I am trying to find a tool to fix what I am finding is a common problem: poor indoor cell phone reception. I have found a couple third-party solutions offered that range from $400 - $600. These use an outdoor antenna and wire to run to an indoor antenna. Do they really work? Is there anything cheaper? Any suggestions?
Those solutions include an amplifier, an inside and an outside antenna to boost the signal. A single inside antenna without an amplifier is much less expensive and might be all that you need. Look for a magnetic mount cell antenna commonly sold at off-road and recreational vehicle specialty stores. What you need to do is to make sure that the mag mount antenna is sitting on top of a ground plane. Some people use cookie sheets (instead of the top of a vehicle). It needs to be some type of ferrous metal. About an 8" square should work. Placing the antenna outside is best, but in lieu of that near a window should do the trick. A taller antenna is better and costs a little more.
One other thing, it helps if the cell phone has an external antenna jack where the cable for the mag mount antenna plugs in. Some models that may have the antenna jack include LG, Kyocea, Motorola, Samsung and Siemens. Avoid Nokia and AudioVox.
There are external antenna adapters that do not use a physical connection, eliminating the necessity of a built in external antenna jack. Effectiveness of these adapters varies from phone to phone and provider's signal strength. These adapters couple with the internal antenna located at the back of the compact cell phones. One model slides onto your cellular phone's existing built in antenna. Another will slide onto the top back of your cell phone. There is also a universal patch mount model that comes with velcro tape that adheres to the back of cell phones. Some of the external antennas will have a TNC Male or Mini-UHF Male connector so you will need the adpater to have a Female TNC or Mini-UHF Female. Male and Female FME connectors are common as well.
Other possible solutions include using a call forward system to forward cell calls to your land line or using a VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution that would ring to both your cell number and land line number.