Carrier Verizon Network Extender Help

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by DCIFRTHS, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. DCIFRTHS macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #1
    If you have a network extender, I'm hoping that you will be able to help me out. I have been receiving conflicting information from Verizon, Samsung (the manufacturer of the NE) and the internet.

    Regarding OPEN and CLOSED access on the network extender:

    I know that by default the network extender will allow any Verizon cell phone, that is close enough to it, to connect and use it for calls. My questions are...

    1) If the network extender is configured to CLOSED access, does that mean that no other devices except for the ones entered into the white list, will have access to the network extender?

    2) How does the priority list factor in? For example: If the network extender's priority list is configured with a phone number, does this EXCLUDE any other device from connecting to the network extender?

    Thanks!
     
  2. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #2
    I've had one for a while configured with closed access. Your phone has to be within a few feet to connect to network extender. Closed access means priority is given based on your list because by law e9111 access is required. The device can handle I think 10 numbers and will hand off number 11 to the tower.

    Since cell phones have to be within a few feet this means in practice you will have max connections when there are a large number of cell phones that try to connect within a few feet.

    Bottom line it works fine, by law the n/e can't stop a connection if there are open slots and it uses your internet. But you do have to be close to connect, a drive by on the street won't do it.
     
  3. DCIFRTHS thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #3
    When your cell phone is connected to the network extender, does the device display that it is connected? For example, my AT&T device displays that it's connected, in the upper left hand corner, when connected to what AT&T calls a Microcell. See image at the end of this post.

    I live in an apartment, and I have heard reports that people in apartments have neighbors that are close enough to connect to the network extender, but not close enough to get a strong enough signal for a quality call experience. Additionally, people in apartments have complained of missed/delayed text messages due to network extenders that were close by.

    My Microcell, made by Cisco, and used on ATT's network works differently. A device can't access the Microcell unless it is added to a list of authorized devices. I have tested this with other AT&T phones although I have not tested 911 calls. BTW, I don't have ANY objections if a 911 call uses my network extender.

    The idea of subsidizing a cell phone carrier by off loading their cellular traffic to my internet connection also rubs me the wrong way. Especially since Verizon charges $250 for one of these devices. What if someone has DSL, and small bandwidth caps? I know it's a small amount of data, but it's the principal.

    My biggest concern is security.
    Article
    Video

    This is a link to what a Verizon tech told me. Is he misinformed, or is it possible that Verizon has changed the way phones connect to the network extenders? When was the last time you have tried to configure yours?

    Thanks so much for your response, and any additional information you can provide.
     
  4. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #4
    I’ll try to answer your questions:

    Open/closed:

    The Verizon portal uses the terminology unrestricted/managed. Managed allows up to 50 devices to get priority, but I do not believe it is closed. I have the older Samsung model without 3G. From the FAQ:

    1. Yes, but only the Network Extender Account Owner can manage access settings in My Verizon. You can set your Network Extender for Open Access or Managed Access.
    • Open Access: Any Verizon Wireless phone within range can use your Network Extender signal
    • Managed Access: You select up to 50 Verizon Wireless numbers to receive prioritized access to your Network Extender
    o Prioritized users get preferred access to the Network Extender
    o Periodic attempts are made to transfer non-prioritized users using the Network Extender to the external Verizon Wireless network
    o When the external Verizon Wireless network signal is unavailable, one non-prioritized user at a time may access the Network Extender, but only when a channel is available
    o If an additional prioritized user needs access and no channels are available, the non-prioritized user will be removed from the Network Extender channel to give the prioritized user access
    o All callers can access the Network Extender for emergency (E911) calls
    Note: Your mobile device must be within 15 feet* of the Network Extender to register with it. Once registered, the mobile device can move up to 40 feet* away from the Network Extender and still be able to make a call or use data.
    The above should answer most of your questions, as far as security, what you posted in the link has little do with your network extender. These people figured out how to hack a network extender to capture the cell phone signals. However, you can always check to see if you are connect to a network extender on Verizon by dialing; #48. That scenario is not one I would worry about.

    So according to the FAQ, the only downside is that you may host one non-prioritized user at a time when a signal is not available. The device does not display an indication you are connected to the network extender, however you can always dial #48 to check.
     
  5. DCIFRTHS thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #5
    Unfortunately, I live in an apartment, and depending on where I place the NE, there are several units that will be within 15 feet of the NE.

    What does the "registering process" consist of? Do you just bring your phone within 15 feet of the NE, and it registers without any user interaction? Is there a confirmation, when it registers?

    The security issue I am concerned with is this: People having unauthorized access to my LAN. Intercepting my cell conversations, and text messages, will yield no interesting information... It is access to my data, and possibly figuring a way to hack into my LAN that concerns me.

    I have to reiterate that NO USER should be able to access the NE, unless I white list them. This is my opinion, and I realize that my opinion is not shared by everyone, but it is what I desire.
     
  6. I7guy macrumors G5

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    #6
    The only confirmation is the "bars" jump. You can dial the special number above to hear the "special" beep. The beep is a two toned distinctive note that indicates when you are making a call through the network extender.

    The security threats you may have read about have to do with using a second, external femtocell to unwittingly cause cell phone to connect to it where the signals can be hacked.

    This threat has been neutralized, as far as I can tell. LAN side the network extender connects to Verizon servers using a VPN. Wirelessly the network extender is secure. As of today the network extender is not hackable from lan side/wan side or wirelessly, although no one makes claims your cell phone signal is private.

    As stated above, the Verizon femtocell, when it's in managed mode, allows one non-whitelisted user when there is no Verizon signal for non-e911 calls.

    I would test this out for you with my own number, but it takes time to ripple through the system.
     
  7. DCIFRTHS thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #7
    Link to the PDF of the EVDO femtocell.

    There are a total of 7 channels, and one of them is dedicated to 911 use only.

    On page 18 and 19 the manual states that the VNE will not allow access to itself, when operating in managed mode, unless a cell tower is unavailable. This defeats the purpose of managed mode, and I believe that they don't know whether they are coming or going...

    Please comment, answer or correct as necessary...

    1. When in managed mode, the Verizon femtocell (referred to as the VNE going forward) allows one caller, not in the white list, to make a call. If the channel is needed for a white listed number, it bumps the non-white listed caller. Correct?
    2. The VNE also leaves one channel always open for 911 calls (per the online manual).
    3. Do you know what would happen if I filled the entire white list with my own phone number, but my phone was NOT within range of the VNE? Would a channel still be open to a caller not in the white list (whether or not a tower was available)?
    4. Does a phone have to be registered on the VNE to make an emergency 911 call? I'm guessing that it doesn't, but who knows at this point?
     
  8. I7guy, Feb 15, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014

    I7guy macrumors G5

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    #8
    You know what? I'll try this with my number. As to number 4, if a phone number is not connected to the network extender, it can't make any phone call, even an e911. If you have an unregistered phone within range of the VNE, than yes, the phone can make an e911 call.

    edit:

    So as an experiment I removed two numbers from the pool of managed numbers from the network extender. I could see the n/e reboot. After the reboot, I could *not* get the two phones whose numbers I removed to connect to the network extender. The reason, there was a Verizon signal from an external tower present, although not as strong as the signal from the n/e.

    This is just supposition as I can't block out a verizon signal. What would happen if you live in a place with zero bars, e.g. no signal? My guess is one non-managed number would be able to connect to the n/e if it is range. However, even if there is a little bit of an external signal, the n/e will not allow the phone to connect.
     
  9. DCIFRTHS thread starter macrumors 6502a

    DCIFRTHS

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    #9

    Wow! Thank you so much for doing this :)

    Your test results are good news to me because my particular unit is positioned in a corner, and gets very little signal because of this - for the most part, I get zero bars. I can only get one FM station in my place!

    I know the unit to the right gets an okay signal, and the unit to the left gets signals with no problems. All I need to worry about is the people above and below me, but there is a lot of concrete, and steel girders in between floors. so it's probably not an issue.

    It's good to know that the VNE is not allowing callers on if there is even a weak signal available.
     

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