(Apologies if this message is or seems trivial to some readers.)
Despite being within 2 or 3 miles of downtown Palo Alto, my house (and several adjacent houses in our area) are in a dead zone or shadow zone where our Verizon cell phones (and those of anyone else coming to our house) are more or less unusable inside our house or anywhere on our lot (their displays show at most a single bar or tower which flickers randomly on and off every few seconds, losing any calls that may get connected).
Two days ago we purchased a Verizon femtocell unit (officially known as a "Verizon Wireless Network Extender") and plugged it into the Ethernet router for our Comcast Triple Play Internet connection.
The unit auto-connected to the Verizon Internet site within minutes; the GPS light went on a few minutes later; and we now have 2 to 4 bars on all our phones throughout our largish house (and still zero bars at the street side and the back edge of the lot).
Purchase price about $120; 3 or 4 simultaneous calling channels; no monthly charge. Wish we'd done this months ago.