What do you do if you have tried every mobile network where you live and discover that they are all pretty poor and you suffer random loss of service, missed calls and frustration, well Vodafone think they have the answer with their Access Gateway or as their starting to call it Sure Signal.

This is basically a femtocell that connects to your home broadband connection and provides a full 3G signal to your phone for calls and data. 

So let’s back up a little, I have been an iPhone user on O2’s network for the past few years and to be honest it’s been flaky at best, at home my signal strength was so bad I could hardly make a call and data was a no go, recently O2 announced that they would unlock the iPhone and I took advantage of the offer and thankfully my contract expired earlier this month.

I ported my number to Vodafone on one of their Sim Only deals and ordered one of their Access Gateways and this has just arrived.

The box it came in is quite large, too large as it rattles around inside, it looks cheap and thrown together but where not hear to review the box so let’s move on.

Inside the box is a mains adaptor, a rather jazzy Ethernet cable with Vodafone red ends and the unit itself, a quite large White box that’s actually bigger than my Netgear router.


It’s designed to stand vertically as it has a larger base and doesn’t sit flat very well.


I plugged it into a spare Ethernet connection on the router, powered it up and watched the lights flicker around then the @ sign just flashed, this I got used too as it did it for 24 hours although the instructions said up to 6 hours for it to configure, more on this later.


You must have a minimum of a 1 meg broadband connection for this to work, mine is a 1.3 meg connection so I just qualified and hoped it wouldn’t reduce my signal strength.

Once you have it plugged in you have to visit the special Vodafone web page and register your Access Gateway.

I logged in and input my details, you also have to input the mobile numbers of any phones you want to use it with, if you don’t it won’t work with that device, you can register up to 32 different numbers which is great if your a small business and want improved cell reception in your office.

Once complete I submitted the form and waited for my email to say the access gateway had been registered and set up for use, 24 hours later, still a flashing @ symbol and no email, my patience ran out so I called Vodafone, they have a dedicated number for support of this product and the guy knew his stuff, quick as a flash he said it was my router firewall blocking the ports that the access point uses, he suggested I just turn off my firewall, WHAT ????? no way I said, that isn’t happening, I asked him what port needed opening up and he told me 4500, I suggested port forwarding and he said if your up to the job yes that is the best way, too right it is compared to turning off my firewall, come on Vodafone that is not good advice, sure it will solve your customers problems with connection to the gateway and get them up and running but do you really want to put them at risk to all the bad people on the Internet???

Anyway back to the review, I forwarded the port in and out and within a few minutes it had registered on the network and the magic email appeared in my inbox and I was all set.


I rebooted my iPhone and when it restarted I was blown away, full signal strength with 3G too, I tested it all over the house, no fluctuation just a solid 5 bars and perfect call quality.


A little better than this:-


I went outside and the range was only a few metres outside the house but the call did not drop, just handed off smoothly to the 2G network.

So I am very happy, this is a great product, works perfectly, I pay Vodafone £5.00 a month for the service which is ok for what I get in return but when you think about it maybe it should be free as it helps them as they don’t have to put up more towers and field as many customer complaints but at least the hardware was free, bare in my mind this will only work with Vodafone mobiles and to date Vodafone are the only network offering it which is a real shame.

On a side note I also got my fastest ever data download when I was out yesterday, Vodafone’s network is definitely stronger than 02’s, fastest ever speed with 02 around 1.4, nothing to do with the access point but just wanted to mention it 🙂


Verdict, 5 stars, can’t fault it!

You can order it from Vodafone right here.

Leave a Reply