Cel-Fi Go or 4G Modem – how to choose? In this video, I explain the difference between the Cel-Fi Go (the only signal booster approved for use in Australia) and most common 4G modems. A Cel-Fi is great for boosting voice calls. Meaning it makes regular mobile signal stronger, so you can make phone calls. 4G modems are great for getting a data connection, so you can use the internet. This video will make it easier to decide what you need.

What does a signal booster – CelFi do?

Cel-Fi Go or 4G Modem – keep it simple, keep it real. In this case, keep it local. The reason why I’m saying keep it local is that, CEL-Fi is a brand. It’s the only brand that is approved for use in Australia. If you are however watching
this from overseas, any other country in the world, there might be other brands as well that, you could potentially use. So always look for your local, approved devices on specifically the network that you are going to use wherever you are in the world. But here in Australia, CEL-Fi is the only legal brand, and CEL-Fi GO, which are these compact units there are three different generations. This is one, there’s a two.

And now there’s also a gen 4 out there, that does quite a lot more. It all has the basic same principles which I just want to address quickly here. Now, CEL-Fi is obviously a common name for a lot of people. They immediately say, if you want better, 4G connection, get a CEL-Fi. It’s not quite that simple although it could be quite simple. What else there can be considered or should be considered when you look at a device such as a CEL-Fi GO. First thing, if I take a step back, what’s the difference? I’m, I’m going to take myself and hopefully many of you back to the 2000s when we had a simpler way of seeing mobile internet or mobile coverage in general, I guess, which is if you see on the screen, there’s two pictures. And I would say an old cell phone and a laptop or computer. That’s kind of how you would see the difference between voice and data. Voice is classically what you would’ve had when you had a mobile phone, a cell phone or whatever you want to call it, where you call your friends, and you can see the basic text message. That was it. That was simple. That’s voice. And that’s basically the kind of service that gets boosted or amplified really well with a CEL-Fi GO. What a CEL-Fi does, it basically gets an antenna in, and it has an antenna coming out, and this is an amplifier or a booster that takes what comes in from one network operator, makes it stronger, more powerful, gets out on the other side. You can have a quite more comfortable phone conversation.

What does a 4G modem do?

Data on the other hand is basically internet. It’s basically what we would’ve done 15 years ago is you read your emails, you browse the internet. That’s how simple it was. Now these days, it’s not that simple anymore. Why? This is suddenly becoming difficult to distinguish between the two devices. By the way, I have a NightHawk M2, my hand here, that’s that’s what I’m comparing today. Nighthawk has, you know, M1, M2, M5 you have the Huawei B818, the new ZTE modem Optus, or the Teltonikas. They all fall in that class of product. That’s a 4G modem, a 4G router. That’s another topic for another video. What’s the difference between modem, router and so forth? It, it kind of gets used interchangeably by, by everyday users, and I think for that consideration we all know what we’re talking about. That is fine. There are the distinct differences not for this video, not for today. So, if you call it the 4G modem, if we call it the 4G router, we always talk about this thing which is basically a device that gets a sim card, connects to a network operator and gives you a Wi-Fi connection, or internet connection you could use for a laptop can use for tablet, smart TV, all those devices.

How to decide between a 4G modem and a Cel-Fi Go signal booster?

The problem is now with that picture that I have on the screen the smartphone kind of muddles the water a lot because a smartphone has all those features. It is a phone, but it’s also a data device. You can do your WhatsApp, your Skype. You can do your Facebook and email and browse the internet. So, it’s not that clear anymore. I just kind of just split the two. If something is more important to you then that’s the feature that you really want to look at. If voice, if phone is the most important feature, a device such as the CEL-Fi GO is your most probable solution that you need to think about. I think about people in, in in vehicles as they move, travel around four-wheel drives maybe even a boat emergency caravan users. You may not want to specifically look at internet use. You really want to be connected, and you really want to have
your phone coverage proper. Then CEL-Fi is the way to go. Also, you may have holiday homes, or you may have a house where it has a lot of shielding. The glass may be now completely tricky. So, like a Faraday cage on the inside there’s no phone coverage. CEL-Fi is the booster, a repeater device that will do the job for you. CEL-Fi Go one brand only in Australia which is the CEL-Fi brand, but there’s different models. SISO, SISO means single antenna. So, it’s one antenna coming in. So, one antenna going out and that’s important if we are going to compare this in my next video to data, one network operator. So, you have to get one for, Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. It’s great for voice, typical users what we see, Caravan users, boating, vehicles kind of anything that’s, that’s mobile. You have the mobile version of the CEL-Fi. You just put it in there and you get a bit of cellular signal inside your vehicle. Fix setup with bad cellular coverage. And then I’ll just have there in, in brackets, windows, walls, location all those artifacts will cause potential trouble. That’s where CEL-Fi can give you a bit of phone signal.

Now, 4G modem, or rather on the other hand, a lot of positives. I’m not going to have any reservations there. I am very pro data connections in general for everything that we do, just because I feel that’s the future, but that’s just me. First, there’s multiple brands. We have the Teltonika devices. A lot of those. A lot of people have the Netgear models. And then, what you get from network operators often is the Huawei such as the B818 or the ZTE. All those brands are out there. You do need to make sure, as in comparison to having a legally approved device of CEL-Fi GO, do make sure that your device that you buy, is approved, or endorsed. And I mean that the, the local ACMA regulatory services must have seen that device at some stage. And your network operator would not really enjoy you using any random device that you buy from eBay. It’s not as bad as with a booster because you you’re just using a device that may cause trouble on the network so, absolutely have to look for a locally supplied device that is approved signed off by the local network operators.

What is MIMO and how does it relate to Cel-Fi Go or 4G Modems?

MIMO, so that’s in comparison to the cell phone. This is going to be important for the next video. MIMO is two antenna systems. So, you get a mainly diversity or whatever single processing scheme the device use but basically two antennas come into one modem and the two antennas need to be unique antennas. Don’t go in one antenna and just split it into two ports. I’ve had a video on that in the past. I’m going to mention that in the next video again, that’s a big thing that is a benefit to make data connections better. Something that you don’t need to worry about on the CEL-Fi.

So this takes SIM card, It needs its own data package, but, you can have dual-sim versions. And now think specifically about the Teltonikas in our case the RUTX11, actually many models of those. I can’t think of them all now. The X 11 is just the most common one that we currently RUT950, RUT955. There we go. Now it starts to come through in my mind. They all have dual SIM capability. And that means that there’s more than one network operator possible. Although it only uses one at any given time. Data only. But then (WiFi calling) because Wi-Fi calling as per a previous video, actually enables you to use your phone, as if you are connected to a mobile network. Anyway. So, it is moving towards data connections can give you almost everything you need completely. Fun fact, I guess.

Cel-Fi Go or 4G Modem – Caravan, boat and vehicle?

We get a lot of people starting to install devices and antennas for their modems. So, that’s, that’s where things are going. So, data connections inside a moving device is becoming more and more common. Great to know. I love it. And then just as this common that anybody wanting internet access can use an external antenna. That is important cause it means external antennas is helping you to make the internet connection better. If there’s trouble, get an external antenna and you suddenly have a more reliable connection.