• Like 11 Bars of Signal: Cel-Fi Signal Booster Review


    Can you hear me now? Are you there? Itís been awhile since Iíve tested a signal amplifier. There are a couple of reasons. First off, they usually require installation, which can be quite costly if you canít do it yourself. You have to install an ugly antenna outside and then run wire from your roof to inside where thereís no signal. Itís a hassle.

    It can also be difficult to find a good place to test them. If you live close to a tower, network signal strength may not be low enough to notice a difference. After all, these days, many phones usually sound fine right up until theyíre about to drop a call.

    Fortunately, my house is the perfect candidate for a signal booster. On the top floor, you can actually see the tower that services my houses from the window. However, itís about 1.5km away. This means I get excellent signal in my bedroom and virtually none in my basement.

    Which brings me to the Cel-Fi signal booster. Itís a HSPA booster for Rogers (T-Mobile and AT&T units are also available). Itís wireless so you donít have to run any wires besides plugging it into the wall. It consists of 2 parts; a window unit and a coverage unit. You put the window unit somewhere where you get the strongest network signal (usually a window) while the coverage unit goes where you have bad signal (probably a basement).


    When I first saw the windows unit, I wondered how it would deal with all the heat can get generated near a window in the summer. Turns out the window unit has a fan inside it. Itís not that loud so I didnít notice it at first.

    Both units are more interesting looking than most other boosters. Still, they look kind of cheap. The Window unit reminds me of a small NAS while the coverage unit is more like a medium-sized modem.



    Considering the Window unit goes near the window, I thought it could have been a little more compact - it doesnít even fit on the ledge of my window. I hope the next Cel-Fi version have a wall mounting option..

    Each unit has a impressive 10 ft power cord which should make it easier to find a good place to put them. Thereís room to route the power cables underneath each unit.



    The Coverage unit has a display that tells you how good the place is, plus it has a status light that that blinks red when thereís no signal, green where there is signal and mostly green with some red when youíre near the maximum distance between unit.

    Apparently, the further apart the units, the better they work. However, itís possible for them to be too far apart. Such as the case in my house. The distance between the 2 units in my house is approximately 50ft, and the signal must travel through 2 floors and a couple of walls. While the Cel-Fi works perfectly at this distance, the coverage unit blinked to inform me that itís close to its limit.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 11 Bars of Signal: Cel-Fi Signal Booster Review started by howard View original post
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      I wonder if the Rogers unit would work with fido. I expect so.

      Howard, if you don't have to return the test unit, I'm always available for freebies
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      I think it will work on Fido too.

      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      I wonder if the Rogers unit would work with fido. I expect so.

      Howard, if you don't have to return the test unit, I'm always available for freebies
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Quote Originally Posted by ceredon View Post
      I wonder if the Rogers unit would work with fido. I expect so.
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      I think it will work on Fido too.
      Fellow HC / ceredon,

      Their website lists its compatibility with Rogers, Fido, Chatr and available through Powertec Canada.

      Found something intriguing in the Spec sheet...

      http://cel-fi.com/files/CelFiRS2DB-TechSpecs.pdf

      Operator Specific:
      Cel-Fi’s On-Board IntelliBoost processor securely manages the enhanced services only for
      the Operator who authorized the system.

      Self Adjusting:

      Cel-Fi automatically selects the correct frequencies for use based on UARFCN and Operator
      PLMNID codes, thereby eliminating additional and costly Operator provisioning efforts.

      Multi Carrier Support:

      The Cel-Fi RS2 system supports multiple carriers (up to three simultaneous) across two
      bands.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by HC - NO "i" View Post
      Fellow HC,

      Their website only lists its availability through Rogers. But what about other carriers using the UMTS Band II (1900) and V (850) like TELUS or Bell?
      It needs approval from the carrier. I don't think TELUS or Bell have approved it so it won't work on their network.

      Like I mentioned in the review, when I was testing the Rogers unit, I had a TELUS phone right next to the coverage unit and there was no change in TELUS signal.
    1. HC - NO "i"'s Avatar
      HC - NO "i" -
      Fellow HC,

      Yes. As soon as I start reading the spec sheet, I realize the constraints. Since then, I have edited my post accordingly. Thank you.

      Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk 4
    1. ceredon's Avatar
      ceredon -
      Quote Originally Posted by HC - NO "i" View Post
      Fellow HC / ceredon,

      Their website lists its compatibility with Rogers, Fido, Chatr and available through Powertec Canada.

      Found something intriguing in the Spec sheet...

      http://cel-fi.com/files/CelFiRS2DB-TechSpecs.pdf
      Thanks for that. The multi-carrier part is interesting.
    1. ircu's Avatar
      ircu -
      I put one of these in a large warehouse and it covers a really good distance. Been running for over a year now and until we got it you couldn't use cell phones inside.