Does your office need better cell coverage? Take a ‘Cel-Fi’

If your business is considering a “cut the cord” strategy to save money on monthly phone bills, then it’s a good idea to make sure your employees can actually use their cell phones in your office. Even with LTE networks, some cubicle warriors may find they are just too embedded in a structure of steel and concrete to get a reliable signal.

Enter Ottawa-based Novotech Technologies, which has struck a deal to bring Nextivity Inc.’s Cel-Fi Pro cellular signal booster to Canada, supporting the Rogers, Bell, Telus, Eastlink and Wind Mobile networks.

Novotech is the first master distributor for the product in the Canadian market, which could be appealing to any offices that are struggling with cell phone signal issues. It could also be deployed by carriers seeking to resolve complaints from clients about receiving bad signals from certain locations, or in scenarios where a business is relying on cellular networks to provide connectivity to machine-to-machine devices.

While some workplace environments discourage or even forbid employees from using their own mobile devices at work, others are adopting it as a way of business. Even Shared Services Canada sought to cut its landlines and move staff entirely to mobile devices. In 2014, it moved more than 11,000 landlines to cellular services. Combined with moving other landlines to VoIP, the public service was anticipating about $28.8 million in savings.

Cell phone signal boosters like Cel-Fi can help such technology migrations succeed by ensuring the call quality doesn’t drop off and cellular data speeds stay fast. This particular product is simple to set up and consists of two different units. Just plug in the network unit to a place that receives good signal in your office (hint: by a window) and then place the coverage unit deep in the trouble zone of your office. Nextivity’s video explains:

Cel-Fi Pro works across four different channels – five, 10, 15, and 20 MHz – and features automatic configuration for many types of network. There’s no associated antennae or cabling either.

Devices like this get even more interesting in situations where a business might want to monitor specific equipment via a cellular network. If constant monitoring of M2M devices is needed, then you could imagine this completing the networking infrsatructure picture for many businesses.

Novotech is looking to its partner network to sell the Cel-Fi Pro. The signal booster without the external antenna costs $660 USD, or $695 USD with the external antenna connector. At least one bar of cell signal must be available in order for the device to extend coverage to dead zones.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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