Pros Boost, coverage area
Cons Price could be a bit cheaper but worth it for me
Summary A was thinking of buying one of these booster antennas but was not sure what to buy. I saw the Spotwave mentioned in the WSJ and thought I'd give it a try and the thing really boosts my Sprint coverage which sucked big time!
I had to mount the network access antenna outside to get the best signal but it was pretty easy.
I'm giving it a 9 because I wish it were a bit cheaper...
Pros I can't think of any redeeming features of this unit
Cons Very directional with coverage less than 15 feet. I had to pay import duty upon arrival. No response from Amazon or ineedtelephones regarding my request for rembursement of the import duty fee.
Pros Very easy to set up and very simple to operate
Cons Grabs other carrier signals and does not work well
Summary This machine is the simplest thing ever to set up but does not deliver the performance offered. It will "grab" whatever cell signal it finds first and that may not be your phone's carrier and then you are screwed.
Pros Greatly improves reception for a room, increases my Helio Ocean’s battery life, easy installation, looks sleek and futuristic.
Cons Only greatly improves reception for a room, included power and mini coaxial cable is too short for my installation setup, expensive.
Summary I used to get about 0-4 bars (non-roaming) with 2 being the average in the same second floor room throughout the day. I did some research on cell phone signal boosters and decided to get a Spotwave z1900 since it seems to have the best total system gain. The installation was easy for me with the included screws and instruction manual. I installed my Network Access Unit in the attic on a wall pointing towards 3 Sprint PCS towers that are the closest to me. I do not why, but Sprint has two towers right next to each other. I checked the Sprint PCS coverage map to determine where they were. The NAU (Network Access Unit) has a light at the bottom that shows whether it is far enough from the coverage unit for maximum performance. I made sure that the light stayed lit with no flashing, which means that the best performance is achieved. I installed the NAU in a location where my Helio Ocean showed 3 bars. I strung the cable down to my room with the included mini coaxial cable (35 feet), but it is too short for me in order to place my coverage unit in a good place without cable in the way of foot traffic. I then brought my Helio Ocean down from the attic to test the results.
It worked by giving me a full 6 bars, but it only had a strong range of about 3 feet. The box says 2500 square feet; therefore, I was disappointed that the full strength was only working when I was really close to the Coverage Unit. When my Helio Ocean is within 3 feet of it (even though the manual states to put cell phones at least 3 feet away from the Coverage Unit), I get 6 bars, 5 bars at 6 feet and 3-4 bars at 10 feet. This happened when I placed it on a desk. I figured that I might get better performance if I raised the Coverage Unit. I then plugged in the Coverage Unit on a high bookshelf that is about 5’ 8” high. The Spotwave now performs slightly better. I get 6 bars at 0-3 feet, 4-5 bars at 3-10 feet, 2-3 bars at 10-20 feet. I sometimes roam when I am downstairs, away from the coverage unit. The 3G network also got a boost in speed. It is so fast, that the DSLReports.com Mobile Speed Web page cannot run the 1 MB test since it says it is too fast, but it could just be a bug though. I now get a clearer voice when I am on the Helio Ocean talking to a landline telephone. The best result of the Spotwave z1900 is that my battery life has been extended! One whole day has passed and the battery is still at full strength since I am usually in my room where the coverage unit is located. I imagine it can be powered on for at least 6 days on standby instead of the usual 3 days. If I use the Helio Ocean a lot, it would barely last a day before the Spotwave z1900. It can probably last at least 3 days of frequent use at this discharge rate.
I called Spotwave to discuss why I might be getting lower performance and he said that I might be having interference and oscillation issues since the Spotwave z1900 monitors if it might cause interference issues and it automatically lowers the power. I do have a strong T-Mobile signal, a strong Verizon Wireless signal and a strong AT&T signal. Out of the top 4 wireless carriers, only Sprint PCS has a low signal at my current house. This z1900 also boosts T-Mobile signal and that might be an issue. He also noted that the Coverage Unit in omnidirectional so it amplifies the signal in a 35 feet radius.
Check www.spotwave.com to see what wireless carriers it can boost in your area. Spotwave has a more expensive system that can boost only the required wireless carrier's signal and it supports the 800 MHz band. The z1900 only supports the PCS 1900 MHz band for now. I wanted the z1900 to boost the Sprint PCS signal in the whole house for everyone, but now everyone who is on a Sprint PCS network (a Virgin Mobile user and a Sprint user), needs to come near my room to get a boost.
The cost is $300 directly from Spotwave, but look at eBay and Amazon.com Marketplace for a cheaper price. I think the price is a little steep for the range that I received from the product.
The product looks sleek and elegant while it is installed in my room and attic. The only problem I have now is that the power and mini coaxial cable is dragged across the floor. I am going to look into a suitable extension cable that fits my budget. Spotwave helped me by giving me a list of compatible cables, but they are hard to find at a 50-65 feet length with the connectors already installed. The cables are suited to a professional commercial installation.
Keep in mind that the box says the required signal strength at the installation location for the Network Access Unit is one bar, yet the Web site now states that a minimum is 2 bars is needed. In addition, do not install in a location that is facing a metal siding outside the house or that is around metal.
Pros signal strength improvement
Cons a little pricey at $399
Summary I have T-Mobile and thought I'd give this a try after I was told this system had better gain?(boost) than WiEx. And sure enough it works as described - the I went from 1 bar on the main floor in my house to 3-5 depending on the distance away or how many walls in between, which makes voice calls 100% improvement. On the second floor I only have 2- 3 bars but this is a big improvement over having no hope of getting a call in some areas. Make sure you check what services are improved in your area (thier website has a zip code lookup tool that I used). But otherwise it was good value if you depend on your cell phone as much as I do (I'm in sales).
Note - This is the second booster I have tried - I also used the WiEx Zboost but it did not boost the signal enough.