All Hands on Tech: Cel-Fi Smart Signal Booster

Don’t you hate it when you get a dropped call? Thankfully, most people who live in a big city like Toronto can count on extensive LTE wireless coverage. But a few dreaded “dead zones” remain.

That’s the reality that Mark Skapinker and his wife Hazel live here every day. Halfway between two major streets in a Toronto suburb, he struggles to get even one bar of reception. It’s a huge problem that’s putting a strain on both their professional and personal livelihood.

There’s just one hope left for the Skapinkers. A piece of technology that promises to bring this dead zone back to life.

Meet Mark Skapinker, a managing partner at venture capital firm BrightSpark Ventures. He and his wife, Hazel, an occupational therapist, have called this place home for 22 years. It’d be their dream house – if only they could get a better cell signal.

“We live in a dead zone, cell phone reception doesn’t exist, if we’re lucky we get one bar of cell reception,” says Mark. “It’s really frustrating.”

We brought a Cel-Fi Smart Signal booster to Mark and Hazel’s house to see if it could part a stop to their suffering. It promises to boost cell phone signals and bring dead zones back to life. We wanted to find out if it could really solve their problem.

According to the instructions, set up is simple. Find the best signal in your house or office. Place the Network Unit there and plug it in. Then bring the Coverage Unit to your trouble spot and power up.

“I find that some areas of the house are worse than others. The back part of the house, or some areas downstairs for sure,” Hazel says.

Setup took only a matter of minutes to accomplish. According to Cel-Fi’s Wave app on my iPhone, the units were connected and relaying the signal properly. We’d approached the moment of truth. I left the house and gave Mark a call to find out if it the signal was really boosted.

Mark and Hazel reported a huge boost in performance. Answering on speakerphone, they both talked to me on their device and it sounded great.

“This is excellent, really, it’s really good news,” Hazel said.

“We’re back in business, we have cell phones that work,” Mark said.

It looks like this time, we’ve got a boost. Now that Mark and Hazel can enjoy a reliable cell connection in their home, who knows, maybe they’ll be here for another 22 years.

The Cel-fi Signal Booster starts at $660. If you require an external antenna, that’s an extra cost.


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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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