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Can you hear me now?

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When walls obstruct cellular reception, we often run to a window to hear the person on the other end. LIRON SEGEV finds a device that boosts indoor cellular reception.

How many times have you found yourself screaming into the phone ‚”CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?‚” as you walk around the building looking for a better cellular signal?

In many cases, we know the exact spot in our office or home where we can balance on a chair next to the window where we know there is at least 1 bar of signal.

The problem is that cellphone signals are severely affected by walls, doors, and even furniture and appliances.

So what can you do? How can you get a decent signal indoors?

Here is one solution to the no-signal-no-coverage-problems: Cel-Fi.

It acts as a cellphone signal booster and comes with two boxes: a window unit and an indoor coverage unit. Plug in the window unit at any location in your office where you get at least 1 bar of cellphone signal, and an indicator shows how strong the cellphone signal is.

Then place the indoor coverage unit in an area where there is no cell phone signal, and the two connect together, giving a cell signal.

Cel-Fi not only boosts GSM or voice coverage, but also increases data connectivity.

The unit I tested was placed in an office that, for security reasons, is built like a safe. This means that the office has lno signal whatsoever. The Cel-Fi immediately improved coverage.

Where can you buy Cel-Fi?

That is the bad news you can’t. Cel-Fi can only be provided by a cellular provider.

Why?

Because, as Paolo Marangon, General Manager of Mobility at Duxbury Networking explains: ‚”ICASA views the mobile spectrum as the exclusive domain of the licencees (Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and 8ta). Because of this, only licencees can approve or own and allow equipment that transmits on their respective licences.‚”

How to get one from the cellular providers:

Cel-Fi is available from MTN and Vodacom, who have approved it and are providing it to their subscribers. Cell C is in the approval process for the dual-band version and there is even a development underway for an LTE version, due to be released next year.

MTN subscribers can call the coverage help desk on 083 900 1212 and lodge a query.

Vodacom subscribers need to call the Vodacom call centre on 082 111 and lodge their query. Cell C customers can call 084 140.

On a related topic, make sure you install the Gr8signal app from the Google Play store. This app shows and records signal strength, and then uses this collective information to create a coverage map for all South African cellular operators.

* Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog at www.thetechieguy.com or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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