Print 23 comment(s) - last by phxfreddy.. on Apr 8 at 3:52 PM

Verizon doesn't say what the femtocells will cost customers

Mobile phone users around the country and the world have noticed for a long time now that their cellular signal drops inside the home or office. This loss of coverage makes sense with the added interference of actually penetrating the walls of a building and competing with other wireless signals that are often very prolific inside a home or office.

For mobile phone users that want to drop landlines or who already have made the move to mobile phone only, the lack of coverage inside the home is a huge issue that can leave you without service or with poor service. Many of the largest cellular providers are looking at solutions to this problem and one of the most promising answers is the femtocell.

A femtocell is exactly what the word sounds like, a small cellular tower built into a package resembling a Wi-Fi router. The femtocell provides a usable wireless signal inside the home or office. The femtocell is good for the cellular provider in one aspect because it sends voice traffic over a user’s broadband network and the carrier doesn’t have to pay for the traffic.

The drawback for carriers to providing the femtocell to customers is the cost. Currently a femtocell costs in the area of $200, though the price is expected to drop to near $150 as more makers enter the market. To get customers to adopt the technology the carrier would have to subsidize the cost.

Sprint's trial femtocells cost $49.99 cost to the subscriber. Sprint also provides unlimited calls in the home to femtocell users for an additional $15 per month. Sprint spokesperson Emmy Anderson says that feedback on the femtocells has been good and there has been no interference between the femtocell and cellular tower.

Many customers will view the femtocell as an extra cost to get what they already pay for—a usable signal. Despite what may present a prejudice in a subscribers mine, Verizon announced at CTIA that it would be deploying femtocells in 2008. Verizon declined to give any specifics on its femtocells like cost and availability.

For some potential users of femtocells a big drawback could be the addition of another box into the home that already has a cable modem, wireless router, home phone, cable box and more to deal with. A French company called Thomson may have the answer to that problem; it is working on a femtocell that is built into a Wi-Fi router.

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RE: Sounds great for ICF homes.
By bldckstark on 4/4/2008 12:38:13 PM , Rating: 2
I have a friend who built his own ICF house. He gets cell signals fine, but it may be because he is near a tower out in the boonies.

For those that don't know, this is a foam concrete form. Hollow foam blocks are stacked up to form a wall, then the blocks are filled with cement. Usually the exterior is bricked, so you have brick exterior, then 2" foam, then ~4" cement, then 2" foam on the interior wall. The blocks have thin strips of metal attached to hang drywall, and pictures and such. When you need to hang something heavy (like a flat panel TV) you run anchors into the cement. No termites, no storm damage, high "R" value, high sound insulation, etc...

Only drawback is it's not the easiest thing to build with and not too many contractors know how to do it. If the foam breaks while filling with cement, it makes a mess, but is repairable.

RE: Sounds great for ICF homes.
By FITCamaro on 4/4/2008 12:59:22 PM , Rating: 1
Concrete can crack though if proper expansion joints aren't put in place. And even then. For warmer climates though it sounds fine. I like brick homes. Don't have to paint it.

RE: Sounds great for ICF homes.
By Swaid on 4/4/2008 11:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
The "joints" you see in concrete are not for expansion, they are break points. Those joint lines are there to control where the concrete will crack when the slabs inevitably settle.

RE: Sounds great for ICF homes.
By somedude1234 on 4/5/2008 4:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think he's referring to the 'crack control' notches that are put into concrete... he's referring to an actual 'expansion joint'.

I had a patio put in last year. The 'crack control' notches form a cross through the middle of the patio.

The 'expansion joint' is a piece that sits between the patio and the existing home foundation, and allows the fresh concrete to expand and contract at a different rate than the 15 year old existing foundation.

RE: Sounds great for ICF homes.
By Swaid on 4/5/2008 7:58:15 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, that material there that is places between the existing foundation and the new(er) slab is more of a slip joint (which can serve a double purpose). Since your patio is only ~4in thick compared to your foundation (which is set below the frost line) which could be only 30in below grade, the patio slab needs to be able to move (up and down) independently from the foundation. Yes there can be concerns for the need of expansion joints (roadways), but for a lot of other purposes, there is less of a concern/need and the greater concern is controlling the inevitable cracking (at least thinner pours).

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