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Reception/Cell phone/Internet Service

 
Posts: 60
Location: Corinth, KY
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I'm in a little bit of predicament right now. I live with my brother closer to town until my place in the country is done. Its taking five years to finish it--but at least there is progress. I'm at the point of moving in (I'm so excited) to my place but just as I'm about to move in, COVID-19 strikes! I am working from home (my brother's house) because he has wifi which I need for my job. The issue is reception out at my place. I have to stand in one place to get reception on my phone. I don't get any reception inside my pole barn. I recently upgraded to a plan that allows me to use my phone as a hot spot but reception is still the issue. There are a few options I've been toying with. Keep in mind I only have a small solar system-about 400 watts per hour so I can't use energy sucking devices and I'm a novice at solar. Someone told about cell phone booster- some of them are really expensive ($700-1200) no bueno for my budget. I've also looked at internet providers but the plans are outrageous or the ones I found. At least $160! no bueno! I could hold up at my brother's until quarantine is over but my boss told me that we may switch to a hybrid system-as in work from home a few days a week. I really want to be at my place so I'm willing to shell out some cash but not go broke. I'm afraid if I get a cell phone booster, it won't work or I got the wrong one. I've researched on a few sites but they all recommend the 700 one. I have a somewhat open floor plan and its about 600 square feet. Any advice or feedback on getting reception/internet?

Thanks in advance!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1047
Location: Pac Northwest, east of the Cascades
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What service do you have? I moved out to an off grid place and had to switch from AT&T to Verizon. Verizon seems to be the service you want if your out in rural areas.

As for cell phone boosters, from everything I have learned researching is that you really can't trust anything under $400. I get great reception except in my camp, lol. So I have been looking at boosters, but the price has stopped me.
 
Posts: 551
Location: Abkhazia · Cfa (humid subtropical) - temperate · clay soil
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Here the best solution was to hang the phone at the top of one particular window and and turn on the hotspot…
It outperforms the all other solutions I tried. (Big antenna on the roof, in the tree…)

I don't trust signal boosters at all. A neighbor has one, and it is practically useless.
 
Diane Maldonado
Posts: 60
Location: Corinth, KY
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I have Cricket which is basically AT&T. Ill have to check out Verizon. I was with Sprint but they snuck in hidden fees (which I probably didn't read the fine print). I pay 55 a month for unlimited data a hotspot. I don't like contracts and prefer to have one set price each month. How do you like Verizon?


Devin Lavign wrote:What service do you have? I moved out to an off grid place and had to switch from AT&T to Verizon. Verizon seems to be the service you want if your out in rural areas.

As for cell phone boosters, from everything I have learned researching is that you really can't trust anything under $400. I get great reception except in my camp, lol. So I have been looking at boosters, but the price has stopped me.

 
master steward
Posts: 4035
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Here is a post that I made about on option the AT&T offers:

https://permies.com/t/67515/Rural-Wifi-Access#570216

Where I live there is no cell phone coverage so we use one of those boosters.  AT & T told me there is an option for about $25.00 more for something that plugs into an electrical outlet that "Boosts' their service to make it like a land line, their words not mine.



Here is another thread that might help:

https://permies.com/t/93161/Cell-phone-signal-boosters-repeaters
 
steward
Posts: 4159
Location: West Tennessee
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Hi Diane!

My wife and I are/were in a similar situation. She is able to work from home, and we moved way out to the country, and we also had a weak cell phone signal. We also use our cell phone provider and use a phone as a hot spot for internet access. We decided to swallow a bitter pill and pony up the money for a signal booster at about $900. It was that, or satellite which is pricey for the slowness due to latency, or my wife drives 150 miles each way five days a week to go to the office. The signal booster we chose works, like really well, and it saves my wife's sanity not having to drive 1500 miles each week. We bought a Cel-Fi Go-X. I wrote a thread about it here: https://permies.com/t/93161/Cell-phone-signal-boosters-repeaters
 
pollinator
Posts: 1595
Location: RRV of da Nort
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Diane, it's possible this will not at all be of help, but I'm going to encourage you to be exhaustive in your search for rural broadband internet.  I know that different states are implementing rural broadband with varying aggressiveness, but we were able to find a $50.00 per month rural provided (not stellar service at 10 Mbps down and 1.0 Mbps up, but it does the job) that has been pretty good and is supporting their service via the rural broadband initiatives from national and local government.  Because we use more internet service than cell phone service we use pre-paid cell phone plans which typically are far less cost (in my own experience) than regular plans.  In addition, irrespective of the cell-phone service provider, we are in a relative 'dead spot' for cell-phone signal so our low use of that signal reflects that fact.  It appears that one, in a pinch, can still make phone calls over the internet if the cell plan/service is temporarily down or terminated, not to mentioned the fact that if you do have a smartphone, you can use your internet wifi (if you choose to have that) to connect to your phone for times when your computer might be down.  So for us, it's made sense to have really cheap cell phone plans and put the extra money into local internet, but everyone's needs are different. Good luck!
 
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I have none to poor cell signal, I can get one bar sometimes on an off a couple hours a day it seems, not reliable enough to make phone calls, but can send sms words only no pictures or web links. I am able to get online only through Hughes net satellite , but I understand that via sat is the same cost with faster n better connection. I tried internet, service through frontier landline phone service and it was not even fast enough to send or receive emails.
I've looked into the Wilson cell signal boosters but as you say they are not cheap. if I were to save up for one I would definitely call them and explain situation to get expert opinion on what would be best. that's about as much as I know about getting connected to the modern world out here in the boonies.
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