ZEN and the Art of Cell Phone Signals

In a continuation of yesterday’s rant about poor cell phone reception with my new phone, there appears to be a really cool consumer product from Spotwave Wireless called ZEN. When released (supposedly in April 2006), this product will be a relatively lost cost/easy installation product for the home. The MSRP is going to be $399. The nice thing about this product (assuming it lives up to the hype) is that it does not require external installation and it uses less power.

Here is some the marketing about the product:

ZEN is the only network-protecting, intelligent coverage system available for the consumer market. It uses patented technology from Spotwave’s commercial-grade products to constantly monitor indoor signal strength – preventing oscillation (radio network feedback) and interference while ensuring the best signal possible for users. While “dumb” boosters and traditional repeater products can create interference that reduces user performance and can degrade network capacity, ZEN’s intelligent power management actually preserves – and can even enhance the performance of PCS networks. It also emits very low power to cell phones and other wireless devices, extending your battery life while it improves your signal…

  • Out-of-box solution – simple to install
  • Sleek design blends into any decor
  • Supports 1900 Mhz band (PCS)
  • Enhances both voice and data coverage (CDMA, GSM, EVDO, UMTS)
  • Works with most wireless carriers
  • Patented network-protecting technology

Can you hear me now? NO!

Verizon’s annoying commercials proclaiming their best in the country network use the tag line, Can you hear me now? Well I can’t!

After two years of Cingular service, we needed new phones and wanted to make some changes to our plan. After a couple of months of reviewing all the features and pricing, we decided to go with Verizon. [rant on] I’m going to rant for a minute about how companies these days do nothing to keep their existing customers, they are only trying to entice know ones. Cingular did nothing to make it advantageous for us to stay. [rant off]

Well, I’m sitting in my office and I get absolutely no signal. Occasionally I get 1 blip, but most of the time nothing. At least with Cingular I got 1 bar and could reliably receive calls (now hearing anything clearly was a different issue). With Verizon’s network, my calls go right to voicemail. I am really annoyed (and stuck with thing for 2 years).

The only potential saving grace is that they make wireless amplifiers for building that can help get the signal distributed within the building. There are a couple of products with the PowerMax DA4000SBR from Digital Antenna being one of them. The units cost about $700, I figure by the time you add installation and the remaining cabling and antennas it will be about $1200. So I might (just maybe) be able to convince the powers that be to get one installed in the building to improve everyone’s reception. Stay tuned to see if I can make that happen.

Cheap Cell Accessories

Fern and I are getting new cell phone (I’ll post about it when they arrive) so we needed to update our cell phone accessories. I did a bunch of searching and I found what I thought were the best prices for items at BarginCell.Com. But one more search revealed that they had a an eBay store BargainCell@eBay. So last night we ordered, 2 car charges, 2 hands free kits (really cheap ones), 1 holster, 1 leather case, and 1 data cable. All for less than $16. That total was less than the data cable at their main site. We’ll probably have to wait a few days for the items to ship, but the saving should be worth it.