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By seanxair
#1663415
Can anyone advise on mobile phone signal boosters for domestic use?

My elderly folks live near the N/S border in NI and suffer from very moderate O2 signal (which is the best of them locally) in the house. Phones are hunting for signal and roam on to other networks promoting welcome messages etc. They are both past going outside to stand in the field where the signal works.

Also broadband and wifi are rubbish so wifi calls are not really an option even if I could train them tech wise :(

My siblings and I would pay for a booster of some sort but are unsure of what to do. The O2 offering only works on O2 numbers it seems. We need something that works across all networks as mother has carers coming several times daily and family between us are on all the main networks.

Have had a look at various websites such as https://www.mobilesignalboosters.co.uk/ and see they can be quite expensive which is fine but would be interested in any first hand experience.

Many thanks,

Sean
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By rikur_
#1663417
I used to use signal boosters 5+ years ago and got a noticable improvement for my study so I could work from home, but the rest of the house wasn't much/any different.

As an alternative it might be worth seeing what EE 4g coverage is available. As a lot of their rural coverage uses the 800MHz spectrum I've found it really very good when walking in remote areas, and EE supports voice calls on 4G which I *think* O2 don't universally.
Obviously they'd also need a 4G phone.
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By rikur_
#1663423
Also broadband and wifi are rubbish so wifi calls are not really an option even if I could train them tech wise

ps: WiFi calling will work on surprisingly poor broadband if appropriately configured. I'm not sure what you class as rubbish, but I regularly use it on a 4mbps ADSL connection. Modern WiFi calling such as offered by EE is transparent to the end user, no special apps required - just needs a compatible phone (and I *think* is not available to PAYG, only contract customers)
#1663439
rikur_ wrote:As an alternative it might be worth seeing what EE 4g coverage is available. As a lot of their rural coverage uses the 800MHz spectrum I've found it really very good when walking in remote areas


O2 and Vodafone use 800MHz everywhere which is why they tend to work better in buildings.

rikur_ wrote:EE supports voice calls on 4G which I *think* O2 don't universally.


Northern Ireland should as it's all been swapped out for our equipment now. :D
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By rikur_
#1663446
@Paul_Sengupta . Just curious - is there a source of info anywhere as to who is using which bands where? I'd been lead to believe Voda were still using quite a bit of band 7 for 4G? (with the claim being that this was better than O2's band 20, because it gives more bandwidth/higher speeds)
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By stevelup
#1663448
Just be aware that O2's WiFi calling implementation is inadequate (to put it politely) in that SMS doesn't work. So you don't get any texts, nor do you get voicemail notifications whilst on WiFI calling.

Somehow, EE have managed to have this working for at least half a decade...
By riverrock
#1663475
If you're on the NI border, use one of the providers (such as Three) which don't care which side of the border you are on.
Three also does wifi calling. If you buy a compatible handset from them, you don't need an app (works natively) or the app works fine on all android phones, although you do then need to use the app for sending SMS / making calls.
Dissadvantage of three is that they have pretty much entirely disabled access to their previously partnered 2G network and they don't have as much bandwidth so coverage can be more patchy.
I suggest trying a coverage map, although the maps aren't perfect as indoor coverage will vary (lots out there or you may need to go to invidual provider websites, this is a crowd sourced one: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/mobile- ... verage-map )
#1663476
rikur_ wrote:@Paul_Sengupta . Just curious - is there a source of info anywhere as to who is using which bands where?


Not really, not that I know of.

As a rough guideline, both O2 and VF have 800 everywhere for 4G. O2 have 1800 virtually everywhere urban. O2 and VF have 2100 in a lot of urban places but not everywhere. VF are putting in 2600 sporadically. O2 are putting in TDD 2300 (the other frequencies being FDD) mostly in cities but there's not a lot of it out there at present, but growing by the day.

We've been getting up to about 165Mb/s in tests recently on O2.
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By seanxair
#1663525
riverrock wrote:If you're on the NI border, use one of the providers (such as Three) which don't care which side of the border you are on.
Three also does wifi calling. If you buy a compatible handset from them, you don't need an app (works natively) or the app works fine on all android phones, although you do then need to use the app for sending SMS / making calls.
Dissadvantage of three is that they have pretty much entirely disabled access to their previously partnered 2G network and they don't have as much bandwidth so coverage can be more patchy.
I suggest trying a coverage map, although the maps aren't perfect as indoor coverage will vary (lots out there or you may need to go to invidual provider websites, this is a crowd sourced one: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/mobile- ... verage-map )


I have a 3 wifi dongle which doesn't work at the location due to no signal which bears out on the map. However I haven't tried it recently so will have another shot in a couple of weeks when over next. EE show zilch map coverage too but pretty sure my phone was showing signal indoors there when last over (didn't actually use it) so that may be worth trying too. Annoyingly O2 and EE work perfectly up 5 outside steps to the west of the house.
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By Trent772
#1663612
Tell them you have thick stone walls and your reception is carp.

Say unless you send something, you will leave.

A 3G omgomulator will be supplied that plugs into your router that will flood your house with 3g.
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By seanxair
#1663619
Trent772 wrote:Tell them you have thick stone walls and your reception is carp.

Say unless you send something, you will leave.

A 3G omgomulator will be supplied that plugs into your router that will flood your house with 3g.


What is an omgomulator? Never heard the term before and google isn't returning much!
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By rikur_
#1663624
A picocell (that will Google!) that plugs into your broadband and gives local 3G coverage.
https://ee.co.uk/help/help-new/general/ ... signal-box
http://service.o2.co.uk/IQ/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE?New,Kb=Companion,question=ref(User):str(Business),CASE=56136
https://www.vodafone.co.uk/network/call ... ure-signal

You may find that they try to push you towards a phone that supports WiFi calling natively instead.
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#1663634
I paid a whopping £120 in 2010 for a Vodafone Sure Signal, and the results were dire. I don't know whether that was due to my poor internet speeds or the Sure Signal. But in the end I threw it away.

I recently changed to o2 for their Wi-Fi calling, and whilst stevelup's caution re: no SMS is valid and a pain, the whole thing is vastly superior to my experience with a Sure Signal. (My adsl speeds are now quite good (~28 down, ~8 up)). The added benefit of Wi-Fi calling is that it works wherever you have wi-fi, not just in the house.
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By rikur_
#1663637
I had the EE signal box for a quite a few years for our personal phones, and it worked fine - switched it off last year when all our phones were capable of WiFi calling.

I had the O2 box for a couple of years for my work phone, and I was forever missing incoming calls. (This was ~ 2011-2012, so things may well have improved since).

I had no significant issues with call quality on either - and for much of that time I was on an 8mbps/384kbps ADSL line - but I think the quality of your router is important in this. Poor quality routers often don't handle contention on the upload link well, so if you send a big email whilst on the phone it might all go a bit wrong.