way is to use a "FemtoCell" or Wireless Network extender. The FemToCell will then use her home internet connection to connect her calls when she's at home. If she contacts the wireless company and tells them she needs a FemToCell for coverage, they'll provide her with the hardware she needs.