Cel-Fi Booster vs Mobile Repeaters – What’s the Difference?


What is Cel-Fi? Put simply, Cel-Fi is a signal booster. However, it’s much, much more than that. It’s a self-configuring, environmentally aware, indoor coverage solution. It’s one of the most popular cel-fi boosters in the UK. There are two key functional units in each Cel-Fi system. The Network Unit (NU) and the Coverage Unit (CU).

The NU must be placed where the signal from the network provider is strongest. So, that’s the area in the house that always gets the best signal. Even signal levels as low as -120 dBm can be amplified with a Cel-Fi system. You place the CU at the centre point of the home. The most centrally located place in the home is best.

The CU then wirelessly communicates with the Network Unit. This boosts and sends out enhanced signal levels to every corner of the house with better quality calls and greater data throughout a given area. This is how Cel-fi mobile phone signal boosters work and what offers better quality calls and greater data throughout a given area.

These are some of the guarantees Cel-fi offers:

  • 1000x Stronger
  • Carrier approved and endorsed
  • No interference with other wireless products
  • Ease of Setup
  • WAVE Software Portal & Remote management of devices

What is a mobile repeater?

A mobile repeater is a device that improves coverage of mobile phone services in a location or dwelling. Essentially, it’s for people who have poor reception and signal. There are lots of things that could be responsible for poor indoor signal. Some of these include thick insulation or location.

They work using an external antenna that picks up mobile phone signals outside the home. Then it transmits and amplifies these signals inside the home or location to improve mobile phone reception.

It’s important to note that while there are many types of signal boosters or mobile phone repeaters not all of them are legal in certain jurisdictions. Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. have certain restrictions and requirements. The UK does not approve any mobile repeaters as of 2019, MSS can help you identify the legal signal boosters and we only use Ofcom compliant units.

What’s the difference between a Cel-fi signal booster and a mobile phone repeater?

Honestly, there isn’t that much difference between a Cel-fi signal booster and a mobile phone repeater. They essentially do the same thing. However, Cel-fi’s ‘smart’ signal boosters or repeaters do have a few notable differences from traditional mobile phone repeaters.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons Cel-fi offers ‘smarter’ network connectivity solutions. Cel-Fi units only work with one network. They only boost the signal for the network they are configured for. So, if the system is locked onto T-Mobile, they will only boost the signal for T-Mobile. The reason for this is to protect from uplink interference.

Some mobile phone repeaters can actually interfere with the network’s service. Ofcom does not legally permit these types. The most important thing is that Cel-fi works with mobile phone providers to help them understand our technology, to monitor how their network is performing on our system. Your mobile service provider controls your Cel-fi smart signal booster.

Also read about Vodafone signal booster

What makes a legal Irish signal booster?

Recent updates to Ofcom’s regulations have been welcomed by those who experience bad reception and spotty coverage. This is because new regulations permit people to use certain types of signal boosters without the need for a licence. Ofcom has legalised the use of two main types of mobile phone repeater. Let’s take a look at what these are and what they can do.

Static indoor repeaters

The first non-licensed signal boosters allowed by Ofcom are static mobile phone repeaters. These mobile repeaters are designed to amplify coverage indoors; homes, offices and other buildings. So, as the word static implies, they are not portable devices and are not legal to use in moving vehicles. The part that connects the repeater to the mobile phone is called a ‘downlink’. So, these are not for outside use. Operate them inside a roofed building only.

The ‘uplink’ part connects the repeaters to the mobile provider’s network. You use these ones anywhere, outside or inside. So, these types of repeaters aren’t suitable for every situation. For instance, they tend to be most effective in boosting indoor coverage in situations where reasonable mobile coverage is available near enough to the building. If there is no coverage anywhere near the building they won’t be very useful.

Ofcom only allows these repeaters to amplify the signal from only one mobile phone network at a time. However, if you change mobile phone providers you are allowed to reconfigure the network.

Portable in-vehicle repeaters

The other repeaters that Ofcom allow are more suitable for portable use. People call them low gain mobile phone repeaters. In effect, these types are most suitable to boost coverage inside moving vehicles, even cars. However, it’s not permitted to use them in boats or stationary caravans.

These boosters assist with the loss of signal that can occur between an external antenna outside of the vehicle to a hands-free kit inside the car. So, they should offer you a similar level of reception as somebody using a phone outside. When using a mobile phone in your car, please make yourself aware of the laws regarding mobile phone use while driving.

How does the app work?

The Cel-fi app is the one-stop-shop for controlling and configuring your cel-fi settings. It can be used by you, the cel-fi installer and maintenance technicians to control, adjust and use the cel-fi system. The app is called Cel-Fi WAVE—a software platform to activate, optimize, and manage all Cel-Fi products and controls.

Because the app is cloud-based it is easily accessible and difficult to get locked out of. You can communicate with the Wave cloud anytime, anywhere. The Wave portal lets you register, install, optimise and troubleshoot all capabilities. Cel-fi is adding more and more functionality to it every day. Take a look at some of the standout features:

Celfi Dashboard:

This handy dashboard lets you check you’re the status of your Cel-Fi system including the Boost Strength indicator. Settings: This lets you change all the main settings like the network operator, set up and configure both antennae and select either 4g or 5g technology.

You can also read about 3G Signal Booster4G Signal Booster and 5G Signal Booster on our blogs section.

Booster Software Updates:

Like any technology, you will need to update to new software versions from time to time.

Advanced Mode:

This can give you the performance metrics and real-time data you will need if you have to troubleshoot a problem.

Can Cel-fi amplify all Irish networks?

As you may know, there is a range of different cel-fi products. Some of these include Cel-fi Quatra, Cel-fi-Go/Go, Cel-fi Solo, Cel-Fi Pro and these are only the indoor suitable ones. Not all of them are available in all jurisdictions.

Some of them, like the Cel-fi Quatra 4000/4000i, are only available in the U.S. for instance. What we can guarantee is that for every UK network, there are at least three compatible Cel-fi products per mobile network. Cel-fi supports all UK Mobile Networks, each network has a Cel-Fi Signal Booster frequency range that support them and amplify their signal.

What is a Celfi booster used for?

Cel-Fi products are communications system between two units, the network and the coverage unit that amplify mobile phone signal from the strongest area to weaker harder to reach areas. You locate the NU where mobile phone reception is strongest and you generally place the CU where better signal is most needed.

To boost signal production the NU and CU communicate wirelessly. You don’t require the internet, external antennas or any cabling to ensure great coverage. What makes Cel-fi different from other signal boosters is the fact that new equipment, devices or network changes aren’t required. It’s an easy to use plug and play system. Cel-fi is designed for use on specific cell networks to prevent cell signal interference.

Are Cel-Fi Go X’s effective?

Cel-Fi Go X’s have proved effective in helping larger businesses. A case study at a large two-storey factory in Port Melbourne has indicated just how effective Cel-Fi Go X’s can be. This large-scale building had over 200 employees and a very poor mobile phone signal.

Professional installers strategically installed a system of four Cel-Fi Go X’s, one Blackhawk Parabolic Grid External Antenna and 4 Blackhawk Ceiling Dome Antenna. In a couple of days with minimal down-time in the work area, all 200 staff members were able to experience excellent coverage.

Are all Cel-fi mobile phone signal boosters the same?

No, they may perform the same basic function but they are not all the same. A signal booster amplifies weak mobile network signals and directs them towards areas they were nor previously able to reach. The main differences are in how and where a given signal booster is used.

We’ve already mentioned the two signal boosters people can have for their home or vehicle without needing licenses from Ofcom. However, there are signal boosters that need to cover much larger areas like office spaces or even large industrial sites. In-building signal boosters can cover an area between 6,000 and 100,000 sq. feet. Although, anything above 50,000 sq. feet is usually considered industrial and will need to be installed according to strict regulations as they may need a signal for multiple cellular devices.

Whichever mobile phone booster you choose, there does have to be some cellular signal within the area that can be amplified and boosted to other areas. An area with zero signal just will not work. In today’s world, we need easy access to clear voice communications and fast and efficient data transfer.

How to install a Cel-fi Go X Booster

If you choose to self-install in a small area, please make sure to read the instructions thoroughly first. For larger jobs always use a professional installer like Mobile signal solutions. It might have more steps than you think. A good idea would be to ensure you know where the best signal is on the property so you can think about where to place your NU. You may know where this is already but you can get an app like the Network Cell Info Lite app on Android to measure it too.

Next, you should either pick a centrally located spot in the house. Or even the place with the worst signal in the house to place your Cel-fi booster CU. The next thing you’ll need to get things set up is the Celfi boost app. The software downloads very easily. You can use this to register, check everything is working. The app will let you change to the carrier you want to boost the signal of. Cel-fi products only boost one mobile network at a time.

How a Cel-fi Go X signal boostereffects signal indoors

A signal booster ensures that mobile phone reception that used to be poor, is now much improved. It’s an amplifier. So, ensuring you have placed both your Cel-fi booster units strategically is one of the best ways to ensure excellent coverage.

You should be able to make and receive all calls, all messages and your data transfer if you have to use your cell to access the internet should be fast and efficient.

COMREG preferred brand to be installed is Celfi and Mobile Signal solutions are an official mobile signal booster installer in the UK and EU for all Cel-Fi systems. Our engineers are available to help you plan and budget for the system you need to ensure you have a fully legal compliant mobile improvement technology in place suitable for guests, clients employees or residents.