Over Christmas, I was staying at a place away from home that had predictably little network coverage. Right at the place where I was staying the network operator's coverage map had a peculiar hole. So I took a UMTS power amplifier with me that is available, for example at these places, for a less than 200 Euros.
And indeed, at that place I had no 2100 MHz UMTS coverage at all that could be detected by my devices and even 900 MHz GSM coverage was very weak. The power amplifier I brought along has a directional antenna with an opening angle of 60 degrees and a total gain of 7 dbi. Pointed towards the next city with a UMTS base station, my coverage jumped from nothing to -89 dbm and an EcNo of -4. Throughput reached was beyond 6 MBit/s in the downlink direction and 2 MBit/s in the downlink direction. Incredible!
The picture on the left shows the setup. For local distribution I used my Huawei D100 I bought a couple of years ago, basically a 3G to Wi-Fi bridge that uses a 3G dongle for UMTS connectivity. The dongle itself is in the cradle of the power amplifier that induces the signal it picks up via the antenna (not shown) into the antenna of the stick and vice versa. The roll of cable on the right of the picture is the extension cable to the antenna, which I put on the cabinet above. No need to even put it outside the house, just directing it to the nearest UMTS base station was enough.
Over the days I've been at the place, the setup has proven its worth as the Wi-Fi signal of the D100 just perfectly received everywhere. Next time, I should bring a femto along as well so voice telephony also benefits from the setup 🙂