That salesman doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. That reminds me of when TV went digital. I went to the local RadioShack for info and the guy me that TV in my area was no longer available. I found later that now only was it still available, it was greatly improved with the digital change. But it takes the correct equipment.
Our worst reception was in northern Michigan (Presque Isle County). I own a small farm there - in the middle of nowhere. My cell phone would get one bar, off and on IF I stood out in the middle of the road. In the house it got nothing. When I got the amp and a small window-mount antenna, the signal went to bars and calls worked fine. When I installed a roof mount antenna, I get full signal (5 bars). It worked so well we bought a 2nd amp and antennas to try with our USB wireless Internet. Same success.
First you need to make sure you've got some remnant of a signal. If you can get on bar, off and on - you're probably fine. Then you ought to make sure what frequency you are on. Now adays just about all cell phones and wireless Internet 3G accounts are one of two bands. 824-896Mhz & 1870-1950Mhz So, you buy a amp and antenna to match. Best way to be safe is buy "dual signal" amps and antennas.
I got two different brand amps and compared in many sitations. Both pretty much work the same.
Number one is: CA-819 - Cyfre Dual Band Direct Connect Amplifier. Shop around. I got mine for $130 with a portable antenna, DC and AC power supply, etc.
Number two is: Wilson mobile amp kit # 811211 I also got it for around $130.
Now - a few more things. You have to decide how you want to use the amps. My USB internet device (made by Novatel) has an external antenna jack. So, to use an amp you get the correct cable to connect the amp to the USB. This is the unit that Millenicom and Verizon use.
If you want to hook an amp to a cell phone -it goes like this. Most cell phones lack antenna ports. So, you can use a cheap cradle. This is something the phone sits in. No hard-wire hookup. Works great but - will only work on one phone at a time. If you want to spend a lot more money - you buy a "whole house repeater amp." This will be wireless and make a strong signal everywhere in the house so everybody's cell phones work - even all at once.
Back to the wireless USB. If you get a special router - you can run multiple computers off it now problem. We have five computers in our house that all work off that one USB.
Verizon operates on the 850 mhz and the 1900 mhz frequencies on the CDMA spectrum; on the Analog spectrum, 850 mhz is used. Analog is relatively universal, however decomissioned in most other nations (as well, Europe uses 900 mhz, even under analog networks); CDMA is not a universalized technology like GSM, that is not widely accepted as the communication standard.
AT&T voice – 850 /1900 and 3G, and 4G uses 700
Sprint is all on 1900 and 4G that is on 2500
T-Mobil has voice on 1900 and 3G/4G on AWS 1710–1755 and 2110–2155
Verizon has voice on 850/1900 , 3G on 850/1900, and 4G on 700
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