If you live outside the range of a Sprint cell tower, there may be an easy answer to help improve your reception and provide you with a more powerful signal. This device, called the AIRAVE, is provided by Sprint and uses what is called a femtocell. A femtocell works as a miniature cell tower to increase reception in your home or office.

To find out if a Sprint AIRAVE device will work where you live, check out the Sprint coverage map and enter the address where you wish to use it. This will allow Sprint to immediately determine if an AIRAVE access point will work at your home or office.

Sprint AIRAVE: Access Point That WorksFor the AIRAVE to work properly, however, there are several mandatory requirements for which you must qualify. First, before tackling hooking up the AIRAVE, you will need a high speed broadband Internet connection for the AIRAVE to work properly. Second, you will need to know the AIRAVE’s MAC address and have your phone number ready before you call Sprint technical support to activate the unit. After activation, the unit should start working in approximately 30 minutes.

In my case, my phone was lucky to get a bar or two inside my home before setting up the Sprint AIRAVE, but if I drove about two blocks from my house, the signal would jump to four bars. I came to the conclusion that my house must sit in one of those fringe areas on the border of receiving fair reception vs. good reception. So I was pleasantly surprised when, after activating the AIRAVE, my phone reception increased to four bars, with three bars being the worst reception, no matter where I was in my home. Additionally, I found that dropped phone calls ceased, the constant line static was gone, and I was able to rely on my cell phone for incoming and outgoing calls with assured clarity.

That gives rise to the question: will a Sprint AIRAVE work for you? Maybe. The reason I say maybe is because I have read some forums where users offered not so flattering comments about their experiences with this product and complained that they had noticed no improvement of signal. Some also complained about the problems they had experienced with Sprint technical support, which surprised me since my own experience was uneventful and went smoothly. Your mileage may vary.

Comments welcome.