My aunt is a StarBand customer in a remote area of Idaho. She has a good internet connection but has never been able to get any sort of phone service to work with it. We understand that her old provider, SunIsp is out of business. She is not a PC users and we are trying to avoid using Skype. We are considering the Verizon Wireless Network Extender which is not recommended for Satellite but might work. It uses an ethernet connection and GPS to create a virtual cell phone tower in your home. I don't know if Skype will work with her connection either. Verizon almost works at her location so we are also considering a YAGI antenna. My questions:
Which options sound most likely to work? Would there be any advantage to upgrading her StarBand modem? We would only do that if it led to some sort of telephone connection. Can you think of something we are overlooking? Thank you in advance.
The delay caused by a two-way satellite system may be an issue for voice over IP, and due to this a Verizon network extender is practically out of the question. It'd probably be better to spend that $250 on an antenna setup to grab the nearest cellular signal from a ways away (a decent antenna setup, including an amplifier, may run you around $300). That way your cellular signal travels twenty miles instead of twenty thousand.
I am reporting back with results. The YX500-CEL booster did not work. I do think a very tall antenna might work but it would be an expensive experiment if it didn't work.
The Verizon Network Extender DID work with less latency lag than her previous VOIP solution. The jury is still out on it. I had to call Verizon and they said it was getting errors typical of inadequate band width. They recommend disabling the firewall on the router which I will have somebody do. I am a 14-hour drive away. Call quality was clear without much delay but usually broke up once or twice in a conversation.
Also, I set up a mini-netbook PC with Skype and it works quite well although she does not have the modem recommended. I am leaving it with her for backup.
Her previous service Sun-ISP has reorganized and is back in business but it never worked well for her and we are probably not going to try it again. I talked to Wired Sky and we will try that if the Verizon option doesn't work. My aunt loves the Verizon Extender because she can just use her regular cell phone. We went from zero bars to 4 bars in the house and it worked for quite a distance outside.
Thanks to everybody for the suggestions. They were invaluable.