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Thread: Omni-Directional Antenna For Netgear Nighthawk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Omni-Directional Antenna For Netgear Nighthawk

    I drove by a tower site yesterday and I am trying to determine if it is the AT&T tower that I am connecting to when I am home. According to my Garmin GPS, my farm is less than three miles from this tower. When I am a couple of blocks from the tower, my typical speed is about 80 Mbps down. When I am home, even in my driveway, the speed is less than half of that and the signal strength is not as good.

    So, my questions are: What is the best way to determine which tower my Netgear Nighthawk is connected to? I recall that there are smartphone apps. Is any one of them better than another for determining the tower I am connected to? Also, I am under the general assumption that the farther away I am from a tower, the lower the signal strength will be and the resulting speeds will be slower. I often have about two bars of signal strength. If I recall correctly, I read somewhere recently that two bars is definitely not enough. Does that match what others here have experienced? Does adding an antenna or moving the location, which results in more bars of signal strength, always result in faster speeds?

    I actually found an old cell antenna that I used years ago. It is on an Antenna Specialist magnetic mount and is designed for vehicle use. The coaxial cable terminates in a TNC connector. I did order a TNC to TS-9 "dongle" cable. I hope to report back soon how the speeds change by adding an external antenna. I also recall regard that the left TS-9 port is the "main" port.!3m1!1e3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Essential, StarTAC, Lots of mobile broadband
    VZW, AT&T, Sprint
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    There is a virtual serial port presented when you USB tether. There are ways to query it over serial with putty.exe for Band and carrier aggregation information.

    Try this before getting serious about some fancy antenna setup: Beyond something simple like this, your going to be hard pressed to get significant data speed improvements if you don't have line of site to the antenna mast.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Feedback Score
    The 4 internal antennas in the nighhawk are going to do better than any single or two indoor antennas you plugin. I've done the Netgear black panel antenna, it did no better than the internal antennas, even slightly worse in some locations. You need to get your antennas outside on the roof to do better and then signal loss due to cable losses take effect too. The next step up in performance is getting a POE adapter, a nema box and putting the nighthawk on the roof. From there you can use the internal antennas or step up to short feed lines and directional high gain antennas.

    To have the nighthawk tell you what you are connected to, you need to plug a computer into the the type C port, telnet in and use AT commands. Then look up the towers the nighthawk gives you. Maybe easier to use the gui signal strength display, speed tests to determine the direction of best signal then use tower maps to figure out what tower you are connected to.

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