June 25, 2008 10:36 am

For folks who live off the beaten path, getting cell phone service at home can be an exercise in futility. InventHelp’s Invention Girl knows that this problem is more the exception than the rule these days, but try telling that to the valley dwellers who can’t even send a text message from the comfort of home.

Now, an invention called a femtocell may be able to help the “cellularly challenged.” Similar in appearance to a wireless router, the femtocell invention boots reception by using technology comparable to Voice Over Internet Protocol used by companies like Vonage and Skype. Basically, the cell phone signal transmission is helped along by the home’s high-speed internet connection.

Sprint’s version, called the Airave, costs $49.99, plus individual customers must pay an additional $15 a month ($30 for families) for the improved coverage. Even for customers who don’t have a landline, these additional fees on top of the regular monthly cellular bill make the feature seem more costly than it’s worth.

Sprint is testing the Airave only in a few major cities and its unclear when the invention will be widely available. There are quite a few technicalities that need to be worked out — such as how Internet providers will cope with cell phone signals reducing their bandwidth, and how to keep femtocells from interfering with other cellular signals — before larger market release is an option.

As we become more and more attached to our cell phones, InventHelp’s Invention Girl bets that signal boosters will become more commonplace. One missed call is one too many these days!

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