Thursday, August 26, 2010

Walt Mossberg Claims AT&T Microcell can Improve Cellular Reception and Reliability

Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg in his recent Personal Technology column had mostly positive comments about AT&T’s Microcell as well as several other offerings from Sprint and Verizon. 

His bottom line:  “Overall, I can only firmly recommend the MircoCell for situations where coverage is virtually nil, you are willing to spend an extra $150, and you can locate it in a way that works. If you just want to improve a spotty signal, or a few weak areas in your house, you might be disappointed.” W. Mossberg

In a review of the comments posted with this article, many users pointed to a mostly positive experience both in setup and use.  A few had frustrating experiences, but many reported that this has helped them to obtain good coverage in their homes where little or none had existed before.

There were a few misconceptions.  First, it does not need to be located next to a window.    This is only for the initial setup so that it can obtain a gps location signal or to triangulate with existing cell towers.  Once that has happened, it can be moved to a more convenient location.  Secondly, it will work with dsl provided you have more than 384 kb/s downstream and 128 kb/s upstream.

I offered one comment to a business owner who was frustrated with the charges for the AT&T Microcell for his business.  My response was:  I  am empathetic to your challenge. Believe me, as an AT&T employee who has worked in the business enterprise division, I have heard your request on more than one occasion. I had a customer who was desperate for a solution within their data center that could not get a signal from any carrier due to the shielding in the data center. Having a reliable signal in their center was important for security and disaster recovery.

What we would have given for a business grade solution like this. I can tell you that in meetings with our Microcell product managers I have heard them state that having a business grade solution is a priority. However, there are challenges in deploying these solutions due to spectrum license and capacity issues.

Meeting the demands of a business with multiple users and the need for simnplicity in deployment make a Microcell solution challenging.
Still, I am told this is a priority. i suggest you follow up with your AT&T account manager, let them know of your interest. Hopefully, when a solution is finally released, you can take advantage of it.

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