If you've ever considered dropping your home line in favor of your cell phone, but haven't because of dropped calls and bad connections, there may be a product on the way for you. Verizon customers can already buy a "femtocell" based Network Extender to tap into their cable modem or other broadband to fill the holes in Verizon's coverage. Now AT&T and others are looking at delivering similar products.
A femtocell is essentially a miniature cell tower in a box similar to a WiFi router. It plugs into your home network, and provides a private cellular network for you to use to make phone calls and access data services.
Some people have gotten a little cranky about the phone companies trying to sell devices that fix their bad coverage. But there are places that no public cell network should be expected to reach that could be well-served by a femtocell extender. If you live in a rural area, for example, and there's a hill b etween you and the nearest cell tower, a femtocell might be worth the $150 to $250 the cellular companies plan on selling these for.