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Innovation
Network
Sure Signal

It’s that time of year again when everyone gets together. Nans, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings all under one roof. But what if the British weather’s so treacherous that you can’t get through to whoever’s meant to be bringing the sprouts? Or what if you want to speak to absent family members, but can’t? For anyone in extremely rural areas, or who lives in what sometimes feels like lead-lined military base, it’s a real worry. Don’t panic: we’ve been there before, and we’ve got the answer: the new, redesigned Sure Signal, which we’ve built to keep everyone connected over Christmas. Yep – even Nan.

“Signal where there is none”

“I used to live in a basement flat in Bristol that had no connectivity to any network,” says Vodafone’s Mike Phillips. He’s the man in the know when it comes to Sure Signal, and the man with firsthand experience of living somewhere that no network can touch. “Vodafone Sure Signal was literally the only thing that would work for me. It gives you signal where there is none.”

As Mike explains, Sure Signal has been carefully engineered for anyone in areas of the UK where networks have a tough job getting through: “It’s perfect for people who live in rural locations or with thick stone walls, for example – all networks will have problems with those areas.

“Using Sure Signal will actually improve battery life”

“Also,” Mike continues, “if you live in a marginal coverage area (where you do get some 2G signal, but if you, say, walk into the kitchen and your phone drops out of coverage), you’re effectively using more of your phone’s battery because it’s searching for the network all of the time.

“Using Sure Signal will actually improve battery life in those circumstances because it gives you that constant Vodafone 3G signal.”

Femtocell magic

Sure Signal should solve your home coverage woes, then, but how does it work? Using the magic of femtocells. “A femtocell is, essentially, a small mobile phone cell that boosts the mobile phone signal in your home or small office,” says Mike, unravelling the science:

“There are various different types of small cell, but femtocell is the most widely known and used.” There are two types of femtocell, and Vodafone’s been working with both for some time now, and has seen what a difference it can make to people who live in basement flats or rural locations.

“Sure Signal is a ‘closed’ femtocell,” says Mike, “so only you and your family and friends can use it because it uses your broadband, whereas the ones for medium-sized businesses are ‘open’ – where anyone can use it. They’re based on exactly the same technology.”

Saving Christmas

All caught up? Ok then, here’s the good news: our updated Sure Signal hasn’t just had a redesign, it’s also much more capable. And that’s why it could help you save Christmas. Here’s Mike again to give us the lowdown:

“You can have up to 32 people registered on the device, but the old Sure Signal only let you connect up to four people at once. The new model lets you connect up to eight, making it ideal for parties.” And ideal for December’s festivities, if you ask us.

“The new model lets you connect up to eight, making it ideal for parties”

Oh, and if you’re worried about the new Sure Signal taking up valuable plug points needed for your tree lights, we’ve got that covered, too: “Another main change is that the device is now a small plug sized unit instead of a larger standalone unit. With the old one, you used to have to give up a plug unit.

“With the new one – and its pass-through plug system – you don’t have to.”

Perfect. Now, somebody had better call Granddad and remind him not to forget about the gravy. Be sure to keep your browser locked to Vodafone Social over the coming weeks for more info on our pioneering femtocell work.

In the meantime, though, head to vodafone.co.uk for more information on the all new Sure Signal.

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  • petedowen

    Great story, but you have to pay Vodafone £100 for the privilege of using it, Surely if you have a full signal with o2 and Orange you would expect a Vodafone signal without buying a device?

    • http://blog.vodafone.co.uk/ Vodafone Social

      Not necessarily, Pete. The positioning of the cell towers play a role in the level of signal you receive on your handset.

      As our story mentions, penetration through thick walls is a problem for all networks.

      • petedowen

        Surely when you sell someone a monthly contract and are told there is a signal, you might expect there to be a decent signal and then not expect the customer to pay £100 for the privilege of using the phone?

        • http://twitter.com/HabboGardens Habbo Gardens

          Someones a bit thick and doesn’t understand that houses impact your reception. Ever thought to yourself it’s not all about you?

  • http://blog.vodafone.co.uk/ Vodafone Social

    It’s just one of the ways we’re improving coverage across the country and there’s plenty more planned. Check out this piece for the details: http://blog.vodafone.co.uk/2012/11/20/better-coverage-fewer-masts-your-complete-guide-to-our-network-joint-venture/

  • Dal Carey

    Does the new one only work through wi-fi as well?

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.baulch.3 Thomas Baulch

    can we have this on our business contacts? 

  • Omar Ali

    Glad you’ve updated your femtocell tech but I don’t understand why you didn’t integrate homeplug tech into it as well. That would let you place your femtocell adaptor in a better location and not near the router 

  • http://www.facebook.com/glen.piggott.3 Glen Piggott

    Hi, ok time for a stupid question. Does the Sure Signal help with voice calls and text message or just 2G/3G data?

    We’ve got no signal at all in our home and have to hand out of the window to send a text.

    • http://blog.vodafone.co.uk/ Vodafone Social

      Sure Signal helps with voice calls and text messages, too. No more hanging out of windows!

  • http://blog.vodafone.co.uk/ Vodafone Social

    Yes. Wi-Fi is the best and easiest way to connect your phone to Sure Signal.

  • David

    Is this service going to be offered by Vodafone Spain as well?

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