Monthly Archives: March 2011

  • Wi-Ex Looks Forward to a Pro-Consumer Decision from the FCC Regarding Cell Phone Signal Boosters

    March 28, 2011 - Leave a Comment

     Wi-Ex announced today that it is optimistic about the FCC’s upcoming ruling on cell phone signal boosters.  The FCC has announced that this issue is on the April 7th Agenda. 

    “Based on recent news leaks and positive chatter at CTIA regarding an FCC ruling expected in early April, we are optimistic that the FCC will rule pro-consumer,” said Lloyd R. Meese, CEO of with Wi-Ex.  “With hundreds of thousands of boosters already helping municipal, state and federal governments, military installations, security agencies, businesses, healthcare facilities and most importantly consumers, we are hoping that what we have heard is true.  It would be a win for the consumers.”

    The zBoost line allows users to take full advantage of data, voice and Internet services on their iPhones, BlackBerry, DROID, connected devices, smartphones and other mobile devices including 3G high-speed data and video, instant messaging, pictures and more - at home, in their personal workspace or in a corporate office, both in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Wi-Ex Expands its Commercial, Corporate and Machine-to-Machine Solutions

    March 28, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    New zBoost Blog Provides Resource on Mobile Trends,
    Teleworking and zBoost's Business-Centric Solutions

    Wi-Ex showcased its commercial, corporate and machine-to-machine solutions  at CTIA Wireless in booth # 3059.  zBoost also launched its news zBoost Business Blog, "zBoost: Increasing Signal, Increasing Business."   The zBoost Business Blog ( will provide a resource for businesses and today's mobile workforce to stay up-to-date on mobile trends, teleworking and zBoost's business-centric solutions.

    The zBoost line allows users to take full advantage of data, voice and Internet services on their iPhones, BlackBerry, DROID, connected devices, smartphones and other mobile devices including 3G high-speed data and video, instant messaging, pictures and more - at home, in their personal workspace or in a corporate office, both in the U.S. and abroad.

    According to IDC Technology Spotlight From Consumer-Centric to Business Essential: Extending Smartphone and Mobile Broadband Device Service into the Workplace, IDC #1073, January, 2011, "Used for years to improve sub-par cell service in homes, signal-boosting technology has come of age to provide increased signal strength throughout a business facility."

    "The expansion of our corporate, machine-to-machine and commercial solutions, are in direct response to our customers and the changes in the industry," said Lloyd R. Meese, CEO of Wi-Ex.  "The rapid adoption of smartphones including iPhones and BlackBerry, tablets and other connected devices has caused a shift in the way businesses operate.  From M2M applications to large commercial complexes to the rising number of teleworkers, the zBoost line provides a business-centric solution for improving poor in-door cell phone coverage."  

    The "zBoost: Increasing Signal, Increasing Business" Blog will focus on providing insight into the role of cell phones in today's business environment.  With increases in gas prices and the flexibility smartphones provide corporate America, the zBoost Business Blog will feature a monthly Teleworking Tuesdays and provide tips, testimonials and insight for teleworkers. In addition, the blog will provide a resource for the latest mobile trends and information on zBoost products and solutions.

  • International CTIA Wireless 2011

    March 24, 2011 - Leave a Comment










  • Wi-Ex Announces Launch of Machine-to-Machine, M2M, Division

    March 23, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Yesterday, at the International CTIA Wireless 2011 show, we launched our machine-to-machine (M2M) division. The new division will focus on providing M2M solutions for key markets including consumer facing point-of-sale devices such as kiosks, vending machines and ATMs, mobile data collection, health and medical monitoring and industrial machine-to-machine communications.

     We  will be displaying the zBoost consumer and commercial products at CTIA Wireless in booth # 3059. “While some consumers have become accustomed to dropped calls and slow data, many M2M applications carry vital information such as healthcare and financial making cell phone signal quality a top priority.”

    "The launch of the Wi-Ex M2M division is in direct response to the growing need for reliable service in this expanding market. Recent reports predict the number of cellular M2M connections will grow to more than 160 million by the end of 2011 and up to 390 million by 2014," said Lloyd R. Meese, CEO of Wi-Ex.

    To find out more about Wi-Ex's M2M Division, click here.

  • Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    March 17, 2011 - Leave a Comment

  • Wi-Ex will be at CTIA 2011 in Orlando!

    March 14, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Come by booth 3059 and check us out!

  • Tech Buzz: "What South by Southwest is and why it matters"

    March 11, 2011 - Leave a Comment




    (CNN) -- Every March, thousands of young, jeans-wearing techies, filmmakers and musicians descend upon Austin, Texas, harboring dreams of getting noticed and hitting it big.

    They come not just for the balmy weather or the Tex-Mex food but for South by Southwest, a collection of conferences and festivals that's considered one of the most influential happenings on the annual cultural calendar.

    Abbreviated as SXSW -- and nicknamed "South by" by festival veterans -- the 24-year-old conference kicks off Friday and runs through March 20. The three-headed event encompasses separate festivals for film, music and interactive technology and has helped launch everything from Twitter to Broken Social Scene.

    It's where hipster culture meets geek culture, and where internet entrepreneurs are treated like rock stars.

    SXSW first kicked off in 1987 as the place where relatively unknown bands played gigs with hopes of attracting the attention of critics, talent scouts or big-time musicians seeking an opening act for their tours. Conference organizers integrated film and technology segments in 1994 as a "multimedia" event, and a year later, the separate South by Southwest Interactive was formed.

    The event's film portion now takes up nine days -- almost as many as the interactive and music sections combined. Past SXSWs have witnessed the premieres of "Kick-Ass," "Knocked Up," and countless documentaries. This year's lineup features such high-profile premieres as a Conan O'Brien documentary about his recent comedy tour (O'Brien's show, like CNN, is a Time Warner property), the Jake Gyllenhaal thriller "Source Code" and "The Beaver," directed by Jodie Foster and starring Mel Gibson.

    Yes, geeks like to party

    Within this swirling hotbed of culture are dozens of fledgling internet startups hoping to capture some of the Texas voodoo that helped catapult Twitter and Foursquare early on.

    Daytime hours feature hundreds of Interactive panels on everything from "Social TV" to "Has Facebook jumped the shark?" At night, geeks swarm to startup-pitch contests or crowded parties hosted by such names as Bing, StumbleUpon, Hipmunk, Zynga and I Can Has Cheezburger (with pictures of LOLcats on the digital invitations).

    Tech-savvy attendees coordinate meeting points with friends on Foursquare or Gowalla, or by using hashtags like "#sxsw" on Twitter.

    These nightly events, while expensive to organize, are among the most popular promotional vehicles for young Web companies, which are often happy to dip into their funds to buy out a downtown bar for a few hours. Some hosts, like Gowalla, say SXSW parties are a planned annual expense.

    "We did (a party) last year, so we're kind of rehashing that this year -- but bigger and better," said Josh Williams, CEO of Austin's homegrown Gowalla, the location-based, social-networking service that's throwing a 1,200-person bash on Monday. "This is the year I think 'South by' kind of blows up to the point that we're all kind of left with our heads spinning."

    Not only do parties help add a new name to people's vocabulary (hey, who's going to Tweet House on Friday?), but organizers also can use them to plant the seed for a product while patrons are lubricated. At a party last year, Drew Olanoff said he talked a lot about an emerging concept called "group messaging" to get audiences familiar with the idea.

    "People were like, 'Oh, what's that?' 'Well, it's like reply-all in e-mail,' " said Olanoff, who works for a company called GOGII that develops a group-texting app, textPlus. "Last year was education. This year, we're putting it into action."

    Group messaging is expected to be the hot category in social networking this year, according to several industry observers.

    GOGII will have staff on the streets near the convention center giving out "respect" stickers. They're hoping to create buzz by getting people to paste stickers on their friends -- a social currency similar to "likes" or "retweets." An advertisement for textPlus is also printed on the stickers.

    These guerrilla marketing techniques will be out in full force in Austin. Among TextPlus' many competitors is one called GroupMe, which will be giving away grilled-cheese sandwiches.

    SXSW is also where popular app makers launch drastically new versions or websites. Foursquare, Plancast, PicPlz, Ustream and others all plan to release apps with new features this week to coincide with the happenings in Austin.

    From CD-ROMs to mobile 'check-ins'

    The conference has come a long way since its early years, when it struggled more to get noticed. And its technology has, too.

    "In 1994, we were talking about CD-ROMs," said Hugh Forrest, director of the Interactive conference. "At that point, the gulf between the multimedia people and the music people who were attending South by Southwest were like oceans.

    "I think that gulf has gotten smaller and smaller as the years go on," he added. "It's still present to some extent. If you're here on Tuesday and Wednesday, the jeans become a lot skinnier, and the tattoos go from sleeves to full-body."

    They may not dress the same, but techies seem to have learned some of the musicians' tricks when it comes to promotion and optimism at SXSW. Part of that enthusiasm comes from how integral SXSW was in the histories of two key social networks.

    After opening to the public in late 2006, a quirky short-messaging network called Twitter languished in obscurity. But when the small group of employees noticed many of their members were planning trips to SXSW in 2007, they saw an opportunity, said Evan Williams, the company's co-founder and former CEO.

    The company paid $11,000 to install monitors in the hallways of Austin's convention center that displayed relevant Twitter messages from attendees, Williams said.

    "This was about the only money Twitter's *ever* spent on marketing," he wrote on Quora in January. "And something clicked."

    There, Twitter won over a cutting-edge, influential crowd whose increased participation started to weigh on the site's servers, creating an overflow problem that plagued the service for a few years while maintenance played catchup. The excitement carried over to SXSW in 2008, where Twitter again had a major presence.

    Then came 2009, when a smartphone-centric service called Foursquare, built around a game of "checking in" at places and competing for the honorary title of mayor, had launched a few days before that year's SXSW. Twitter was by then a ubiquitous tool at the festival, but Foursquare was getting all the hype.

    "We went from 50 to 5,000 users," said Foursquare CEO and co-founder Dennis Crowley. "I had no idea that it would blow up."

    Foursquare had chosen SXSW as the deadline for launching its service and had taken note of Twitter's successes there. In 2010, Foursquare's chief SXSW marketing gimmick involved pickup matches of foursquare, the real-life playground game, outside the convention center.

    This year, the company will host a big party and organize more playground games, but SXSW organizers say they've outgrown their location in front of the conference center, Crowley said. Foursquare now has more than 7 million users.

    "This year, I don't know what it's going to be," he said. "It should be the year that Foursquare fades into the background. You know, everyone uses Foursquare. What's next?"

    Life after Austin

    After a startup gets its wings at SXSW and the hype starts to fade, it can start to see its presence there as nonessential. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed for a 2008 keynote presentation that wasn't well received, and his company has only attended in a small capacity since.

    Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Williams, who was a keynote speaker at SXSW last year, aren't planning to attend the conference, a company spokesman said.

    Perhaps as an indication that it has outgrown its role at SXSW, Twitter won't be hosting a party in Austin this year after throwing one last year.

    Instead, the company, now with some 200 million users, is organizing a decidedly less debaucherous Twitter Retreat during daytime hours on Monday. "Escape the madness for some R&R," says an event description.

    "At some point, the company gets too big, and it just doesn't work," explained Foursquare's Crowley. "This happened to Twitter. I was like, 'Why aren't you guys going?' You just get too big (that) you can't."

    For budding tech entrepreneurs at SXSW this week, that would be a good problem to have.

  • Another great zBoost SOHO Review!

    March 9, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Review: Wi-Ex zBoost SOHO-YX545 Signal Booster

    One of the cooler, more useful things we ran into at MacWorld last month was a cell signal booster from a company called Wi-Ex. The zBoost SOHO-YX545 is one of three different options the company has to choose from for home and office usage. Other products the company offers can be used for travel and international use. This isn’t the hardest review we’ve ever had to do. Set-up is easy, the product does as advertised, and for most people, the results are enough to justify the price tag.

    About The zBoost YX545

    The zBoost SOHO was designed for the home or small office consumers who may have signal issues where they reside. The zBoost extends cell zones for multiple users with devices that operate on a 800 and 1900 MHz frequency, but will not work for those using Nextel/iDEN, 4G, or 2100MHz networks. With the zBoost, you’ll give yourself the ability to increase your indoor signal coverage by up to 3,000 sq ft. The main objective of the SOHO is to decrease the amount of dropped or missed calls and increase the power and speed voice and data transmission. This unit retails for $399 and can be purchased directly through WiEx. The company also has other home models available for $299 and $249, which will cover a lesser area.

    Set Up

    As I mentioned above, initial set-up of the zBoost is painfully easy. There’s no programming or any obscene technical knowledge needed. Instead, all you’ve got to do is travel around your home or office, find the strongest signal point, and place the signal antenna there. You can place the signal antenna indoors or outdoors and the package comes with a mounting kit, so you will be able to screw in the antenna to the side of your home, windowsill, or wall. After placing the antenna in the strongest signal location, all that remains is powering on the signal booster it self. Of course, you want to position the booster in an area relatively close to where you’ve been experiencing signal trouble, so Wi-Ex has provided with a very long, 50-ft coaxial cable.

    The Results

    We’ve been using the zBoost in my home for just about two weeks now. In my home, we have a plethora of service providers, so this was set to be a pretty in-depth testing phase from the very beginning. Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T all reside in my home and all three providers network frequencies are compatible with the zBoost. Prior to installation, signal strength and penetration hadn’t really been a problem, but there were a certain few dead zones around the house. In the kitchen, in the basement, and in some areas upstairs, we’d notice a signal drop-off. Drop calls were never a huge issue, but sometimes, call quality suffered because of the lack of signal.

    I was personally most excited to see how signal strength, call quality, and data transfer speeds would improve when in the basement of our home. After all, we do have a massive 1080P TV set down there, so I’d like to think that I spend a good amount of my time there. On average, we saw an increase of one or two signal bars in almost every area of the house. The zBoost was extremely beneficial to the basement in particular. Data speeds didn’t increase dramatically, but call quality went from poor to almost outstanding. In areas of our kitchen where we experienced complete dead zones, we were able to stand for minutes without dropping calls. A steady 4-to-5 bars is now the norm in our house, instead of the 1-to-2 bars we would experience in a few areas.

    The Bottom Line

    The WiEx zBoost SOHO has been great for us. A few of us in the house rely heavily on our cell phones for business related communications, so the ability to extend our Cell Zone to places where we weren’t able to hold a signal before is extremely beneficial. The zBoost is a great product for consumers who live under trees and have signal issues, or live on a city street where signal doesn’t penetrate as well as it does in the suburbs. The $399 price tag may be a little bit steep for those who aren’t experiencing that many issues. However, as I mentioned above, there are a couple of alternatives at much cheaper price points that could be beneficial to those not willing to spend the $399 on the SOHO.

    Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the zBoost and what it’s done for our home and would almost certainly invest in any new products WiEx has to release in the future.

  • Review: "Wi-Ex zBoost SO­HO YX545: Al­pha­bet Soup of Cell Re­cep­tion"

    March 7, 2011 - Leave a Comment reviewed our YX545 SOHO!

    Cell phone boost­ers seem like an odd tech­nol­o­gy- pay­ing a third par­ty to en­able sup­port for your phone that, by all rights, your ser­vice provider re­al­ly should of­fer. And with the growth in fem­to­cells, many of­fered di­rect­ly by car­ri­ers, this is in fact hap­pen­ing more and more. If you find that your home or apart­ment con­sis­tent­ly has poor ser­vice or drops calls, def­i­nite­ly con­tact your provider, and they may have a so­lu­tion. It may even be free for you!

    There are plen­ty of cas­es- garages, of­fices, sec­ond homes, sec­ond floors- where cell re­cep­tion isn't sat­is­fac­to­ry and you are like­ly to be on the hook for any so­lu­tions. And when a fem­to­cell isn't ap­pro­pri­ate, var­i­ous boost­er tech­nolo­gies are ex­cel­lent ways to go from one bar to four or even five. In our tests, they gen­er­al­ly don't work quite as well as fem­to­cells in a small range, but bet­ter over a dis­tance and can of­ten be more flex­i­ble and car­ri­er-in­de­pen­dent. Which means that if your room­mates, friends, or spouse doesn't use the same car­ri­er as you do, you may still ben­e­fit from a boost­er rather than a fem­to­cell. The in-depth dis­cus­sion of these tech­nolo­gies is be­yond the scope of this re­view, but it's im­por­tant to note that the Wi-Ex zBoost SO­HO YX545 is a good buy for al­most any U.S. cell cus­tomer, as it cov­ers ev­ery­thing but 4G and Nex­tel (which are nor­mal ex­cep­tions).

    This mod­el can cov­er up to 3000 square feet as well- though walls and oth­er nor­mal con­di­tions will re­duce that some­what. We still found it in­cred­i­bly ef­fec­tive, even be­tween floors. Mul­ti­ple calls and si­mul­ta­ne­ous users are sup­port­ed, and one side ef­fect that might be un­ex­pect­ed is that your bat­tery life is much bet­ter, thanks to a stronger sig­nal. We live and work in a known AT&T trou­ble zone, where our var­i­ous iPhones reg­u­lar­ly drop calls- up to 5% of the time when stay­ing with­in the of­fices in the Mis­sion Dis­trict. Us­ing the Wi-Ex zBoost YX545, we found out bat­tery life in­creased by an ap­pre­cia­ble amount, per­haps 10% over the course of a day, and our sig­nal strength went from about two bars on av­er­age to around four. Of course, these aren't pre­cise val­ues, and ev­ery­one's ex­pe­ri­ence will vary, but our re­sults have been and con­tin­ue to be pos­i­tive. Ver­i­zon and Sprint cus­tomer have al­so re­port­ed great im­prove­ments, and even da­ta trans­mis­sions are faster.

    Of course, the down­side of these de­vices is of­ten in­stal­la­tion- you re­ceive a fair­ly small base unit, about the size of a ca­ble box, but al­so a large an­ten­na that must be mount­ed with spe­cif­ic re­stric­tions. There is al­so an in­clud­ed co-ax­i­al ca­ble that must be run be­tween them, and of course pow­er sup­plied to the base unit. Care­ful po­si­tion­ing, along with some tri­al and er­ror and test­ing, will be re­quired for best re­sults, and note that the an­ten­nas are om­ni-di­rec­tion­al so that you want the base unit in the mid­dle of a room for the best ef­fect and widest cov­er­age. We spent a cou­ple of hours to­tal tweak­ing and check­ing out set­up.

    The on­ly oth­er down­side to the zBoost YX545 is the price- broad cell phone re­cep­tion im­prove­ment do come with a price, in this case, close to $300 avail­able wide­ly on­line. Wi-Ex does of­fer a va­ri­ety of mod­els to fit dif­fer­ent needs, in­clud­ing some small­er ones that are per­fect for most apart­ments. We liked that there are no con­tracts or oth­er fees, and that it works with pret­ty much any car­ri­er or phone, even PCS. You won't get much of a boost if you can't re­ceive sig­nal some­where near­by though- the lo­ca­tion you place the an­ten­na de­ter­mines, for the most part, the sig­nal strength you will re­ceive from the base. And you can't go too far from the base and re­ceive a strong sig­nal- lin­ear drop-off means that the far­ther you are away from the base, even a cou­ple of dozen feet, will re­sult in a less pow­er­ful sig­nal. Over­all, it's worth it though, a handy de­vice that does what it promis­es.

    Click here to check it out!

  • CNET First Look: Apple iPad 2

    March 4, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Asking all zBoost Your Life readers:

    How many of you got the iPad when it first came out and how many of you waited for the iPad 2 to make your decision?

    Are any of you looking at other tablet devices like the Motorola Zoom versus the iPad 2 and why?

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