Question

External Antenna Makes Massive Difference For Me!!!

  • 6 October 2021
  • 35 replies
  • 13079 views

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Ok I decided to see what an external antenna would do and wow.

I got the kit from Waveform as it’s an ok price and reputable money back company.

So I have an n41 tower 3 miles to the SW, a B66 .5 miles to the W, and a n71 2 miles to the NW.

If I put the can in the NW window it get the B66 ok and never holds the n71 for long. If I put the can in the S window it just does not hold the n41 or the B66.

So I have been living with the can in the NW window with the B66 and 75/25 average and solid for days on end slow and steady.

I wanted the n41 tower as my test show it rock on my phone so I figured let’s see if an ext ant can do anything.

So remember can in S window cannot get the B66 to the W and also n41 is to weak. Open up can, remove 3 and 4, snap on new leads, put can back together, hook up ext ant that is just outside window aimed right at the n41 tower. Time to rock great signal and 650/110 speeds.

So not that bars matter but in the NW window B66 was 3 bars almost -100dBm with SNR of 10db so ok but not great. Now in the S window where I had nothing really of used mounting the ant just outside I have that B66 at -76dBm but SNR is 7db 4 bars speed is good. Also that n41 comes in at 4 bars and wow -81dBm with an SNR of 7db so ok. So huge improvement in signal strength and overall quality slight degradation in SNR but bigger ant picks up more of what you don't want too.

They say you will get 9db improvement I have more so I am happy. I mean the b66 improved over 24db and I am not even pointing the ant at that tower. Also if I could get the n41 it was -107db now wow that is at -81db so again same massive gain in power.

The cable they give you is huge 30ft and as thick as your pinky. If this works out for several days I think I need to order a shorter cable as this is to much in my case I need like 3-5 ft max. As you see for testing I have the cable run thru the window with duct tape holding the gap. Again I don't want to go drilling holes until I decide this is good for several days and I am keeping this setup. Plus maybe since my run is so short I can go with a thinner cable and way shorter.

Again only time will tell if this setup hold for several days solid but initial results are looking good.

 


35 replies

 I used:

https://store.nwtowers.com/products/poynting-xpol-2-5g-us-antenna-a-xpol-0002-v3-11

 

Or:

https://smile.amazon.com/Bolton-Technical-Directional-X-Polarised-Connector/dp/B08SFP9XMZ/ref=sr_1_11?crid=37JTM2FCBQRAI&keywords=bolton+technical+long+range+antenna&qid=1643567874&sprefix=bolton%2Caps%2C166&sr=8-11

Have to get n41 & n71

3.01 Miles from 5G newly updated T-Mobile tower. Some trees but not dense.

Cylinder mounted outdoors and only using one set of antenna ports for above antenna.

Sometimes speeds are into the 400 Up range but normally 250 Down 10-20 Up. Before antenna

half of the above speed.

I am very Happy with External Antenna Route. Use this video to add pigtails:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXSpbP8NuWw&t=773s

 

Or

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiO-xqFbVho&t=7s

I tried using all 4 antenna ports with using 2 panel antenna spaced 5 ft apart and it helped. Not worth the money to me unless you want the fastest speeds possible. After adding the other panel antenna now averaging 290 Up and 20 down.

 

When I used a panel antenna from a XPOL-2-5G Poynting Antenna I went from 60 down to 270 down. 426 down once. If your getting under 100 down and can get n41 then you can get faster speed with external antenna. My question is has anyone used 2 external antennas for better signal and faster speeds?

Does the antenna improve video quality also?

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When asked they told me an external antenna would not help me. I get between 4mbps and 30mbps with constant lost signals every evening. The only thing more disappointing was Centurylinks 1mbps to 3 mbps. Elon Musk rescue me.

Anyone ever tried all 4 antenna ports for external antenna or antennas and which antenna you used. Speed difference would be useful too.

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Anyone install one of these panels inside? I get 3 out of 5 bars where I want to place it and 4 of 5 for LTE and get 350-450Mbps regularly, but if I go outside or move to improve, I get 450-500 regularly and sometimes see 750+. Wondering if I kept it where it should be and just mounted and used one of these antennas inside on the wall if it would make a big enough difference, being a higher gain antenna than whats in the unit. 
For reference, I am around .5-.75 miles from the tower. Just prefer not to have to pull the wire up the attic and outside, mostly because I have like R80 blown in insulation now which will be a pain to find and get a wire up and out now. 

I think if you are satisfied with it inside and you have good signal don't sweat it keep it inside.

Well, I guess that’s it. Going from $97 a month to $50 a month and having about the same speed I was paying with Spectrum, its savings but with close to same service. So would just have the thought in the back of my mind that hey, if I do an antenna, may be able to keep it inside too and then get another 100+Mbps. I work from home full time (prior to COVID as well) so reliability and latency is key for me due to voip calls, video calls, etc. yet having kids in the house and streaming 4K content and such while I am working. 

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Anyone install one of these panels inside? I get 3 out of 5 bars where I want to place it and 4 of 5 for LTE and get 350-450Mbps regularly, but if I go outside or move to improve, I get 450-500 regularly and sometimes see 750+. Wondering if I kept it where it should be and just mounted and used one of these antennas inside on the wall if it would make a big enough difference, being a higher gain antenna than whats in the unit. 
For reference, I am around .5-.75 miles from the tower. Just prefer not to have to pull the wire up the attic and outside, mostly because I have like R80 blown in insulation now which will be a pain to find and get a wire up and out now. 

I think if you are satisfied with it inside and you have good signal don't sweat it keep it inside.

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Anyone install one of these panels inside? I get 3 out of 5 bars where I want to place it and 4 of 5 for LTE and get 350-450Mbps regularly, but if I go outside or move to improve, I get 450-500 regularly and sometimes see 750+. Wondering if I kept it where it should be and just mounted and used one of these antennas inside on the wall if it would make a big enough difference, being a higher gain antenna than whats in the unit. 
For reference, I am around .5-.75 miles from the tower. Just prefer not to have to pull the wire up the attic and outside, mostly because I have like R80 blown in insulation now which will be a pain to find and get a wire up and out now. 

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I saw speeds of 23-25mbps down before installing an external. After install I consistently get speeds of 425-450mbps down during peak use times and 550-600mbps down in the overnight hours. Its probably the best piece of gear that provided the greatest improvements that I have ever bought. 

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Read through several posts on the T-mobile Home Internet Facebook group you mentioned, Bond, and one stuck out for me in particular, which is pretty much the polar opposite of your experience with an external antenna. A person installed an external antenna and lost their connection completely and doesn’t know what they did wong. One person suggested their sim card might be a little out of position.

Okay, I know that’s a worst case scenario, especially if they can’t get their connection back without exchanging their gateway, but another reason I can add to the pile of reasons it is taking a risk. My main reason for not getting it is that I’m used to crawl speeds on DSL so the 200 down average I get now with TMHI is blazing.

There was one post on the Facebook group I liked especially of a guy getting speeds in the 200s and very happy to ditch his 1G speeds with Cox at $180/month. Realistically, unless you have like 5 kids all downloading games or watching different 4K TV programs, or a real need for speed because of frequent work-related uploading/downloading, the speed part alone isn’t all that important between getting 200 and getting 600.

However, I can see how an external antenna might help some people get better latency and maybe even fewer disconnections, if that is their problem, and that’s part of why I would go for it if it were a simple plug-in, although for me my latency is fine (under 50 on the ping test), jitter is usually between 3 and 5 which is very good at my distance. And after the 1609 update, my minor disconnection problem, maybe once every other day, has disappeared. Haven’t gotten a single disconnection in over three weeks since the update. And of the past disconnections, all were reconnected in the 2 minutes it took to restart.

The Facebook group is good though, because I found a lot more comments there about, for example, people with faulty gateway issues, what their problems were, and if they were resolved with a new gateway. Again though, I’ve been fortunate with my gateway, as I notice no overheating issues or other issues.

I think you are probably right about their lack of testing gateways before they recycle them. With electronics though, sometimes problems don’t surface until they’ve been on for a while. If the problem with the gateway is that it starts malfunctioning after it has been on for one hour, the person testing it would not find that issue. I don’t even know if they have the means of testing something like this without having to find problems just as a user would.

I’m sure that Nokia is doing fine on this deal but I see TMHI as entering a period of exponential growth in this service. It is revolutionary for rural users who were stuck on slow speeds, as well as people who are sick of having their fees jacked up by cable and other providers. The thing that stops it from exploding into millions of users in a month is the reliability, and the variability of people’s experiences with it.

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Bond, a bit of good news on your outlaw status. A comment in the comment section of a recent YouTube video by Peter Carcione, another external antenna enthusiast, said they called T mobile about their position on external antennas. I’ll just quote the comment:

“I called T-Mobile. Just got off the phone with them and we had a lengthy discussion about adding an external antenna to the gateway that I have. She told me that as long as there is no damage to the device that I would be able to return or upgrade.”

From watching videos of it, be careful when getting the tabs that are attached to the bottom out, and use any trick people suggest to do it carefully. The little tabs can break as you are trying to remove the bottom. I haven’t done anything to my gateway. But in one guy’s video, he cracked a tab. Of course, the bottom of the gateway will still stay on with one cracked tab fine.

 

Well when you need an ext ant the choice for TM is let them add an ext ant or lose a customer.

I had no issues with the tabs but I have taken things apart since a young kid so maybe that’s an advantage.

Based on the amount of bad refurb units they ship out you could probably send one back half apart with big holes in it and it would get sent right back out to a new customer. I am exaggerating but probably not far off the mark.

I found a Facebook group dedicated to the can I joined that quite interesting.

 

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Bond, a bit of good news on your outlaw status. A comment in the comment section of a recent YouTube video by Peter Carcione, another external antenna enthusiast, said they called T mobile about their position on external antennas. I’ll just quote the comment:

“I called T-Mobile. Just got off the phone with them and we had a lengthy discussion about adding an external antenna to the gateway that I have. She told me that as long as there is no damage to the device that I would be able to return or upgrade.”

From watching videos of it, be careful when getting the tabs that are attached to the bottom out, and use any trick people suggest to do it carefully. The little tabs can break as you are trying to remove the bottom. I haven’t done anything to my gateway. But in one guy’s video, he cracked a tab. Of course, the bottom of the gateway will still stay on with one cracked tab fine.

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OK I just installed the 10/100/1000 switch so now all the Google Wifi pucks are connected at 1000 and speed at all pucks matches the speed of the main puck. Really the pucks are not that far apart and in the past I always had a great connection so no idea why recently with no changes the wifi connection between them went to good/ok dropping the mesh speed. I seen a few guys claiming that Google dumbed them down for speed so they could get ppl to upgrade to the newer version. I kinda believe this could be true as I see no reason for the reduced mesh connection. But upgrading the switch and connecting them by ethernet has solved the issue. If I am going to buy a new mesh it will be wifi 6 not 5 so Google is not getting my business anyways.

So again to summarize what I did to take advantage of my new found speed.

  • Replace the cable that runs from the can to the main Google puck as the old in walls cable was not up to par.
  • Ran ethernet to each Google puck since wireless connection would only handle 75-80.
  • Replaced house switch with gig since I needed the faster connection to the pucks.

At this point I think I am ok and if anymore is upgraded it would be to a wifi 6 mesh sys. But not sure that’s really needed as speeds all around the house are fast enough and every room has an ethernet port if you really want a full speed connection.

 

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Still holding strong the next day things are looking good still getting 600+/100+.

what antenna did u use, would you be able to post a link

 

https://www.waveform.com/products/mimo-panel-kit-for-hotspots-routers?variant=39349359476839

There are 2 types one if you have direct line of sight one if not, I used the regular one since I do not have line of sight.

 

Still holding strong the next day things are looking good still getting 600+/100+.

what antenna did u use, would you be able to post a link

 

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Just now.

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Ok so before installing just the can best location in my home 75/25 best case. It was solid at this speed but again not what I signed up for but solid 75/25.

 

My signal was weak 2/3 bars near -100dbm so really weak and could not hold the 5G signals they would drop soon after reboot so I was stuck with 4G speeds.

Now I can hold the n41 tower so we are talking 500/100”+++ speeds solid now for 2 days.

 

 

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What were your readings before installing the antenna? download and upload speed please?

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Nice description and pics of your setup. 
 

With the outdoor antenna, is it necessary to have the gateway near the window?

No actually you can have it many feet away I just chose this because it was convenient for me. Based on my testing you can locate the can anywhere you need just run the cables to it.

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Nice description and pics of your setup. 
 

With the outdoor antenna, is it necessary to have the gateway near the window?

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OK I decided that I was satisfied with the setup and performance so I went perm.

I was on the fence about how to get the cables inside from outside drill a hole/cut a groove in the window frame or drill a hole in the wall. Not wanting to damage Anderson windows for the homes resale value I went with the hole in the wall as it is easy to patch. Drilled a 1 inch hole and it was just big enough to fit the cables as the ends are big and you need to get 2 of them threw the wall. Just made it with the 1 inch hole and these thinner 3 foot cables.

Used dum dum on the outside as it's easy to remove if needed. Also taped the connections as this is recommended by the antenna seller. The connectors do have a rubber seal but they say to tape as a double seal so I did.

Attached are some pics of the outside and inside setup. This is a mostly a unused room so no issue with anyone messing with the setup. Overall I am happy with the layout of the cables and the fact that all will be hidden behind the window blinds.

This has really given me a great setup I now have over 500/100 speeds, good signal, a solid connection, and the service that I originally had hoped for when signing up.

Antenna setup from Waveform $220, shorter cables from Amazon $15 each so grand total of extra parts needed $250. I could have ordered shorter cables from Waveform but those are thicker and same price and over a week for shipping so Amazon was a good option as such short cables does not matter much. Do note using the shorter cables improved all db reading by 1 so it was worth it and so much neater looking.

Hope this helps someone with their quest for TM internet.

 

 

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I did see the video of the plastic bucket on a pole guy. LOL. I thought it was genius. He knew how to insulate and ground it.

That bucket not sure if it will hold in a windstorm but I like his determination.

Seems I can post.

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I did see the video of the plastic bucket on a pole guy. LOL. I thought it was genius. He knew how to insulate and ground it.

There is nothing bad in my post and all I have done is try to help people keep and get their TM can working better.

Uh oh, I’ve been consorting with a suspected GW alterator? I didn’t do it! Don’t they know you’re with MI6? I read the terms of service about the gateway  when I got it and when it worked well by itself it was a relief. No outlaw activities for me.

On one hand, the people doing this to the gateway have the potential of being loyal customers in years to come, and just want the service to work for them, and by sharing information are just trying to help some truly desperate people, who may be crushed that they can’t get the speed they hoped for. But...it is against their rules. And this is the TMO discussion board set up by the company. You know what I mean?

I was thinking about the reason they might not have included an external ant port to begin with, and other than saving a few dollars, it might have something to do with lightning strikes damaging the gateway when connected to something that is going outside. Or, too many people getting doubly frustrated that they went to such lengths ordering an antenna, and having to return it when it didn’t work, and it just makes them madder at T mobile. 

On some equipment you buy, sometimes there’s a seal on it that if broken, the warranty is violated, but they aren’t even charging for this gateway, so you can understand why their policy is to not allow its disassembly or alteration.

In ancient times, Ma Bell used to charge for phone rental of a Bell phone, calling it an “instrument.” I had an uncle that got their new touch-tone phone and paid something like $5 more a month than a rotary dial phone would cost. When the phone plug was modular and companies started selling cheap phones that worked very well, Bell made threats that anyone caught using an “instrument” which was not one of theirs could be prosecuted. Their claim was one of these cheap phones could damage their network, which was not true at all. All it would do was cut into the profits they made from the absurd prices they used to charge for a phone. Eventually, Bell’s monopoly was broken up, and you could get any phone you wanted, and even sign up for other long distance services. 

Anyway, I think TMO is being reasonable about their policy compared to Bell, and it’s not about profits. It’s that they know that they would get customers leaving and wanted to have as many undamaged gateways as possible to recycle.

 

Well my first brand new best I could tell gatway day one was upgraded and got stuck in a boot look I was down for 3 days, then they sent me a refurb that was clear not checked before sending as it started right up to RF failure, now we are at over a week of brand new service down and the third refurb shows up and lucky it worked. The real issue is they are getting them back but just reboxing them and not even checking them for issues. I put a note in both saying what was wrong and that it needed to be fixed before sending to someone.

Yea I guess but bottom line is my home shows as Ultra 5G and that’s just not the case really at least not with just the can. Also I was told on the phone I was close enough to have 5G as they were only sending to customers that could use the 5G at the time I signed up. So I expected 5G service can only but they did not deliver. Also there is no way unless they build a new tower that I would get 5G can only. The can in any window cannot hold the 5G it is to weak so that leaves me with ok signal from the 4G tower only. That is not the service I signed up for. So TM should be happy I am not sending the can back that I have invested weeks of time to investigation, several hundred dollars in equipment just to make it work as good as they sold me on.

I don't like or want to use Comcast it was my only options I am glad to have an option that’s why I have put so much into making it work for me.

I can sure understand the lightning angel but shoot they tell you to put it in a window of a second fl if possible so go figure. Did you see the one guy he put it on a pole and covered it with a plastic bucket now that’s desperate. I seen another guy with it in his roof vent to get a signal. At least I have done something practical and along the lines of good design.

The full price of the Gateway is like $300 if I break it I will pay for it if needed. I actually bought one off ebay should come next week. I want to have a backup unit in case of failure as it takes at the least several days for them to send a replacement. Not sure how the people are getting them to sell but I see many for sale. Heck with the money I am saving by not paying Comcast the outrageous fees I can afford to pay for the can if I break it.

There are other post about ext antennas this is not the first on here maybe the most detailed but again I was looking to help people that want to keep the service but are in a similar spot as me.

 

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