Broken internet connection for WiFi calling and [cell signal amplifier]

I use several VOIP phones (Magic Jack, Nettalk, Republic Wireless in WiFi mode) and I have recently learned that our internet provider has a bad circuit to the internet backbone in Portland, OR that will cut out for just a second or two and then automatically restore itself. (They say they are working on a new circuit.) This causes many of these phones to either A) drop the call B) put a dead spot in the conversation - call remains active but I cannot hear or speak to the other party. My question is this: Will Republic Wireless on the latest plan and appropriate phone automatically and seamlessly switch to the cellular system from the WiFi when a temporarily dead internet connection is encountered from the internet backbone side? (To reiterate: these are not issues with the WiFi, router, or cable modem.) If Republic Wireless will do this I will need to invest in a cell signal amplifier as I do not have T-mobile or Sprint coverage inside the house, though I do have coverage on top of the roof.

I don’t think a cell booster would be super useful in this case. Bonded Calling™️ which is Republic Wireless’s solution for combining cell data and wifi data is primarily dependent on wifi signal strength. If your network provider is dropping packets down the line somewhere Bonded Calling™️ has no way of predicting those dropped packets so there will be no smooth transition to cell data in the way you might expect. With Republic Wireless your call will stay connected through short periods of packet loss and as long as the data stream comes back within a short window you will be able to continue the conversation.

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Hi @davidm.uox1j0,

Are you currently using RW with the My Choice plan? If so, on Sprint CDMA or T-Mobile GSM network?

I’ve heard from a friend and read that T-Mobile offers a range extender or amplifier only to their subscribers that are supposed to help in some situations. You might want do your own research and check them out on eBay. Prices seemed to vary for like new or refurbished devices and some seemed quite reasonable to me when checking about a year ago. If it worked for the cell reception and the WiFi/cell transition wasn’t seamless enough you should be able to work around it by disabling WiFi during your voice calls until your ISP resolves their issue. I have no personal experience setting up or using the T-M devices.

:flight_departure:

Thank you for the replies.

@WillyHardy Your explanation is enlightening. A suggestion for your engineers: A routine packet ping with the time to live set to less than 1 second between RW and my WiFi phone in a telephone conversation would give a general idea of the health of the internet connection. If it dropped for 2 - 3 seconds, the pings would not return. Alternately, one could rely on marker packets injected into the data stream to or from the phone on a regular schedule (3 markers per second) and then compare the time stamp on the marker against the receiving end’s clock (either the clock in the phone or the network system clock at RW.) Missing markers would, again, indicate the bad health of the internet connection during the WiFi call. The clocks could be synchronized to the cell tower clocks. This should work for landline internet, though I would expect problems with Amtrak WiFi, Greyhound WiFi, OnStar WiFi.

@PlaneTherapist

I am still on Plan 2.0 with a Moto G3 and I am considering an upgrade. My Dad just joined with the MyChoice plan and a Moto G7 Play. We are in the same house on the same WiFi. I have not experienced problems with RW and the internet dropping yet, because most of my phone time to date has been with the other VOIP phones. This with change with the GrandStream RW extend home Beta service being offered. I suspect the service here is T-Mobile, though my phone I think uses Sprint when I am away from home. As to the cellular amplifiers, I found a thread in the forums that reviewed a number of units in the $1000 to $1500 range, while I am finding them on Amazon for ~$400 - $600 mostly. It is of note the units sold on Amazon required registration with the cellular carrier when they are installed and I don’t think RW currently will assist with that process. T-mobile does not want to hear from me unless I actually have an account with them, which is not RW’s business model.

Here is a link to a eBay search for the devices I mentioned. https://www.ebay.com/b/T-Mobile-Cell-Phone-Signal-Boosters/68030/bn_592374 Apparently they are handed by to T-M to subscribers and end up on various websites for sale when no longer needed. Some in $50 range. All I know is it helped out my friends until T-M reception improved.

:flight_departure:

Hi @davidm.uox1j0,

I’m not sure what you mean by this sentence.
The Republic Wireless Moto G3 uses Sprint’s network when away from Wi-Fi.
Your father’s Moto G7 Play could be using either Sprint’s network or T-Mobile’s, but not both.

We do not have any sort of process for registration of a signal booster. We do not support these products.

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Thank you to all for the replies.

@PlaneTherapist: Thank you for the link to E-bay. I see what you are saying. One hopes that since these products are T-mobile branded, they would work. However, when I read the comments sections, commenters were stating that the units still needed to be registered with a T-mobile account and the units seemed to need an internet connection (which would be a duplication of what RW is doing.)

@southpaw: We are in 98569. I am pretty sure the cell towers downtown are T-mobile. Sprint comes from across the Harbor, but they may also have a carry agreement on some of the towers downtown. My phone starts working downtown, as does my Dad’s new phone. It is just with all the Douglas fir trees, the cell phone signal goes over our house instead of into the house, with the exception of Verizon who has more towers in town. The WiFi connection has been wonderful, except for the 2 - 3 second “burps” that occur randomly through the day due to the ISP’s main connection to Portland. I hope they get it repaired soon. They have been very good about maintaining their equipment in the past. Thank you for your contribution to this thread.

Hi @davidm.uox1j0,

The Moto G3 can not use T-Mobile’s network, but it can roam on Verizon’s network if local roaming agreements are in place.

If you’d like to know what network your father’s phone is using, you can check in his RW app.

A phone outfitted with a GSM SIM card is using T-Mobile’s network. A phone outfitted with a CDMA SIM card is using Sprint’s network.

I hope your internet provider is able to correct the issue quickly.

Earlier you mentioned the Extend Home feature - just want to make sure you’re aware it’s not available for your Moto G3.

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@southpaw: My Dad’s G7 play is GSM. Thank you for the how-to. I am aware I will need an upgraded account and a new phone for the Extend Home feature.

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Hi @davidm.uox1j0,

One more thing on the Extend Home to consider is unlike a Republic mobile phone, there is no cellular failover or backup. Extend Home would rely entirely on your home Internet connection much as the magicJack and NetTalk devices you mentioned in your original post.

@rolandh: I do understand there is no cellular failover for the extend home product. Thank you for the reminder. The appeal of Extend Home is that I can reduce the number of phone numbers that I am using by sharing at least one of them with the RW cell phone. :slight_smile:

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@davidm.uox1j0 - we have an Extend Home and it works great. We are lucky that our ISP has their system backed up in case of power failure. So we installed a small UPS and have our router, modem, and Extend Home all on backup power too. Won’t last forever, but does give a limited time during short outages. A recent local outage verified the setup :smiley: Something you might want to consider.

Here is a link to coverage maps by RootMetrics for Sprint (CDMA) & T-Mobile (GSM) … they drive the area and also use user feedback. A couple of screenshots included (click to see full image)

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