Extending your AT&T Cisco 3G MicroCell

Have lousy AT&T reception in your home or office?  Get an AT&T Microcell Wireless Cell Signal Booster Tower Antenna.  Want even better reception?  Add an external antenna.

These work real well in that they act as a repeater taking in the cell signal then re-transmitting within your building.  The issue is that the deeper within your building you place this extender, the further it is from your window and less likely it is to receive a GPS signal.  In order to receive a GPS signal, the GPS antenna must be able to see the sky where the satellites are present.  No sky, no satellite signal.  Even worse, no GPS signal, no extender functionality.  The GPS signal is used to provide location services for 911 calls in case of emergency.  The software within the extender is intentionally designed to disable the extender unless there is a consistent GPS location so you need to get a consistent, accurate and strong signal if you want to use these extenders.

The internal antenna on the AT&T Cisco Microcell isn’t great.  For those not wanting to put the device in their window, there is a solution available to extend your reach.  It’s called an MCX antenna.  They come with wiring that ranges to 25 feet.  Just plug one end into your device and the other end has an antenna the size of an inch or so.  Then keep your Microcell wherever you like.  You can also purchase extension cords but do not exceed 50 feet unless you have a powered antenna.

We have always liked the Gilsson MCX Antenna because of the superior gain and 25 foot wire.  The higher the gain number, the stronger your signal will be.  Be sure to purchase an antenna that has what they call an MCX connection.  Ensure that you purchase the proper gender ending.  The cable length that you need will be determined by the length from your window to your extender.  The antenna does not have to be placed outdoors.  A window sill will work well as long as there is a clear view of the sky.  Don’t place it in a window that is obstructed by trees or a larger building.  Antennas from Gilsson typically start at $20 then increase depending upon the length of the cable.

There are other antennas available at a potentially lower price.  You will find the signal strength to be less than the Gilsson models.  If the antenna cable is going to be very short, then the gain may not matter much.

Attaching the antenna is quick, easy and helps immensely to obtain the 911 signal.  Detailed instructions on how to do this can be found in the user manual.  If you take a look at the picture that accompanies this article, you will see it points to an antenna port at the top of the router on the back.  It is a simple matter of plugging it into that port then extending the cable to where the puck sees the sky.  Placing the antenna on a windowsill or even under a skylight should work well.