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Airave: Getting Great Signal Reception At Home
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Old 08/18/2009, 05:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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See the Palm Pre Tips and Tricks for many other tips.

Do you get poor Sprint cellular reception at home?

The Sprint Airave is your own personal cell tower. Check to see if Airave is available in your area.

The Airave is a "Femtocell" about the size of a book that plugs into your home network router using a standard network Ethernet cable. Up to 6 phones can use the Airave at a time seeing it as they would any normal tower.

Key facts
At up to 20' away you should get full bars and 50% signal up to 40' away.
The maximum range is 50' so put it near where you will be.
The Airave must be within 20' of a window so that it's GPS can get satellite reception.
The Airave only works in the US (the reason for the GPS).
You should still use a wireless router (WiFi) for data.
Up to 3 calls can use the Airave at one time.
Most Sprint cellphones work with the Airave but not Nextel, prepaid or other networks.
Call automatically transfer to a local tower when you leave Airave coverage.

Save your battery
One other huge benefit to the Airave is that it can greatly improve battery life. Cell phones use much more power if they are constantly searching for signals or switching from Roam to Sprint. With full power, the cell phone can settle back and relax.

Setup
Once you get your Airave, follow the instructions in the Quick Start to connect it to your router. Call Sprint Customer Service at 1-888-211-4727 for activation. The secret direct line is 866-556-7310. Expect at least 40 minutes on the phone. It may take anywhere from 60 minutes to overnight for the Airave to find the satellites and finish it's setup.

GPS
One tip, not in the manual: Use the external GPS antenna when you first set up and even run it out a window (pointed to the sky) until it can acquire the satellites. The Airave needs good GPS signal to set up. Once you are set up, still consider using the external antenna if the Airave will not be near a window. Even taping the external antenna to the top of the Airave is better than the internal antenna.

Cost
Call Sprint at 888-211-4727 to ask about the Airave. The Airave costs $99 plus $4.99 per month for one phone. Up to 3 users is $20 per month. But many users report that if they politely explain that they have had constant issues with poor signal strength at home, they have been given Airave and had their $20 per month fee waived indefinitely. You will have the same cost per minute as you would under your normal plan unless you pay for unlimited Airave minutes.

To get the charges waived, you may need to ask for a supervisor or to have your problem "escalated." Key things to tell them:
Airave service is verified in your area.
This is an ongoing constant problem for ___ months or ___ years
You get almost no signal
How far you have to go to get signal (down the street or to a neighbors yard?)
You have multiple phones getting low signal (friends on Sprint at your house have the same issues).

Use
Use your phone as you normally would.
When you first connect to the Airave you will hear a beep to let you know.
Dial *99 to confirm coverage.
Your phone may at first show your location as the phone or Cable company office.

References
Sprint Airave main page - lots of great links
Check to see if Airave is available in your area
Quick Start
Getting Started
User Guide
Troubleshooting
Sprint Airave FAQ
Sprint Airave Forums
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Last edited by milominderbinder; 06/30/2011 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 08/18/2009, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This device really did make a difference for me but now -- for some reason -- it stopped functioning. Requested another from Sprint who told me it was on back order until Sept 09. Sometimes Sprint will wave the cost of buying the device.
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Old 08/18/2009, 08:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i just called today and requested one. i moved into a brand new condo building in a "fair" coverage area (according to the premiere coverage map) yet i cannot even get a roam signal. gf's verizon phone gets 3 bars solid. i go a block away and get 1g.
i was told by retentions that the unit was 49.99, they would waive activation, and it's 4.99 monthly of course. i had intended to move gf to my second sprint family line this month, however like janrif said above the airrave is on backorder till "mid-sept".
i placed the order anyways in hopes to be first in line for one. i also plan to call several stores in the area to see if they have a unit.
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Old 08/23/2009, 01:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Sent an email to Sprint's ecustomer care and received a return call within an hour, they are sending me out an Airrave, I should have it no later than next Wed. They also waived all charges including the $4.99 monthly charge
Thank you
ToyMan
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Old 08/25/2009, 10:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ToyMan View Post
Sent an email to Sprint's ecustomer care and received a return call within an hour, they are sending me out an Airrave, I should have it no later than next Wed. They also waived all charges including the $4.99 monthly charge
Thank you
ToyMan
Way to go ToyMan!

Anyone else having success? What is the status on backorders?

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Old 08/25/2009, 03:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I emailed Sprint about the poor reception in my home. The CS rep called me after about 4 days later and offered me an airave free of charge and will waive the monthly $4.99 fee for 2 years. She said she has to charge me $56.78 for the airave ($49.99+tax) and will credit my account for the same amount. I won't receive it until mid September because they are on back order.
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Old 08/26/2009, 06:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've had an Airrave for about 4 months. I live several miles from any towers and the signal inside my house was poor, and unusable in the basement. Now that I have the device I'm pretty happy with it when I'm in or on my property. I have half an acre and it works anywhere I go.
There is a major flaw though that I seem to have. It will not handoff to or from the airave when I am on a call and enter or leave the coverage zone. I get halfway down my block and drop the call when I'm leaving and pull into my driveway and drop the call I'm on when coming home.
There is an 800 number on the box which I tried calling but was useless.
One other nice feature, it works anywhere you have a highspeed connection so I bring it travelling.

I also want to correct the OP. It definately does transmit data just not 3G, and it is only compatible with 3 phones at a time not 5.
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Old 08/28/2009, 08:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Before I got my Pre on day one (and with no problems since then), I called Retentions and told them I wanted to buy a Pre but I barely got any signal (voice or data) at home (City limits of Dallas and the Sprint site indicated good tower coverage here) inside or out of the house. It (Samsung A900) would go back and forth to roaming. They sent me one for free and it works great even though the Pre's signal strength indicator does fluctuate.

I have noticed an anomaly when using Locater Services at home with the Airave in that it initially thinks I'm in San Angelo (TX I guess) but correctly locates me after a second or two. My guess is that this service uses cell towers (Airave) 1st then GPS, which locates me accurately.

Bottom line is that it works great.
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Old 08/28/2009, 09:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Good to hear everyone's successx stories. Keep them coming!

I will add a note tat the Pre GPS service when using Airave might say your DSL or Cable Modem server location.

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Old 08/28/2009, 09:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Milominderbinder View Post
I will add a note tat the Pre GPS service when using Airave might say your DSL or Cable Modem server location.

- Craig
OP updated. Thank you!

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Old 08/28/2009, 09:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Does anyone know how it will affect Verizonwireless's coverage if my wife has Verizon?
I just switched to Sprint so I'll need to know.
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Old 08/28/2009, 09:26 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bobwonderful View Post
Does anyone know how it will affect Verizonwireless's coverage if my wife has Verizon?
I just switched to Sprint so I'll need to know.

Thats a great question...I didn't even think of that and I already ordered it. My wife is also on Verizon.
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Old 09/01/2009, 12:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have poor reception in my home and tried the Airave. However it didn't work well for the following reason. Airave must be plugged into the first (main) router in your home (as explained by the Airave technical rep). In my home I have three routers (and the first one is my Vonage router). This means that I had to plug the Airave into my Vonage router. However Airave and Vonage are both VOIP (Voice over IP) applications. So they're both competing for the same resources. Having them both negatively affected the voice quality of my Sprint calls and my home Vonage calls. There were time lags, dropped voice segments, etc. So I had to return the Airave and cancel the service.

So although Airave does work in many cases, you'll probably have a problem if you have regular phone service provided by a VOIP provider.
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Old 09/02/2009, 06:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I love my Airave. I was always having dropped calls or couldn't even make calls on every sprint phone I have had. I never drop calls with Airave. It is great! I use to have to sit outside on my porch to get a signal. Not much fun in the winter.
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Old 09/03/2009, 11:57 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I just got off the phone with Sprint's retention department and my airave will be delivered sometime next week. Airave and monthly fee has been waived for two years, which is awesome. She did say that they are backorder but one will be deliver to me next week.
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Old 09/03/2009, 02:09 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by wuthang1976 View Post
I just got off the phone with Sprint's retention department and my airave will be delivered sometime next week. Airave and monthly fee has been waived for two years, which is awesome. She did say that they are backorder but one will be deliver to me next week.
Let us know how it goes!

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Old 09/03/2009, 02:37 PM   #17 (permalink)
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It's of course on backorder. Hopefully this will give me coverage inside of my house. I really hope so as I will be disconnecting my Verizon Wireless service soon. My problem was that I went to the Sprint store to get one and they said call customer service, well customer service told me to go to the store. I called several stores and no luck. Then they said to call telesales who then transferred me to customer care, then some guy said that I should go to the account services department. Finally I got to the account services department and they took my order. The guy who I dealt with, the first thing out of his mouth was that he heard that I was leaving Sprint. He then told me that I could get the Airave and that my account would be credited.

Call 866-840-9537. Account Services Department.
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Old 09/03/2009, 04:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Milominderbinder View Post
Let us know how it goes!

- Craig
For sure brother.

Quick advice: it's probably easier if you just called Sprint's retention department and explained to them about your situation. Sure nuff the csr will explain and offer the airave to you. Telling you that you are a loyal customer and they want to help. Believe me, Sprint customer service has come a long way and they want to do their best to satisfy their customers. They're on back order but call them anyway and reserve one.

Last edited by wuthang1976; 09/03/2009 at 04:52 PM. Reason: ...
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Old 09/03/2009, 04:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Any suggestions on how to improve reception in an office when you are not close to any windows. I recently moved "cubicles" in my office and now I have no reception. It's killing me. Any suggestions at all would be welcome.
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Old 09/05/2009, 05:45 PM   #20 (permalink)
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i'm gonna have to try this Airave..i've read some things abt it, but it's been a while. i'll hv to research it some more, but sounds like i may like it.
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