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Data Hubs + Signal Boosters (How Rural Canada Is Staying Connected)

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Cell Phone Signal Booster for Rural Areas

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Even though we live in the age of the internet, there are still hundreds of thousands of Canadians who live in areas with poor (or no) cell signal. Of course, one of the main goals of major Canadian networks such as Telus, Rogers, and BellOne is to eventually have good signal available everywhere. But this process takes time, money, and ever-advancing technology. In the meantime, people in rural Canada have found other ways to stay connected. With the help of innovative products designed by major carriers and companies such as SureCall Canada, these folks are able to create a stronger signal in their homes and cottages, despite the weak cell reception outside.

How Are They Doing This?

They're doing it by purchasing two specific devices and using them in tandem with one another: A cell phone signal booster for rural areas and a data hub. We'll explain.

Cell Phone Signal Booster

A cell phone signal booster is a device that amplifies an existing cellular signal. These devices are common among people living in rural Canada (among other places). In simplest terms, this is how they work:

A signal booster kit consists of 3 main components; the outside antenna, the amplifier, and the inside antenna, all of which are connected to each other via coax cable. The external antenna locates and connects to the weak signal directly outside your home. It sends that signal to the amplifier which is set up inside your home. The amplifier boosts the signal and then sends it to the inside antenna which broadcasts it throughout your home.

A variety of cell phone signal boosters are available on the market. In most cases, the model that's right for you depends on the square footage you intend to cover. We'll go more into some more detail regarding how to choose the right signal booster after we discuss data hubs.

Data Hub

A data hub is a device that amplifies a wifi network, acting like an internet signal booster. Like cell phone signal boosters, they're popular with Canadians living in rural areas. These small devices convert cellular data from your smartphone into wifi, allowing you to have wifi in areas and situations where you otherwise couldn't. However, the issue is that data hub speeds are usually slow because of a low-quality wireless link to the cellular tower. So on their own, data hubs often don't quite provide the service that users hope when purchasing the device.

As you know, most smartphones today have a wifi hotspot feature. If you've used this feature on your smartphone before, you know that it uses your cellular data to provide a less-than-adequate but better-than-nothing wifi connection in situations where there isn't one available. But a data hub will boost the wifi hotspot emanating from your smartphone and make it stronger.

How Do These Two Devices Work Together?

First, you use a cell phone signal booster to amplify your cell signal. Second, you use a data hub to convert that signal into a wifi network. The data hub then amplifies it even more.

Wifi problem solved.

Which Data Hub Should I Get?

There are 3 different types of data hubs and each one is made by a different major Canadian network. The Smart Hub from Telus, the RocketHub from Rogers, and the TurboHub from Bell One. Here are some important specs on each one. Remember that speed and signal strength may vary depending on geographic location, environmental conditions, internet traffic, and other factors.

Smart Hub from TELUS

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  • Up to 20 devices can be connected simultaneously

  • Download speeds up to 25 Mbps

  • Includes 1 Ethernet port

  • 3,000 mAh built-in backup battery prevents any interruption in the event of a power outage

  • Use the device anywhere there's an outlet to plug it in (in areas where TELUS has coverage)

  • Easy setup

  • Price is $250 or spread the cost of the device on your TELUS bill over 24 months with 0% interest

  • Powered by the TELUS LTE Network

  • Internet plans start at $65 per month

  • P2P gaming on gaming consoles is not compatible with this device.

  • Important: this is a fixed internet connection. The TELUS Smart Hub cannot be moved freely from the designated service area without notifying TELUS and officially changing the service address.

To purchase the Smart Hub, click here.

RocketHub from Rogers

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  • Up to 20 devices can be connected simultaneously

  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps

  • 3,000 mAh built-in backup battery prevents any interruption in the event of a power outage

  • Includes 1 Ethernet port

  • Built-in antennas