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Quick look at Verizon's Network Extender by Samsung

Review by Michael Oryl on Tuesday March 24, 2009.

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We spent a bit of time with the Verizon Network Extender, a femtocell(INFO) type device built by Samsung. Samsung originally launched the product as the UbiCell, and it is also known as the Sprint AIRAVE.

The Network Extender basically provides improved indoor cellular coverage in a roughly 70 foot by 70 foot area, acting as a mini cell tower that makes use of your home or office broadband internet connection. The device is very easy to setup.

One accessory that comes in the box is an extender cable for the Network Extender's GPS antenna. A proper GPS signal is required for E911 services here in the U.S., and if your box can't get a solid GPS signal, you'll have to remove the antenna from the top of the Verizon Network Extender and use the cable to get it closer to a window or other location with a better GPS signal. The device will not function without a GPS signal.

It took only a few minutes to get the box up and running. We plugged in its power adapter, and used the included network cable to attach it to our home's internet router, and a few minutes later we were up and running.

The up side of the Verizon Network Extender is that there is no monthly service fee, which is counter to Sprint's model. On the other hand, the US$249.99 price tag might be a bit hard for some people to accept - especially when you consider that the Network Extender does not provide improved 3G coverage.

Overall, though, it does what it claims to: it provides better indoor cell coverage for calls and text messaging. Whether the cost is worth it or not comes down to a personal decision. We can tell you, however, that the box works.


alans @ 12:33:10PM EDT on Tuesday March 31, 2009

What impact does this device have on dsl performance?

Michael Oryl @ 1:02:07PM EDT on Tuesday March 31, 2009

When there is no call being made, it would have virtually no impact. Even with three calls active, the total bandwidth used would *probably* be less than 100kbps total in both directions. I doubt you will notice it.

MJ @ 10:04:18AM EDT on Tuesday April 28, 2009

Is there any danger of radiation with this device in your house?

AJ Williams @ 8:20:35PM EDT on Tuesday June 2, 2009

I have wireless internet...any issues with radio frequencies, etc...

NetAdmin @ 11:56:11AM EDT on Wednesday June 3, 2009

Sucks - doesn't GPS lock in my warehouse, where I need to have cell coverage

Ray @ 8:56:30PM EDT on Sunday June 21, 2009

Just installed the extender a few hours ago, and I couldn't not be happier. I now can use my phone in my home. I set it up in the basement next the my router, the gps wire is long enough to get to a window. (has to be outside) Not to worried about the G3, since I am home and can get on internet with my pc. Easy set up.

Mike @ 9:45:49AM EDT on Friday July 10, 2009

Would this work at a beach house in Costa Rica and allow me to make calls on my Verizon phone as if it were "in network" back in the states?

Michael Oryl @ 12:15:41PM EDT on Friday July 10, 2009

No, Mike, it wouldn't work for that. The box's GPS would tell it that it's outside of the US and it would not allow you to connect.

Dennis @ 8:43:59PM EDT on Tuesday July 28, 2009

Installed the first one the first week in June - a week ago it quit working - SYS blinks - just got a replacement from Verison and installed it - the SYS light on this new one continues with the problem; still blinking. Changed all CAT cables and had the wireless modem checked out at Best buy - it's good. Where do I go from here?

steph @ 2:56:27PM EDT on Monday August 3, 2009

Do this device need to be plugged in by cable or can it be conected wireless?

dick @ 12:55:20PM EDT on Tuesday August 4, 2009

Last month I switched to Verizon and bought a Blackberry Curve. I have a half above ground basement home office but phone kept dropping calls. Bought a Samsung Network Extender promoted to improve reception in a 5000 sq ft area. Played with the Extender extensively, but don't get ANY improvement . . . even from six feet away and with the antenna fully extended on the window ledge. Verizon has been cooperative but can't fix the recption problem. The Extender was a waste of money!!

Chip @ 5:31:01PM EDT on Friday August 14, 2009

Can the IP be changed to a static assignment? I need it in a specific range to avoid proxy settings.

Bill @ 7:05:44PM EST on Tuesday November 10, 2009

Installed the extender and they could hear me just fine, but they were garbled. I could only hear half of the words, the rest of the words were silent

Jeremy @ 2:23:58AM EST on Wednesday November 18, 2009

Michael, not to flame you... but this is not a cell repeater(as you state @ 40sec). It is a 4 channel mini cell tower that takes your call and sends it (via VOIP) over your internet connection to the nearest Verizon server. This device is likely to be hit or miss for the non technical user. Your call quality will depend on three things. 1 Bandwidth contention e.g. downloading or browsing while on your cell phone. 2 Your ping time to the nearest Verizon server. 3 The number of network hops to the nearest Verizon server. If your router supports QOS you may be able to mitigate some of these problems, read your documentation or find an IT person to help you.

Sorry for any bad grammar.

mattcyborg @ 1:30:09AM EST on Sunday November 29, 2009

Network extender works, provided you dont have a ping over 60. If you are uploading, people cannot hear anything you are saying, but you can hear them crystal clear. Kind of lousy. Torrent users beware.

cb @ 9:45:40PM EST on Tuesday December 1, 2009

Im wanting to install this in a house in the country that is in a valley. I dont have internet service there. Does this device have to be connected to the internet all the time to receive a signal or can I take a laptop there just to set it up? Im not sure if I can even get internet installed there.

xrjm @ 5:40:48PM EST on Saturday January 2, 2010

Go elsewhere for a better review.

This review begins with a few inaccuracies. This isn?t a booster and doesn?t retransmit to a nearby cell tower with more power. The network connection is required. Your calls are routed over your internet connection like VOIP.

The GPS is required so that the system isn?t used in unauthorized geographies (foreign countries for example).

You have to register an address for the device to use E911.

Anyway ? just set one up at home and it works as described.

Ondy @ 3:25:35PM EST on Tuesday January 12, 2010

My wife and I had no Verizon cell service for a year after we moved into our house out in the boonies in upstate, NY. We bought blackberries at Thanksgiving and when we got them home were surprised and very pleased that we were able to call/text in and out with them.

Unfortunately over the weekend our cell service stopped completely from home.... a text will sneak through every so often and maybe every 8 times I try to dial out I get a signal. I've placed tickets with Verizon but heard nothing back and we still have no signal, so I'm not expecting much from them. My original plan in getting the blackberries was to get the Network Extender if we got no signal with them, and now it looks like I will have to try it. Does this sound like a good product for us?

Also, very dumb question.... I realize it's not good for internet service but will this work with both SMS and MMS messaging as well?

- Scott O.

gary @ 3:05:38PM EST on Thursday January 28, 2010

does the network extender work for incoming calls? when i am in our downstairs office we have dead spots and would like to receive incoming calls

Kathy @ 8:02:06PM EST on Friday January 29, 2010

I have a verizon network extender my question is will the extender work with At & T and sprint cellphones as well?

hawks @ 9:59:43PM EDT on Monday March 29, 2010

My extender worked great for about three weeks and then the sys light started blinking red. Tech support can't help and neither could my IT group. I replaced the unit and it started working perfectly for about three weeks and then the same thing happened again. I am now without service and a have a blinking red sys light.

Straighttalk @ 9:28:05AM EDT on Monday May 17, 2010

The Verizon Network Extender is great. I set it up for my dad in an area that had no signal, now he has full bars and his phone works great. BTW I have the Straighttalk prepaid phone from Walmart and it works great through the Network extender as well for both calls and the internet. Great Device if you have no or low signal on Verizon.

deb @ 6:59:09PM EDT on Friday June 25, 2010

I am surprised at how hot the back of this unit gets. Is anyone elses this hot? or is something wrong with our unit?

Melissa @ 3:31:38PM EDT on Tuesday July 6, 2010

Just moved to an area where reception sucks due to a small airport in the area(according to verizon) anyone know if the network extender help in my case??

capecodder @ 1:47:59PM EDT on Saturday July 10, 2010

I live in an area on cape cod with low verizon and GPS coverage. Installed the extender two days ago and seems to be working well so far. I have amazing fast internet speeds from Comcast and an ok GPS signal in my house, so I would guess that will also have an affect. We'll see.

GlennT @ 9:00:26PM EDT on Tuesday July 27, 2010

I have this box and it works ok for me except that I work from home and need to set up QOS in my router to get better performance. So two questions:

1) Does anyone know how to set up a static IP for this box?

2) Does anyone know what ports it uses?

I've been unable to browse to the box and don't know if it has any [IP] settings that can be modified.

Any assistance/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Eric @ 12:18:58PM EDT on Friday August 13, 2010

I have 3 teenagers, and the only problem I have, is when everybody is surfing the net. I think they are taking up too much bandwith and it causes the cell phones to drop signal...

davea @ 8:09:03PM EDT on Monday August 30, 2010

so much for plug and play. i was on the phone for 4 hours over two days and it doesnt work. the sys and gps light are always red, never turn blue like they are suppose to. i was really counting on this so that i could eliminate my land line. too frustrated,verizon does not know what the problem is. he thinks it might be the router but who knows.

Terry @ 6:34:46PM EDT on Thursday September 9, 2010

I have a verizon utility card live in a rural area without high speed internet, my signal is often weak and have to refresh the pages constantly for the internet, will the extender help this situation? and yes I do have 2 cellphones which drops calls.

thew @ 2:43:59PM EDT on Wednesday September 22, 2010

Bandwith and QOS
For those of you like me that had poor voice quality you need to assign your call Extender to your routers QOS settings and set it up for VOIP. Simply give your Extenders MAc address to your Routers QOS settings and tell it to allow Full Bandwidth.. Whala. ITs fixed and now works great. !

m3m @ 2:29:20PM EDT on Saturday September 25, 2010

I have a demo but it is not working properly. Might try a new device from all the reviews I've read. Video was helpful.

Candy @ 1:29:15PM EDT on Thursday November 4, 2010

we just bought straight talk phones (verizon) ... and we have a verizon network extender .... now we can't call out, even though we were able to the first week. any thoughts?

Continental Op @ 10:12:11AM EST on Monday November 8, 2010

Bought a Verizon Network Extender a year ago (a year and two months ago) to improve inhouse reception - dropped land line went all cell. It never seemed to help much. Dropped calls were routine inside the house. Then, it quit. No power. Too bad, says Verizon. They say they've not seen any problems with their Samsung extender. Wasted my money, time and effort. Verizon in general has provided poor service, phone rules are a rip off, been through two failed Blackberrys and two Droids. I pay for five phones a month. None work well.

mr23 @ 11:06:23PM EST on Wednesday November 24, 2010

We asked for one, received it for free. Had told them I was going to cancel, due to poor service at the house and in the neighborhood. AFter installing it, in the first 5 days of usage our internet usage increased by 1/3 what we used in the first 19 days of the month (over 2Gb per day). It's not like we're on the phones 24x7...
Some text messages with attached pictures will not go out; unplug the unit, phone connects to cell tower with 1 bar, and voila, I can send the same message out.

New "Internet Apps" tv works fine, except when the extender is operating. In that case the tv cannot connect to the Belkin N+. Unplug extender, tv connects.

I could go on, but I won't. We're going to T-Mobile.

stevej3876 @ 11:28:37PM EST on Wednesday December 1, 2010

Can you the verizon extender on any cell phones to get signal strength to get full bars. I have a verizon phone and my parents have sprint phones

Jomama @ 8:49:21PM EDT on Tuesday June 7, 2011

If you are having a problem with a slow blinking system light, you may want to check and see if the main provider in your cell service area has a problem with Verizon having these towers in their area. Mine worked fine for a few months until Golden State (the main provider in my county) decided that Verizon was breaking their contract with them for extended service and Verizon had to shut it down. It took a bit of time and the right questions to get that from Verizon.

Tom Sanders @ 3:08:39PM EDT on Wednesday June 22, 2011

As I spoke with Verizon, I am a customer 2008 till now. I fell that Verizon is not providing service to thousands of customers. This should be provided to customers where there is no signals. I am aware there are others using other cells most of them have the same issue. Again Verizons problem should not be a customers Issue.

jp5882 @ 12:22:44PM EDT on Wednesday September 14, 2011

I got mine this past January. Works well overall. However, I have intermittent issues where suddenly there is no signal and a call is dropped. Happens with all cell phones connected to the extender signal. Still better than the signal we get up here in podunk, but would be nice to have a more reliable device.

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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