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Thread: Some Helpful Info Whether or If Buy the Samsung VZW 4G LTE Network Extender 2

  1. #1
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    Some Helpful Info Whether or If Buy the Samsung VZW 4G LTE Network Extender 2

    Most of us depend on reliable cell phone service, and any factor that affects radio signal which broadcasts at a stronger Mhz than cell signal (an advanced radio service) can affect it even more so be it trees in bloom or not, mountains, heavy precipitation, many tall buildings, elevation, inside building structure (wood or concrete), etc. To save others the hours of research of whether to or if buy the Samsung VZW 4G LTE Network Extender 2 to improve indoor cell signal, I have compiled the list of close to a dozen items below. I truly have need for incoming call reliable HD Voice coverage in my neck of the woods with lots of trees, having an older relative in the area needing to reach me if urgent health issue, and I have had the extender for two days now. The extender has boosted my 1-2 bars 110-115 dBm signal inside to 5 bars and 75-80 dBm. Before used CDMA, 98%+ reliable whereas HD Voice with my local cell tower and environment is only 85% reliable where at without the extender. Unlike CDMA which is mostly used for calls today, 4G LTE with HD Voice is used for both calls and data, which if a weaker signal, that is not good to split the signal, as incoming calls to ring through require a stronger cell signal than outgoing calls, texts, or data. The CDMA service is scheduled to be taken down year end 2019 https://www.verizonwireless.com/supp...e-base-218813/ , but in some areas CDMA signal will be repurposed to improve 4G LTE, and soon or eventually across the USA 5G. For myself, a Weboost signal booster, way more pricier, was out with asking the apartment building landlord to put an antenna on the roof, and for advanced data security concerns, do expect most of my neighbors are honest, you never know, and any security expert will tell you a wired router that I have is more secure than a password protected Wifi router against an advanced hacker as a wired one requires access to the jack, and even having layered security on top of that which I do.

    To supplement this checklist below, the extender's product FAQs with other detail are here https://www.verizonwireless.com/supp...extender-faqs/ and the user manual is here https://scache.vzw.com/dam/support/p...user-guide.pdf

    1) You need to have at least a minimal of VZW cell signal outside (not zero bars at 140 dBM, but around 120-125 dBm). This can be a problem in a remote rural or mountain valley area or deep inside a concrete building or a cave. If your phone has the info, you can check the more accurate dBm number by following a path similar to Google Settings, Network & internet, Mobile networks, Network type and strength, 4G (varies by phone). You can try calling VZW tech support as a customer 1-800-922-0204, and after they do some phone troubleshooting with you, open a NRB (network radio broadcast) ticket followed by 12 digits which will send the 3rd level engineers out to your area. It usually takes 3-5 business days, but they keep you updated by text message if they can improve the signal on your local cell tower or not.

    2) It does work with non-FIOS cable, not satellite or some DSL that is slower (speed info at General Info FAQ #5), and can even be used with a wired router (an anomaly these days, but yes, Linksys does yet sell business grade wired routers which have one of these https://www.linksys.com/us/c/busines...k-vpn-routers/ )

    3) Need a Verizon Wireless 4G LTE phone with HD Voice (not all older ones do). Check your phone's specs or user manual. The phone comparability list at https://www.verizonwireless.com/prod...sku=sku2490003 is not up to date. I was lucky to get a VZW 2nd level tech support rep on a call who had the exact same LG G7 phone I bought last year and using the extender, and over two weeks later, the list still says its not compatible. If you have a more recent phone which has HD Voice and the list says otherwise, call VZW tech support 1-800-922-0204 to ask. If your phone does have HD Voice, need to make sure it is on by Google Settings, Network & internet, Advanced Calling, HD Voice Only should be toggled to On (path varies by phone).

    4) Need to confirm you have a clear view of the SW sky. A free helpful Android app 'GPS status' rated 4.6 and author khaled can confirm whether have sufficient GPS signal if the extender is needed to make a 911 call. Within the app, yellow circles indicate strong signal whereas orange indicate fair signal, found need four of these with a value above 20 db within the inner circle, which personally three are yellow and one orange, and I'm fine. If say in an apartment and your windows face NE, then likely this extender will not work for you.

    5) You need to have reliable power and cable. If either goes out, your cell phone is then only relying on the weaker cell tower signal which if close by and it loses power too, many but not all have a back up generator attached to them allowing operation for some hours. If do lose either as found once already with a very short and rare cable outage (blue light was blinking on the extender), was able to restart the extender and clear the MME communication error message when the cable service was restored within 15 minutes (5-10 minutes of that was acquiring the GPS signal again).

    If you fail one of the above, and without upgrading your phone for 3) or making other major changes to above i..e. move home, then some info about switching cell phone carriers, the website https://www.cellmapper.net/ can check for any cell phone carrier where your local cell tower is at and for 4G towers, by clicking on the tower, it can triangulate where the radio signal from the tower is pointing down to the street level for average to strong signal (VZW for myself is just outside this triangle). This reports only outdoor coverage, but it is updated frequently. The is also a CellMapper phone app, but it only seems to work with the carrier your phone is using which friends experience is similar. With a 4G phone, often, but not always can port your number and phone which saves you time and dollars, such as with AT&T, info here https://www.att.com/esupport/article...40?gsi=uqNOqdM and can be done a company owned store within 15 minutes or a few hours (make sure the account address given is consistent character for character or the porting can be delayed). AT&T does have an extender which can restrict which mobile phone numbers can use it https://www.att.com/att/microcell/, but they still activate if buy it on Amazon, but was told by an AT&T sales rep to check with the seller that the extender is not tied to another AT&T wireless number before buying. Otherwise, AT&T is recommending their customers use Wifi to boost their indoor signal, which the VZW network extender does not require.

    If you decide the network extender is for you depending on your needs, then also:

    6) Found setting up the extender was easy, the 79 page online user manual https://scache.vzw.com/dam/support/p...user-guide.pdf is among the best of any electronics product I have ever owned. For myself, the network extender software startup was all completed within 15 minutes, though the manual says allow up to an hour to acquire a GPS signal which may be true in some situations. Hardware mounting for wall, ceiling, or if by slight chance the extender antenna will not work inside and roof mounting is required (if no problems with a landlord, HOA, or having physical access to it), then very specific suggestions in the manual of what to buy, but must buy the hardware separately.

    7) The user manual suggest placing the extender on a tall piece of furniture which I did not have near a window. The extender includes a 23 foot GPS antenna signal cable which I instead stretched it across the room and put the antenna - 2 inches by 1 inch by 0.5 inches - strongly taped on top of the room door frame 10 feet from the windows facing the SW sky. I did this because of the next item 8).

    8) The extenders covers 7500 square feet in a circle, so a 48-50 foot radius and allows up to 14 simultaneous call connections for voice or data with an additional connection reserved for 911 calls only. For some in apartment communities or busy neighborhoods, found the network extender's 'self-optimizing network technology to automatically learn its surroundings and adjust its coverage to improve user experience' from a news release from the product launch in 2016 https://www.samsung.com/global/busin...nd-businesses/ does appear to mostly work including blocking signal from reaching neighbors' apartments, the stairway, the outside sidewalk, and parking lot. For the first few hours, the signal was broadcasting to all of those areas where live, but now that has been significantly reduced or nearly eliminated. Though the signal not so much affected by indoor walls, thicker walls which have without windows between apartments and into the stairway also help block the signal. As an additional layer of security, some user product reviews at Amazon and at the VZW website, echo my concern that adding whitelisting to block unknown visitors from using the extender is something looking for (related to Security FAQ #1). This recently has been raised within Verizon which hopefully being considered as a future software release.

    9) With the extender, you are only billed for own VZW account data usage with the extender, not visitors, and audio HD Voice call usage is *very* minimal in KB, whereas video calls and data in MB; however, the extender does use cable provider's bandwidth for both voice and data on smartphone .

    10) The user admin website interface is good, providing info in the last hour, last 8 hours, and last 24 hours, how many connections to the extender and how much of the extender's bandwidth is being used, and GPS signal quality. As far as settings, I only changed the password which protects getting into the user admin interface, but there are other settings should you by chance have custom computer network needs.

    11) Outside of the user manual which includes much troubleshooting help, VZW tech support on the phone have had mixed success getting questions answered, both before ordering the extender and one time afterwards. Found often better to use other online resources.

    Hope this helps for those who need the extender. If any clarifications, please let know. If anyone has this extender now, also be interested to hear your experience with it.
    Last edited by spurkcell; 03-14-2019 at 02:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    I did learn since this below emailing Samsung tech support about this extender, referencing my list items 7) and 8) above. Its not in the user manual, nor did anyone in all levels of VZW tech support 1-800-922-0204 I talked with by phone know or was willing to share.

    "Your mobile device must be within 15 feet* of the Network Extender to connect to it. Once connected, the mobile device can move up to 40 feet* away from the Network Extender and still be able to make a call or use data.

    Once you've connected to the Network Extender network, you can move within a broader coverage area (40 feet from the Network Extender or up to a 5,000 square foot area). You can make and receive calls as usual as long as you stay within the Network Extender coverage area.

    *The coverage area required to establish an initial connection and the broader coverage area of the Network Extender cannot be guaranteed and may vary due to environmental factors, such as physical structures and the strength of external tower coverage."

  3. #3
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    Deeper diving into allowing the network extender to whitelisting numbers, even if that functionality becomes available, only guessing, but this may be a legal liability issue. You have boosted the signal in your home or business with the extender. If you were to whitelist numbers, you have an emergency where need to call 911, fire and police personnel come indoors at your location to rescue you, you have a strong cell signal available with the extender inside, and the police and fire department if they have Verizon 4G LTE mobile phones (can become greater probability when VZW 3G CDMA network is taken down year end), they cannot use the cell network inside your place because they are blocked by your whitelist from doing so. This is somewhat similar to the concept of a cellular jammer somewhere blocking signal which is illegal.

    if this is so, best can hope for is what posted in post above about the initial default 15 foot connect range, plus place the extender antenna with the 23' cable high up away from but in view of the window (see list item 7 above) plus what buffer have outside to the sidewalk. Your home or business environment can well likely vary.

    Thoughts from anyone?

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    Other than LAN related settings, the only adjustment you can really make to the extender is to dial down the output power that is automatically set at startup. Maybe that adjustment will address any concerns you have. I don't see the issue of another Verizon Wireless user accessing my extender. It's really a non-event.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limegrass69 View Post
    Other than LAN related settings, the only adjustment you can really make to the extender is to dial down the output power that is automatically set at startup. Maybe that adjustment will address any concerns you have. I don't see the issue of another Verizon Wireless user accessing my extender. It's really a non-event.
    I just set my Transmit Power setting in Advanced Settings to 75%, which keeps the dBm within my home from 75-98dBm (5 bars closest to extender and 3-4 bars in far reaches inside), with no initial Network Extender connection outdoors, and must be a few feet inside my apartment door to make the initial connection, so this affects range and dBm.
    Last edited by spurkcell; 03-20-2019 at 07:28 PM.

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