External Antenna for Netcom Huawei B593 4G Router

2 minute read

Not long ago we moved to an area in Norway where no reasonable broadband connection is available. Luckily just a few months before we moved there, Norwegian telecom operator Netcom implemented their 4G LTE network in the area. I ordered a package with Huawei B593 4G LTE router and expected to have decent internet connection quality. However although on their map my area is marked as covered, the location of our house behind a rock and some other houses makes cellular signal quite weak and the router didn’t work on 4G indoors at all. I tried to solve this issue by ordering a Poynting 4G flat panel outdoor antenna that cost me about a thousand NOK but it didn’t help. Even worse, with this antenna attached I got less speed than without it. I was quite embarrassed and solved this issue by putting the router in a waterproof box that is placed above the roof on a pole. This worked for quite a while until I got tired by Wifi connection issues due to distant location of the router from all other devices indoors. I tried to buy TP-Link hi gain Wifi adapters and then realized that TP-Link also supplies cheap hi gain Wifi outdoor antennas. I ordered a parabolic antenna although it is not for LTE/WiMax but still in a close frequency. When antenna arrived I had to buy a pigtale and connection cables since these were not included. Then I started to experiment and the result was quite unstable. Sometimes I got speeds up to 15 Mbps download and once even 22 Mbps but sometimes the speed dropped to 1.5 Mbps and almost nothing on upload. My parabolic antenna was not fixed that well and at the night it felt because of the wind. Next day I bought a good pole and installed the antenna. To my surprise I got quite low speeds again! So I started to look may be I bought wrong antennas at the end and I need something like for 800-900 MHz instead of 2.4 GHz. And then I found this website that sells antennas and stuff for 4G in Sweden and this product there:

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The description (in Swedish) says that B593 router has a software mechanism to detect presence of the external antenna and only when it is detected, it switches to use it. Under circumstances it doesn’t detect it and it keeps using internal antennas! Voila, this is exactly the case - despite I connected two external antennas my internet speed was more sensitive to the router position itself and no relation to antenna position whatsoever. These decent guys also pointed to the fact that Telia addressed this issue by providing a firmware update for their routers on this page.

Now I just needed to remember that Netcom is a Norwegian trademark of Telia to decide to give it a try. I downloaded the file, made a settings backup and upgraded my router. Restore of the settings was not required, everything was the same as before except the small new option under System menu item in settings called “Antenna settings”. Going there I switched to use external antenna and instead of no bars on signal indicator I now have two and my connection speed doubles!

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It worth mentioning that Netcom doesn’t provide such an update on their website but Swedish file works just great.