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AT&T Internet Air All-Fi Hub (CGW450) External Antenna Guide

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Looking to get the best possible data rates from your AT&T Internet Air All-Fi Hub?

You’ll want to purchase and connect external MIMO antennas to the device’s internal U.FL ports.

In this guide, we'll:

  • Recommend the best external antennas to use.
  • Show you how to access the internal U.FL antenna ports, and how to install adapters for external antennas.
  • Explain how to aim the antennas for best results.

In this guide

Important Note: To connect external antennas you'll need to open your AT&T All-Fi Hub. Read our instructions for doing so carefully to avoid damaging the device.

The Best External Antennas For the AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub

Using a MIMO antenna outside your building, pointed at the nearest tower, can help you get the fastest 4G LTE and 5G data rates possible.

The AT&T 5G Internet All-Fi Hub gateway has eight internal U.FL ports, which allow up to two 4x4 MIMO antennas to be connected to the device.

Accessing the antenna ports does require some disassembly. Our instructions below guide you through how to connect and test antennas without damaging the device.

We recommend two different 4x4 MIMO antenna options for use with the AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub:

Best for Most Users

This 4x4 MIMO Panel Antenna kit will provide a meaningful signal improvement possible data rates, even if you're surrounded by trees, hills, or tall buildings.

For users surrounded by trees, hills, or tall buildings, the best external antenna choice is our 4x4 MIMO Panel Antenna kit. While still directional, this antenna doesn’t require line-of-sight to the tower.

Best with line of sight

This 4x4 MIMO Log Periodic Antenna kit includes four cross polarized log periodic antennas to provide an even more meaningful signal improvement. They work best if you have direct line-of-sight to the tower.

However, if you have line of sight to the nearest tower, we recommend using a 4x4 MIMO Log Periodic Antenna kit instead. The higher gain on these antennas can also get you better performance, but only when you have a straight shot to the tower.

Why External Antennas Are Critical for Improving Data Rates

Most people think that external antennas primarily help you increase your data rates by increasing the signal strength.

But that's not the case.

An increase in signal strength is actually probably the third most important way that external antennas help.

Here are the three main ways that external antennas help you increase your data rates:

1.They Improve Signal Quality

In 4G LTE and 5G networks, signal quality is measured as SINR (Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio) or sometimes as RSRQ (Reference Signal Received Quality).

Improving signal quality has a huge impact on your data rates.

Higher data rates allow your hotspot to communicate using "higher order modulation schemes." That means they can use the same wireless spectrum to send more data per second.

However, there's one big caveat:

In order to improve your signal quality, you need to both aim and shield your outdoor antenna properly. We talk more about this in the next section.

2.They Allow You To Connect On More Bands

Hotspots like the All-Fi Hub support a feature called "carrier aggregation."

Carrier aggregation allows the device to connect on multiple cellular bands simultaneously.

The more bands you're connected on, the greater the bandwidth, and the higher your data rates.

However, many of the higher frequency bands aren't able to penetrate into buildings. Using external antennas allows you to access higher frequency bands, which are often less congested and offer higher speeds than lower frequency bands.

3.MIMO Isolation

MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology uses signals travelling along multiple paths simultaneously, increasing both bandwidth and reliability in wireless connections.

MIMO isolation is the antenna's ability to handle several data streams at once, cleanly and without interference, leading to quicker data speeds and steadier connections

Our external antennas are specifically designed for superior MIMO isolation, and dramatically outperform standard built-in antennas found in most home devices.

This means you'll see a more reliable connection with enhanced bandwidth, ensuring smoother streaming, gaming, and browsing with minimal interruptions.

Installing External Antennas to the AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub

Begin by running a few speed tests indoors. Use a device connected directly to the Hub via ethernet, if possible, for the most accurate results. You can also perform the tests over WiFi, but make sure you're close to the All-Fi Hub. Expect some variation in the results, which will establish your performance baseline. Your goal is to enhance the network based on this baseline.

Once you've tested your baseline internet speeds, you're ready to install external antennas. The AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub doesn't have any external antenna ports, but it's possible to access the internal ports and install adapters that allow you to connect antennas.

In the next section of this guide, we'll show you how to open up your All-Fi Hub, connect adapters for external antennas, and close it back up.

Before you get started, you will need the following:

  • A small phillips head screwdriver
  • A Torx T10 screwdriver
  • A thin plastic prying tool
  • Four U.FL to SMA-Female pigtail adapters (included in our 4x4 External Antenna kits)
  • Tape for securing and labeling cables. Painters or Electrical tape works best.
  • A secure container to keep screws and small parts safe while you work
Important note:

Be careful not to damage your All-Fi Hub while disassembling.

Waveform does not make any guarantees nor take any responsibility for damage caused to your unit when following these instructions. Proceed at your own risk.

If you do decide to return your unit to AT&T, make sure to reconnect the existing internal antenna connectors before doing so.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Adapters for External Antennas

Note: You won't be able to reattach the white cover on the back of the device after reassembly.

Step 1: Power off the All-Fi Hub and unplug the power cable.

Step 2: Remove the stand by removing the two screws using a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Step 3: Remove the white cover by taking a prying tool to the plastic seam at the bottom of the outer white cover near the stand and then prying around the unit.

Step 4: Remove the black housing by removing the three screws located in the recesses shown.

Remove the back plate

Step 4: Remove the back heatsink from the board by removing the four screws holding it in place.

Removing the back plate from the outer cover.

Step 5: Depending on your local cell signals, remove the cable connections from following ports located on the top right of the board:

  • If Bands B5/n5, B12/n12, or B29 are available, try the following combinations:
    • Ports 0, 1, 2, 3 to cables A, B, C, D, respectively
    • Ports 0, 1, 2, 4 to cables A, B, C, D, respectively
    • Ports 0, 1, 3, 4 to cables A, B, C, D, respectively
  • If Band B5/n5, B12/n12, or B29 are not available, try the following combinations:
    • Ports 0, 2, 3, 4 to cables A, B, C, D, respectively.
    • Ports 1, 2, 3, 4 to cables A, C, B, D, respectively.
Releasing the clips securing the outer cover to remove it from the device

Tip: If you want to easily find cell towers and their available bands in your area, check out our guides on using Field Test Mode and The 5 Best Ways to Locate Cell Towers Near You.

Tip: If you are struggling to get the pigtail connected, we recommend using a tweezers to spread the petals of the U.FL connector further apart, as shown in the image below:

Spreading the U.FL connector petals

Step 6: Feed the U.FL pigtails in through the upper vents of the black housing.

The T-Mobile Gateway's five U.FL cables and ports

Step 7: Attach the pigtails to the newly available ports (label the other ends of the pigtails, outside the black housing for later reference).

Step 8: Re-attach the heatsink and black housing and stand in that order.

Step 9: Connect the pigtail connectors to your antenna in the following order:

Route your pigtail adapters through the vent ports.

Step 10 (Optional): For each pigtail adapter, loop a piece of tape around its cable and label the name of the port (0, 1, 2, 3, 4) it connects to.

Labeling the adapters will help you remember which internal port they connect to later in this guide.

Congrats! Your AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub is now connected to your more powerful MIMO External Antennas.

Positioning and Aiming MIMO Antennas

Positioning and aiming MIMO antennas well is crucial to getting the best performance to your AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub, or indeed any other hotspot.

We've actually compiled a detailed 4x4 MIMO instruction manual to accompany our own MIMO Antenna Kits, where we go into depth on the best ways to aim the antennas.

The goal is to find the best location and direction for the antenna(s), to maximize data rates to the AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub. It can take a little patience, but can have a huge impact – it’s worth a bit of extra effort!

Connect your MIMO external antennas to your modified AT&T Internet All-Fi Hub via the newly installed pigtail adapters, and go outside with your "test-rig".

With each location and direction you try, run a couple speed tests, and make a note of the results. Here are all the locations and directions where we recommend testing your MIMO antenna:

Where to test your signal

Where to test your signal

Pro tip: Don’t just go to the highest point of the roof! While signal is generally stronger the higher you go, there’s also often more interference. We’ve found it’s often better to mount the antenna(s) on the side of the building where the structure can shield the antennas from interference.

Once you've found the position which gets you the highest data rates to the AT&T All-Fi Hub, that's where you'll want to install the MIMO antenna. Go ahead and mount the antenna, run cables inside, connect everything up, and enjoy superior data rates!

AT&T Internet Air All-Fi Hub Technical Specifications

Supported AT&T bands in the US

  • 5G Bands: n2, n5, n12, n30, n66, n77
  • 4G LTE Bands: B2, B4, B5, B12, B29, B30, B66

Cellular Modem

  • Model: Qualcomm Snapdragon X65

  • MIMO Support: 8x2 w/ internal antennas or external antennas

    • 5G: DL (8RX, on n77), DL (4RX, on n2/n30/n66), and DL (2RX, on n5/n12)
    • LTE: DL (4x4, on B2/30/66), and DL (2x2, on B5/12/29)
  • Carrier Aggregation: Yes

    • 5G: 3x Downlink; 2x Uplink
    • LTE: 2-4x Downlink; 2x Uplink
  • LTE Performance Category: Cat 22

  • Max Theoretical Speeds:

    • 5G: 10 Gbps Download, 3.0 Gbps Upload
    • LTE: 2.5 Gbps Download, 316 Mbps Upload

Wi-Fi

  • Technologies: Wi-Fi 6 - 802.11 ax

  • Bands:

    • 2.4 GHz: 4x4 MU-MIMO at 40 MHz
    • 5 GHz: 4x4 MU-MIMO at 160 MHz
    • 6 GHz: 4x4 MU-MIMO at 160 MHz

Ports

  • Cellular Antenna Ports: 8x internal U.FL
  • Ethernet Ports: 1x 10 Gbps LAN port, 3x 2.5 Gbps LAN port, 1x 10 Gbps WAN port
  • SIM Slot: 1x Nano SIM (4FF)
  • Other Ports: 1x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x SFP+ (XGS-PON)

Port Analysis

  • ANT_0: B2/B5/B12/B29/B30/B66 & n2/n5/n12/n30/n66/n77
  • ANT_1: B2/B5/B12/B29/B30/B66 & n2/n5/n12/n30/n66/n77
  • ANT_2: B2/B30/B66 & n2/n30/n66/n77
  • ANT_3: B2/B30/B66 & n2/n30/n66/n77
  • ANT_4: B2/B30/B66 & n2/n30/n66/n77
  • ANT_5: n77 only
  • ANT_6: n77 only
  • ANT_7: n77 only

Other Helpful Resources

AT&T Internet Air All-Fi Hub (CGW450) Documentation

A Helpful Guide on Installing and Maintaining U.FL Connectors

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