Solving A Cellular Signal Problem

Wilson Electronics zBoostMy wife’s family is from Thorndale, TX. Bert, her oldest brother, lives at the family’s homestead. In his late 60’s Bert recently got his first cell phone. It’s as pretty basic flip-phone. It’s exactly what he needs. However, he’s having trouble receiving calls when he’s in the house.

The rear portion of the old house has a steel roof. That’s also where Bert’s bedroom is located. As far as I know the cellular signal is ok in the yard, and even in the front portion of the house. But if Bert is in the rear of the house his cell phone loses it’s connection to the nearest tower.

Bert’s cell service is a prepaid account. I don’t know what company provides the service, but Googling for the phone number I see it belongs to Cingular. That suggests that the service provider is using AT&T’s network. This tells us what kind of network it uses (GSM) and the frequencies involved.

A week ago I tweeted an inquiry about cellular signal boosters. Rakesh Agrawal replied, telling of a good experience with Wilson Electronics Wi-Ex signal boosters. Apparently Rakesh’s company, Snapstream, had cellular connectivity issues in their former location. He described that building as a metal box.

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IT Expo West 2012 In Austin, TX

TMC’s IT Expo West 2012 in Austin TX is October 2-5th this year. I had a quite a good time at IT Expo West 2011. I’m leaning towards attending again but as yet not committed.

TMC is offering a discounted all access registration for just $99, but only until the end of June. That’s end of day tomorrow. I guess that I’ll need to decide shortly.

Talking With Two Utility Linemen

Two linemen from BG&E had to get onto my property to restore the power lines to my neighbors garage apartment. While they were doing the work I took them some cold bottled water and chatted them up about their experience working on the post-Ike recovery here in Texas. They tell about what-you-would-expect in terms of a tale of chaos theory.

They were working restoring power for Entergy customers in another area last week. Come Sunday they were done and so wondering where they’d go next. Centerpoint didn’t get around to accepting their help until 11pm Sunday night, at which point they were instructed to gather at the Humble Civic Center parking lot Monday morning.

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Do I Dare Hope? Broadband Innovation In Rural Texas

Gigaom has an article this morning about a small company rolling out high speed wireless data service into rural areas of Texas. It certainly sounds like an impressive service. If I were in a covered service area I’d be all over this. Hopefully some of this trickles upstream to cities like Houston.