3G/4G antennas – Types, directional, MIMO, cables & connectors

MIMO SMA connectionsChoosing the right antenna is not as simple as picking a random high gain 4G antenna and expecting it to work!  There are several types of antennas and connectors.  Even the cable type and length can make a difference.

Before considering an antenna, check out the article on choosing the right 3G/4G router.  A proper mains-operated 4G router can do away with most indoor antennas. 

Like TV antennas, there are a wide range of 3G and 4G antennas.  These range from small portable antennas to large outdoor antennas.  Portable antennas generally provide a significant signal boost for small data modems and portable hotspots.  However, they may not provide any benefit over the internal higher gain antennas in larger mains-operated desktop routers.

Larger outdoor antennas can provide a vast signal improvement, particularly if mounted high up.  They are available in a choice of single and MIMO, omni-directional and directional, wideband and band specific.  Antenna suppliers may also offer a choice of cable connectors.

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Update 16th April 2018: I added the Antenna gain and radiation pattern section.  If a directional antenna does not have a radiation pattern graph, consider avoiding it!

Cell towers enforce a maximum range!

Before purchasing any antenna, first check that 3G/4G reception is possible with a router.  For example, try operating the router outdoors or outside an upstairs window facing the cell tower.  If a router fails to connect in 3G or 4G mode, an antenna will very unlikely help.

Cell towers determine the distance based on the signal round trip time between it and the user’s equipment.  Devices with round trip times over the configured threshold will be considered out of range, preventing a connection.  This cannot be overcome even with clear line of sight and a powerful antenna.  See this troubleshooting article for further information.

To make matters worse, there may be different range limits for phones and data devices.  This is the case with the Three network in Ireland.  A phone that picks up 4G does not necessarily mean that a router will also be able to operate on 4G.  In 4G+ areas where cell towers operate simultaneously on bands 3 and 20, the cell tower may enforce different range limits for each band.  See the band coverage section below.

Active signal boosters / mobile repeaters

Do not confuse antennas with signal boosters or repeaters!  A signal booster, also known as a mobile repeater, amplifies the signal in each direction.  These are typically placed inline in-between an indoor and outdoor antenna.

Most low cost non EU mobile boosters blindly amplify everything, including background noise and other sources of interference.  Improper isolation of the indoor and outdoor antennas can result in signal oscillations, like a PA speaker whistling near its microphone.  These unwanted transmissions can severely affect the mobile networks in the area, not just one network.

According to ComReg, mobile repeaters are the main source of interference in Ireland.  Mobile repeaters and boosters that don’t meet ComReg’s strict criteria are prohibited for consumer use.  It is also illegal to posses non-compliant signal boosters and they can be seized by customs.

Antennas, cables and connectors on the other hand are purely passive components.  These carry the signal received over the airwaves or transmitted by the data device’s radio hardware.   A purely passive antenna setup connects directly to the antenna ports of the data device.

ComReg has recently permitted the use of mobile repeaters that meet their strict technical conditions.  However, even with a high quality mobile repeater, it will only improve the reception on one polarity.  While this is great for calls, texts and data on mobile phones that lack antenna ports, 4G MIMO reception requires two repeaters running in opposite antenna polarities.

4G will work with a single repeater for the correct 4G band, but with its bandwidth cut in half.  One workaround for 4G MIMO would be to use an indoor rabbit ear antenna on the router’s port #1.  Then install an outdoor antenna with the opposite polarity and connect it to port #2.

Warning: Do not connect a repeater or signal booster directly to the antenna port of a modem or router!  This will potentially damage the repeater or the modem/router, like connecting an speaker amplifier to a microphone input.

Portable antennas

Portable 4G antennaA quick search of “4G antenna” on eBay or Amazon will return countless sellers offering antennas like the image on the right.  This type of antenna can be useful when travelling with a data dongle or hotspot.  For example, the antenna can attach to a campervan window with its suction cup.  Check that the antenna has the correct connector to fit the data dongle or hotspot.  TS9 and CRC9 require different connectors despite looking similar.

This type of antenna will unlikely offer any improvement for desktop routers.  These routers have much more sensitive antennas than the tiny antennas in dongles and hotspots.  The exception would be to locate antenna in an area that the router cannot easily go.

The “rabbit ear” antennas that attach directly to the ports can also be hit & miss.  With routers that have internal antennas, external antennas can avoid interference from circuitry within the router.  The benefit is usually minimal, sometimes no better than repositioning the router, turning it or raising its height.

Single vs MIMO antennas

4G MIMO antenna (Xpol)All antennas with two cable connections are MIMO antennas.  With 4G MIMO, one antenna is polarised at a 90-degree angle to the other.  This effectively doubles the bandwidth by transmitting on opposite polarities simultaneously within the same band.  With 3G, the second antenna handles receive diversity.  The second antenna picks up signals that bounce from directions the main antenna misses and vice versa.

While 3G can operate with a single antenna, a second antenna can provide up to double the performance.  If the data device lacks a second antenna connection, consider replacing it.  Most 4G devices support diversity on 3G, with advantage of 4G support when it becomes available.  See my router advice article for further information.

MIMO Log pairWideband LOG antennas are typically available in a pair (right image), one coaxial cable per antenna.  As the Irish networks operate on vertical and horizontal polarity, mount one antenna vertically and the second horizontally.  The antennas can be up to several metres apart, however, both antennas must face the same cell tower.

Dual polarity LOG antennaFrom my own rural area testing, I find LOG antennas perform at their best a few metres apart.  LOG antennas are also available that handle both polarities in one unit, as shown on the right.  I suggest going for two separate LOG antennas over this type of antenna for fringe reception areas.  Based on my testing, a dual polarity LOG antenna tends to perform no better than using just one LOG antenna.

Omni-Directional vs Directional

Portable antennas and larger indoor antennas are generally omni-directional.  When the cellular signal penetrates the building, it will often bounce off various surfaces before reaching the antenna.  While directional antennas have higher gain, it may not be possible to achieve a stronger signal than omni-directional antennas.  An omni-directional antenna picks up the main signal as well as signals that bounce off objects from other directions.

Directional antennas generally perform better with clear line of sight of the cell tower.  Unlike indoor reception, the signals coming from other directions are likely unwanted signals from other cell towers.  A directional antenna will attenuate these unwanted signals that otherwise introduce interference.   The higher gain facing the cell tower will also provide a stronger uplink signal at the cell tower receiving end.

The best place to install an omni-directional antenna outdoors is against a wall or gable.  This will help attenuate unwanted signals coming from behind the antenna.  See the ComReg SiteViewer to see the locations of the mobile operator masts, which will give an idea which side to install the antenna and the direction to aim it.

Antenna gain and radiation pattern

With antenna manufacturers trying to outdo each other on marketing, a lot of antennas have false gain ratings.  If a wideband antenna gain rating is over 15dB, it very likely is a false rating.   For example, the Wittenberg LAT-56 is one of the most sensitive wideband LTE antennas I’m aware of.  Despite its 98cm length, its maximum gain rating is just 11.5dBi.

All omni-directional MIMO antennas have a maximum gain of 2.4dBi.  These antennas basically contain a pair of dipoles, cross polarised.  Even the popular “35dBi” portable antennas are typically 2dBi max.

When comparing directional antennas, look for the radiation pattern graph.  If the antenna does not have a radiation pattern graph, I recommend avoiding that antenna for trying to isolate a mast.  The exception would be for very long antennas (80cm+), which have a narrow acceptance angle.  Note that omni-directional antennas generally do not provide a radiation pattern graph.  The horizontal plane would be a circle and the vertical plane would be a figure 8 shape.

The following is an example from the Wittenberg LAT-56:

Wittenberg Lat-56 Gain Graph

This graph shows the radiation patterns for three LTE bands – 2.6GHz (band 7), 1800MHz (band 3) and 800MHz (band 20).  The ‘E’ plane (from the German data sheet) is for the vertical plane.

The top section of the graph shows the acceptance angle.  Going by these graphs, the aim can be 30 degrees off to the left/right or up/down before losing about 3dB of signal.

The pattern around the rest of the graph shows the signal rejection.  For example, if there is another mast anywhere between 60 degrees and 300 degrees to where the antenna points, this antenna will weaken the unwanted signal by over 18dB.

Panel and smaller LOG antennas typically have a larger acceptance angle and less rejection.  Their smaller size make them easier to install, particularly in areas where the user has clear line of sight of the mast.

Band-specific antennas are much more sensitive for the equivalent wideband antenna size.  For example, the Wittenberg LAT 22 offers 3dB higher gain than the above antenna for the 800MHz (band 20), has a narrower acceptance angle (more directional) and is 20cm shorter.

3G and 4G band coverage

Portable and omni-directional 4G antennas are generally wideband and cover the main 3G and 4G bands in Ireland.  Directional antennas like group band TV antennas are available in both wideband and band specific.  Band specific antennas provide higher gain and directivity than wideband for the same antenna size.

Single band coverage

All mobile operators in Ireland currently operate on 900MHz and 2100MHz for 3G and 800MHz and 1800MHz for 4G.   The 800MHz 4G and 900MHz 3G bands have extensive coverage in rural areas due to the long signal propagation. The 2100MHz 3G and 1800MHz 4G bands mainly serve urban areas and larger towns due to the higher bandwidth.

LTE panel antennaFor users over a kilometre from the nearest town, an 800-900MHz antenna will generally be adequate.  An 800MHz panel antenna (right image) provides high gain, good directivity and is no larger than a typical grid TV antenna.  It can easily mount on a typical TV antenna wall bracket.

Within the town limits and urban areas, I strongly recommend checking what bands are available.  Many Samsung, iPhone, Android 7+ phones and rooted Android phones can display the bands in use.   On Samsung phones, dial *#0011#.  For iPhone, dial *3001#12345#*.  With other phones, install the CellMapper app.  It can read frequency information on many Android 7+ and rooted phones and look up the LTE band on others.  For phones that cannot read band information, go into the CellMapper’s Settings menu and turn on “Estimate Frequency Bands”.  It will look-up the LTE band # from its server, which requires an Internet/data connection.  If the phone shows ‘4G+’ on the network, then both 4G bands are in use.

LTE Advanced / 4G+ carrier aggregation

4G+ cell towers in Ireland operate on 800MHz and 1800MHz simultaneously to provide higher bandwidth.  LTE cat 6 and higher devices connect to two bands simultaneously in 4G+ mode, also known as carrier aggregation.

For regular 4G devices (LTE cat 4 and lower), the cell tower may determine the band the device can use depending on the physical distance from the router.  Some cell towers restrict devices within a certain range to the higher band only, while devices far away can operate on 800MHz only.  As a result, I recommend choosing a wideband antenna if 4G+ is available in the area.

Antenna types

The most common band specific patch, panel and Yagi antennas are as follows:

  • 800MHz – 4G bands 8 & 20 and 3G band 900MHz.
  • 1800MHz – 4G band 3, some also extend to cover 3G band 2100MHz
  • 2600MHz – 4G bands 7 & 38, not yet in use in Ireland
  • 1710-2700MHz – Upper 4G bands, including 4G band 3, 7 & 38.  These may cover 3G band 2100MHz.

LOG antennas are wideband only and generally cover all the 3G and 4G bands between 700MHz and 2700MHz.

4G Ready TV antennaBeware – So called “4G Ready” and “LTE Ready” antennas do not work with 4G!  These are UHF TV antennas with circuitry added to filter out the 800MHz 4G band, formerly used by UHF channels 61-69.

Cable connectors

MIMO SMA connectionsMost desktop routers include either SMA or FME connectors.  Huawei routers generally have two SMA connectors behind a removable panel on the back of the router.  Portable 4G hotspots and data dongles typically have two small CRC9 or TS9 antenna connectors.  The cable connectors must match to connect.

Adapters are available to connect from SMA to CRC9 or TS9 or from FME to CRC9 or TS9.  Most of these adapters typically include two screw-on ends to fit either CRC9 or TS9.

Cable and connector impedance matching

People often ask me if they can reuse their satellite coaxial leads, such as from an old Sky dish.  Unfortunately, satellite and TV cables are unsuitable for cellular antennas due to an impedance mismatch.  TV antennas and satellite dishes use 75 Ohm cable.  3G and 4G antennas and data devices require 50 Ohm cable.

The two types of cable and connectors may look very similar.  However, both have different characteristics such as inner/outer radii and the dielectric insulation in-between.  While 75 Ohm cable can carry the signals, a small portion of the signal reflects when it meets the 50 Ohm impedance mismatch at each end of the cable.

Besides signal loss, the reflected signals are particularly troublesome with 2-way transmissions such as a video call.  Each time the radio hardware transmits a signal, the reflections may obliterate the incoming transmissions.  This can severely affect the performance or cause frequent drop-outs.

See this article for in-depth detail covering the differences between 50 Ohm and 75 Ohm cable and connectors.

Coaxial cables

Coaxial cablesMost antennas are typically available as complete kits, which include one or two antennas, 5 to 10 metres of RG-58 coaxial cable and the connectors.  Some kits also include a wall mount bracket.

Try to keep the cable run as short as possible, preferably within 10 metres.  With short cable runs, the signal to noise ratio remains mostly consistent all the way to the radio hardware.  With long cable runs, some otherwise discernible signals will fall below the noise floor of the radio hardware.  Similarly, unwanted signals that penetrate the cable shielding will interfere with the weakened signal towards the device end.

50 Ohm cable also requires a suitable 50 Ohm SMA, FME or ‘N’ connector at each end.  Complete antenna kits typically include the proper matching connectors prefitted.  While twist-on ‘F’ connectors and adapters may be tempting for a DIY cable build, they are 75 Ohm rated.  As with using unsuitable cable, 75 Ohm connectors will introduce signal loss and reflections.

DIY with UHF TV antennas and satellite dishes

Older UHF antennas that handle UHF channels 61-69 can be modified to pick up LTE band 20 (800MHz).  This typically involves replacing the 75 Ohm balun/cable connector and dipole assembly with a small cellular dipole antenna.

See the following video on YouTube where someone modified a TV antenna to function as a high gain LTE antenna.

4G dish antennaSatellite dishes are a popular way of receiving the higher LTE bands 7, 38 (both 2600MHz) and 3 (1800MHz).  This typically involves replacing the LNB with a small LTE antenna or a USB data dongle with water proofing.

The image on the right shows a purpose built MIMO antenna installed in the “LNB” holder.  This type of setup generally does not work with the lower 800/900MHz bands.  Unfortunately, with Irish operators enforcing strict distance limits from newer and upgraded cell towers, the satellite dish method will unlikely work more than a few kilometres of the cell tower either.

143 thoughts on “3G/4G antennas – Types, directional, MIMO, cables & connectors”

  1. Thanks for your nice article to share your experience in antenna. I am having difficulty to select antennas. I have living in urban area, 1.2 kms away from the nearest mast and not far away from another two masts at the other directions. The signal is a little bit bad because trees and buildings between my home and mast. I found lots of antennas with same type, same gain but different beam width. How should I choose the right type and right beam width antennas? Thanks very much

    1. Generally, the narrower the beam width, the better the antenna is at isolating a particular mast. As you have masts in different directions, this may let you try each mast to see which performs the best. The narrower beam width, the larger the antenna is for the same bands, so check the dimensions of each antenna. For LOG antennas, narrow beam models can go over 1m in length. They also require a more sturdy mount to withstand stormy weather.

      1. Hello Sean, thanks for your reply.
        I would like to share a handy tool for you and your readers. There is a software for Huawei routers to lock customized bands, LTEInspector: Huawei 4G Router Überwachungssoftware.
        http://www.lte-anbieter.info/lte-forum/threads/lteinspector-huawei-4g-router-%C3%9Cberwachungssoftware.4172/
        Download link:
        Der Download-Link für die installierbare Version
        https://drive.google.com/open?id=1K1-S4ygFsS9GNdXmcEy4dQ9smsP8ksL4

        Der Download-Link für die portable Version
        https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KFUQlNIw2cjfGor2WkLpYDjTVKkQOsxa

        1. Thanks for the utility, which works as a brilliant signal meter showing live RSRP, RSRQ and SINR figures. I have been been looking for something that could give me a live signal read out that works with the Huawei B525 as the router’s web interface does not automatically refresh the readings, unlike the older Huawei B593s-22.

          With this LTEInspecteur utility, it can show a full screen signal meter. This is very useful while up the ladder adjusting the antenna – One can place the laptop somewhere nearby within view and monitor the figures in realtime while carefully adjusting the antenna.

  2. Hi sean. I got the two wittenberg antenna and I have been using them with a B525s router with ISP THREE. I recently relocated the antenna to the chimney as there is direct line of sight to the mast. In doing so I had to remove the connectors to slip them under slates. When I re fitted new connectors in the attic I am getting better consistency with the internal router antenna than the external.. is there an individual that I can contact who i can pay to optimise what I have. Antenna and bracket on roof and router in attic… trial and error is getting me nowhere as at times I have 50 mgs and other times i get connection error. Mytest.net shows huge fluctuation when I do speedtest. Do you do this work or can you recommend??? I’m living outside athlone.

    1. Have a check in the router’s web interface that the antenna is set to External – Go into the top Settings menu, then System -> Antenna settings on the left menu. If it is Auto, it can intermittently switch to its internal antennas, causing drop-outs. Connect the lead from the vertically aimed antenna to port #1 and the horizontal aimed antenna to port #2 on the router.

      When adjusting the antenna, look at the router’s signal read-outs, which can be viewed by going into the top Settings menu, then System -> Device Information on the left. Try to get the RSRP the lest negative as possible, e.g. -90dB RSRP is better than -100dB RSRP and the SINR as positive as possible, e.g. over 10dB. Reload the page to refresh the readings. If the connection is still randomly dropping out, it may be an issue with the connectors.

      Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who does antenna installation work, although someone who specialises in satellite dish and TV antenna installations may be able to help aim the antennas and check that the SMA connectors are crimped properly.

  3. Thanks sean. Following your last post I have set up the duo antenna accordingly. Unfortunately there is no marked improvement in reception based on the routers interface readings or mytest.net. so I’m guessing that I have done some damage when re applying the connectors. I checked my Amazon account and it was the lat 22 duos that were recommended… not the lat 56 duos right?

    1. I would have suggested the 56 unless you are sure the mast is operating on 800MHz (band 20) only. Generally I recommend going for a pair of LOG antennas (such as these) and the Lat 56 for an extremely weak 4G signal (e.g. router only picks up 1 to 2 bars of 4G outside.)

      The Lat 22 is an 800MHz (band 20) specific band antenna, so that would be an issue if the mast you are pointing at operates on 1800MHz (band 3). This is the set I currently use as the Three mast in our area operates on 800MHz only and I needed as narrow beamwidth antenna as I could get as I was trying to pick up one mast over another that was about 30 degrees apart.

      To check what band your router currently connects to, disconnect the antennas, set it to its internal antennas and check that it’s connected in 4G mode. Go into the router’s web interface (192.168.8.1), click Settings and log in. Then enter the URL http://192.168.8.1/api/device/signal Then right-click the page and click ‘view source’ (or ‘view page source’). Look for the ‘band’ tag. If this is 20, the mast is 800MHz. If it is 3, the mast is 1800MHz, in which case you will need wideband antennas.

      If it is on band 20, then the crimping could be the issue. So far I have not tried crimping any coaxial cable for a cellular antenna as these connections are a lot more sensitive than for TV/satellite. While a loose fitting generally does not affect incoming signals (e.g. satellite/TV receive only), it can seriously affect transmissions as a portion will reflect back if not crimped properly. This could also explain why it’s dropping out.

  4. Thanks sean. I followed your direction and Im on band 3. So my lat 22 antenna need to go. Before I ask which antenna to go with, can you tell me how I can confirm which mast I am connecting to. There is no point in getting directional antenna at all if I cannot be sure as to which mast I am connecting to. The cell id reads 1:0 on the router interface. I am presuming that I am connecting to the mast that I have direct line of sight to but perhaps I am mistaken (like with the choice of antenna previously).

    1. Unfortunately Three don’t provide a way of viewing their cell IDs and they do not correspond with Comreg’s site viewer. If you have a phone with Android 7 or later and on the Three network, you may be able to find the direction with the help of the app Network Cell Info Lite. With the Cell Info Lite app and the phone in 4G mode, see if that cell ID appears for the UCID or CID fields. Walk around the outside of your house to see which side gives the strongest signal and hopefully you’ll see a corresponding Three cell on Comreg’s site viewer.

      You don’t need direct line of sight to pick up Three, particularly for band 20 which can penetrate buildings, forestry, etc. As you are connecting on band 3 which does not penetrate objects as easily, there is a good chance that you have clear line of sight with the mast.

      If you decide on the smaller LOG antennas, they are a lot easier to aim than the Wittenbergs as they have a 60 degree viewing angle with a gradual fall off beyond that, whereas the Wittenbergs had a 30 degree viewing angle with a sharp cut-off. For example, you could roughly find the mast in 4 attempts, i.e. aim forward, then left, then back and right and one or two of those directions will pick up that cell. Then it’s just a matter of turning it 30 degrees left/right a few attempts to find the sweet spot.

      For your current antenna, you can try listing it on the classifieds, e.g. high gain MIMO band 20 antenna for Three and Vodafone, like new condition. Include a picture next to a familiar object such as the Huawei router to give an idea of the antenna size in the ad. Just a pity you about cutting the cable ends as otherwise you would have been able to return it back to the online shop under it’s cooling off period.

  5. Hi Sean

    Is there any difference between the antenna you recommend above

    https://m.ebay.ie/itm/Duo-Antenne-Set-LTE-Richtfunk-LOG-800MHz-bis-3000MHz-10m-Kabel-SMA/382332633253?_mwBanner=1&_rdt=1

    Or this one David recommended?

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EE8RRFK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_gi4YBbFN53N9V

    The one you linked too was cheaper 🙂 still haven’t decided what to do. I tested my signal with three uk and found at one corner of my house in mid afternoon I can get 30mb download. I can’t see the mast from there but it is in the general direction. I should say I got that using my phone. If that is the case do I need a directional antenna or would an omni one do? As David mentioned above if I can get 4g I might not need an antenna. How the signal is patchy.

    Just reluctant to spend this money on an antenna from Germany and for it not to work. Plus he hassle of putting it up.

    1. The Amazon one appears to be slightly higher gain with a narrower beam-width going by the picture. Unfortunately they don’t mention any useful spec, let alone a beam diagram (which the eBay listing does). It’s certainly not 20dBi gain! Otherwise the antenna would probably be over 3 metres long. For example, I have a 900MHz GSM 16.5dBi gain antenna that is 1.8m long for my mobile repeater.

      Considering the high price of omni-directional antennas, I suggest going for the eBay one. I know it will mean going up/down the ladder a few times to aim it. As you already know which side of the house you get the best 4G signal, indeed that would be the direction I suggest facing it to start off with.

      If you would like to see how an omni-directional antenna would perform, try temporarily holding the router outside where you plan installing the omni-directional antenna, e.g. have someone up the ladder hold the router and the extension lead, then run a speed test from a laptop connected to it.

      An omni-directional antenna will not perform any better than the router on its own in the same location, so if the speed is poor with this test, it will unlikely be any better an omni-directional antenna installed in that spot, possibly worse with the weak signal having to travel the length of the leads. Most directional antennas on the other hand will have at least 8dBi of gain, which will overcome the cable losses as well as provide a better signal to noise ratio to the router.

  6. So I will check with android 7 as to the likely mast. The one that is plain line of sight is the closest Three mast at just under 5k away, in rural settings. Ulband 20MHZ, Dlband 20MHz, erfcn DL 1700 UL 19700, tac3003 . It’s on band 3 and like you the is a guy with Vodafone operating antenna about 30 degrees off my line of sight that has people locally connecting to him. He is only 500 metres from my house but too expensive. My 4g gives me good internet on bars but it drops regularly in the evenings, when on 3g I have full bars but slow in the evenings also with a tendency to drop. I see the other comments include some other antenna suggestions. In light of these circumstances what antenna should I consider?

    1. My two suggestions would be to go either that pair of LOG antennas or the following pair of Yagi antennas that target band 3.

      If you really want to get the maximum signal knowing that you are picking up band 3, the following is LTE MIMO antenna set that covers 1710-2700MHz. The catch is that if the 4G mast goes down, your router will only be able to drop to 3G if the mast is using the 2100MHz 3G band. Three operates 3G on 900MHz in a lot of areas. Similarly if you later switch to Vodafone, their 4G mast could be operating on band 20. As 1800MHz is a much shorter wavelength, the antenna size is much smaller than a wideband antenna for the equivalent gain. On the other hand, the narrow 32 degree viewing angle means I strongly recommend doing a temporary setup within easy reach such as with a camera/speaker tripod, so you know which way to aim it on your gable or chimney.

      https://www.ebay.ie/itm/Dual-Yagi-Tube-LTE-MiMo-1710-2700MHz-HIGH-GAIN-18dBI/273531599201

      My first antenna purchase was indeed this antenna from the same Polish seller as at the time Three only had 1800MHz spectrum for 4G. However, by the time 4G came to my area, Three bought out O2 Ireland which owned 800MHz spectrum and suddenly Three started putting up 800MHz (band 20) masts. Indeed the one they installed by us operates on band 20 only.

  7. Slower speed in the evenings is probably the operator throttling the speeds due to the mast not being able to cope with the number of people using it. Do a speed test at 4am to see the difference. I can get 18mb at 4am but it goes down to 1.6 in the evenings. 3 network. ..

  8. Hi Sean,

    Just wanted a bit further advice. Got my directional antenna that you suggested from eBay in Germany. Finally tried it today but no luck. I mounted it on a pole temporarily at different spots around the house. Tried pointing it in the direction that an app said the mast was. But the antenna made no difference. Not sure if it is my setup or if the antenna is so sensitive that I haven’t directed it properly. I had to use a sma to CRC9 adapter to connect to my usb 4g modem.

    Any suggestions

    1. I wonder if the cables are making proper contact with both CRC connectors. If the signal strength varies when you move the antennas about, but the speed does not improve, then the issue is down to network load on the mast.

      If the antennas were not making any noticeable effect on the signal strength, try pointing them directly down at the ground inside to see whether the signal strength drops. If the router still shows the same signal strength or there’s no noticeable change in its connection speed, then the modem is still using its internal antenna.

      I’m not sure if there is any setting in its web interface to specify an external antenna for the E3372. I had the slightly later E3372h which automatically switched to external antennas when attached.

      1. Hi Sean,

        Yes it is the e3372h as well. I wondered if it needed switched.

        Will maybe plug it into the laptop and read what the USB modem says. I was using the router read out of signal strength.

        It is strange as I can get about 20mbps with the router with no antenna at the opposite end of the house to the direction of the mast.

        Will the external antenna work in the loft?

        1. The external antenna will work in the loft as long as the roof does not have foil-backed insulation. However, if the mast is directly behind a block wall such as the gable, it may need to be installed outside. If you see the signal readout in RSRP dB or as a percentage, you should see that fluctuate up or down as you turn the antenna. Ideally, you should aim for the best RSRQ (least negative) and SINR (higher is better) readings, however, I don’t recall whether the e3372h can report these readings like the Huawei desktop 4G routers do.

          1. Thanks Sean,

            Will give it a go. Think there is maybe some software I can run on the pc to get some stats.

            Also to start with should I have the antenna both horizontal or one vertical and horizontal. Will this make a difference in aiming?

            Thanks

          2. For aiming, I suggest setting them up one horizontally and the other vertically if you can. If it’s too awkward to set up both antennas temporarily, set up one antenna vertical on the pole and connect it to antenna port #1 on the modem. Connect the second antenna to port #2 and point it directly down at the ground to prevent it picking up a signal. Once you find the direction that gives the best signal strength reading (i.e. least negative RSRP and RSRQ figures), you can try setting up the second antenna horizontal aimed the same direction to run a speed test. If the modem reports an SINR figure, both antennas need to be attached to get this reading, such as when fine tuning each antenna position.

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