Long range bluetooth headset for use in apartment full of dead zones?
October 7, 2008 2:19 PM   Subscribe

No landline. My house is full of cell phone dead zones. I'm thinking about leaving my cell phone in a place where it gets reception, then using a Bluetooth headset for using the phone while I walk around the house. Is this doable?

The longer the range and the more extensive the feature-set, the better.

I can't have phone conversations in my living room -- the calls drop all the time. It's annoying to stand at the top of the stairs to have long conversations with family & friends. I live in a duplex, and have a small backyard patio. Ideally, I'd love to be able to walk anywhere in the house without having to move the phone (and possibly drop the call). Hence the idea for a bluetooth headset.

Also, it would be great if I could take advantage of voice activated features (so I can hang up and dial someone else without physically going to the phone in the other room).

In case it matters, my phone is an LG enV2. Verizon is my carrier, and I'm located in Manhattan.

If this is a viable option? Any recommendations for a long-range, fully featured Bluetooth headset for wandering around my unfriendly to cell phones apartment?
posted by BobbyVan to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A long range headset wont help because the range is limited to the class/power of the bluetooth chipset in the phone.

You could buy one of these expensive phone signal repeaters or do something like forward your cell calls to your skype phone and then get a little adapter that lets you use skype with a normal cordless phone.

Or switch providers.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:32 PM on October 7, 2008

I think you'd be hard pressed to find a bluetooth headset that will make it into the next room. A cell antenna repeater would work, but they cost a few hundred dollars.

If I were you, I'd look into T-Mobile's @home , which lets you make calls over your wifi internet when you're home or near another hotspot. If you get the plan, I believe you can make unlimited calls over wifi for $10/month. Without the plan, I think it just counts against your normal airtime minutes.

This would require switching service and buying a new phone, though.
posted by meta_eli at 2:34 PM on October 7, 2008

Bluetooth chipsets are usually maxed out at about 10m (30 feet) in an open area. You can get more powerful bluetooth transmitters for pcs and laptops, but you're going to be limited by the bluetooth chip in your phone. They're usually deliberately kept short-range, i.e. a couple of meters, for security and battery life, especially going through walls etc.

In a variation on the skype idea (a form of VOIP converted to a standard cordless phone for .the last bit), you could get a wifi VOIP phone, and run it over your home wireless router (assuming you have one!) You won't then be tied to skype, and there's some really good VOIP providers out there.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:58 PM on October 7, 2008

Best answer: I do this. If my phone is in the center of my 1 story, 1200 foot house, it works just fine. This is Class 1 at both ends. I can often leave it at one end of the house.

This is a newer drywall house; it probably wouldn't work as well with hardshell plaster, or on 2 floors.

Most phones don't appear to repeat custom ringtones to the headset, IME, even in handsfree profile, so if you can't hear the ringtones from there, and you care, that might be an issue...
posted by baylink at 3:00 PM on October 7, 2008

I second the signal repeater this is the same brand as the other guy mentioned but it only cost $200 Wi-Ex zBoost YX500-CEL the one that picks up all carriers is more expensive.
posted by tke248 at 3:01 PM on October 7, 2008

Best answer: You may consider the another option, dock-n-talk -like technology, where you dock your compatible phone, or use any bluetooth enabled phone to connect to the device, which enables you to use the landlines from within your house. The landlines can either be hardwired phone cable, or any regular cordless phone technology.

This is a great product for those who have decided to go cancel their landline and go fully cellular, as it will let you use your cell phone service on the the existing corded/cordless phones in your house without having to scramble to the charging station or carry your cell phone around the house when a presidential poll robot give you a call.
posted by edman at 4:41 PM on October 7, 2008

It might actually be changing your phone will help. A place I lived in for a few years had absolute crap phone reception, and I had given up a landline as well, so I was quite upset about having to be within 5 feet of the south side of the basement suite, or out in the carport to have the phone work well. However, I noticed a few friends had no trouble within my place, so I swapped out my old phone (Sony Ericsson z600) for a Nokia 6126, and all my problems went away. Turns out the z600 wasn't the greatest phone, reception-wise.
posted by barc0001 at 7:10 PM on October 7, 2008

Best answer: I have a uniden cordless phone, and the basestation has bluetooth, so it can tether with cell phones, so you can leave your cell phone next to the base (the part that also plugs into the wall jack) and then you can answer both landline and cell phone calls with the uniden handsets.
That would be pretty much what you want.

On reading the thread, thats pretty much what edman was talking about.
posted by Iax at 8:44 PM on October 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your help.

Here's my takeaway:
- I think a signal repeater is overkill; it would be more cost effective to just change providers (I'd rather not, because I get a nice discount on Verizon through work).
- I know that it's not just my mobile phone. Friends of mine who are on Verizon mobile have had similar problems at my house.
- To start, it would be a good idea to try leaving the phone at the top of the stairs (where it gets great reception) and using a bluetooth headset (which I can buy for $20-$30).
- If that fails, the dock-n-talk route looks promising.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:07 PM on October 8, 2008

For future readers it may be of interest to know that the Xlink Bluetooth Gateway does this now.
posted by dance at 12:22 PM on March 7, 2009

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