updated 12:10 pm EST, Mon January 26, 2009
Verizon femtocell hardware
Verizon today revealed subscribers can now set up an extended cellular network in their home with the launch of the Network Extender. The Samsung femtocell connects to users' existing home broadband connections to supply a CDMA phone network coverage range of about 5,000 feet while maintaining the same call quality. Unlike AT&T's just-introduced 3G MicroCell, however, the Extender doesn't support either 3G (here via EVDO) or GPS.
Users can manage access to their Network Extender, leaving it open or prioritizing access for up to 50 Verizon Wireless callers. Verizon subscribers further down the list can access the network when those above them are not using the Network Extender for a call.
Femtocells such as Verizon's Network Extender rely on an Internet connection to provide clear cellphone reception, especially in remote areas or deep in homes and other buildings where a traditional phone signal from cell towers is weak or unavailable.
The Network Extender is available now, priced at $250, and carries no monthly subscription fees beyond what any one cellphone already uses.