Using external tv antenna for mobile reception...?
December 3, 2009 3:01 AM   Subscribe

Is there any way to use my external TV antenna to improve my mobile signal inside my house?

Situation: I can receive 3G mobile reception upstairs in my house, but not downstairs... upstairs there is a port that runs to the external tv antenna which isn't being used. Is there any way I can use this (by buying some other kind of equipment obv.) to improve the mobile reception through my whole house?
posted by ryanbryan to Technology (4 answers total)
Best answer: No.

The frequencies are different, so the wavelengths are different, so the physical size, shape, and design of the antenna is different.

What you need is one of two things:

a) A cellular repeater. You mount a new antenna on the roof, and a box plus another antenna inside. It's designed to catch and repeat (hence the name) all traffic from outside to inside and vice versa.

Frankly, I've never seen a cell repeater work especially well. Most of them haven't worked at all, in my experience.

b) A femtocell. This is, essentially, a cell tower that you put in your living room. It's about the size of a WiFi router, and plugs (note, I said "plugs", it doesn't do wifi) into your internet router. It talks to the cellular provider's computers via the internet, and provides a full-fledged cellular signal inside your house (with about a 30-40 meter range). Cellphone calls are then transcoded to network traffic, and shipped out to the cell company's system for connection to the rest of the phone system.

These work excellently. We have one in my house, and it's awesome. We use Verizon, who call their femtocell a "Wireless Network Extender". There is a bit of a delay (like an international call), but otherwise it's totally seamless.
posted by Netzapper at 3:13 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Disappointing answer, but thanks.

And unfortunately, these femtocells don't seem to yet be known Down Under - or at least from my mobile provider anyway. Out of curiosity, does the femtocell traffic then count towards download limits etc.?
posted by ryanbryan at 7:36 PM on December 3, 2009

Building your own 3G antenna using Wi-Fi equipment. (No endorsement implied.)
posted by dhartung at 9:35 PM on December 3, 2009

Out of curiosity, does the femtocell traffic then count towards download limits etc.?

Oh yeah... you guys have metered internet there.

It is just regular network traffic. Identical to watching a movie or using Skype. So I imagine it counts.

They also charge airtime minutes against your phone plan, which only kinda makes sense.
posted by Netzapper at 10:23 PM on December 3, 2009

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