Looking to get the best possible data rates from your white T-Mobile Home Internet G4AR or G4SE Gateway?
This latest generation of T-Mobile gaateways makes connecting external antennas a breeze. All you need is the right external MIMO antenna to connect to your gateway's four SMA ports.
In this guide, we'll:
We're super excited that T-Mobile has listened to customer feedback and added external antenna ports to the new white G4AR and G4SE gateways.
And, in case there's any doubt: Yes! Our antennas are perfectly compatible with these new gateways from T-Mobile.
Using a MIMO antenna outside your building, pointed at the nearest tower, can help you get the fastest 4G and 5G data rates possible.
These new T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateways have four cellular SMA ports on the back that allow for a 4x4 MIMO antenna array to be connected to the device.
Which of the two different MIMO External Antenna kit options to use depends on whether or not you have line-of-sight to the tower.
For most users the best external antenna choice for the T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway is our 4x4 MIMO Panel Antenna kit. This antenna doesn’t require 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 get you better performance, but only when you have a straight shot to the tower.
There's one big misconception about external antennas.
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:
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.
T-Mobile's utilizes a number of different frequency bands to deliver 5G service. Depending on your area, those bands will perform differently.
But in almost every case, T-Mobile's "n41" band, which operates in the 2500 MHz spectrum range, gets the very best download speeds. Many users are able to achieve upwards of 100 Mbps and even up to 1000 Mbps download speeds when connected to this band.
However, the n41 band is a higher frequency than other 5G bands like n5 and n71. As a result, it doesn't penetrate buildings well.
Using a MIMO antenna mounted outside your building allows your gateway to access more bands, including n41, to get the very fastest data rates possible.
As you might expect, using outdoor directional antennas can help increase the signal strength.
This helps increase data rates, but only up to a point.
If your signal strength (called "RSRP" in 4G and 5G networks) is stronger than about -100 dBm, stronger signal often won't speed up your connection any further.
Before getting started, it's always a good idea to run a couple of speed tests indoors from a device connected to your T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway's WiFi. The results will fluctuate a little, but this is the baseline you're trying to improve.
Once you've tested your baseline internet speeds, you're ready to install external antennas.
In the next section of this guide, we'll show you how to connect adapters for external antennas to your T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway.
The T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway has four cellular antenna ports that are labeled "Ant 1" through "Ant 4" and are grouped together on the back of the device. These are the ports your MIMO external antenna(s) will be connecting to.
Step 2 Simply connect the external 4x4 MIMO antenna(s) to the SMA ports on the back of your T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway.
You'll connect port 1 and port 4 as normal but we recommend criss-crossing ports 2 and 3 by connecting port 2 to "ANT 3" and port 3 to "ANT 2".
This may seem odd, but criss-crossing these connections seems to provide a boost in performance.
You can also try the standard 1-2-3-4 arrangement as well to see which works best in your location.
If you're using one of our 4x4 MIMO Antenna Kits, the cables are labeled 1 through 4 on each end to make it easier to match up connectors from your antenna to the gateway.
Tip: We have optional 90 Degree (Right Angle) SMA-Male to SMA-Female Adapters available if you'd like make connecting/disconnecting antennas easier.
Finally, on the built-in display of the gateway, change the antenna settings from "INTERNAL" to "EXTERNAL" to activate the external antenna ports.
Your Gateway will take a few moments to switch antennas. If you receive an error message at this point, read the section near the bottom of this article describing how to fix the issue.
Important Tip: Before you run a new speed test, we recommend power-cycling the gateway, or removing and then re-inserting the SIM card.
Taking this step forces the gateway to search and connect to the best bands available, and we've found it can make a big difference in performance.
Congrats! Your T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway is now connected to your more powerful MIMO External Antennas.
Correctly positioning and aiming MIMO antennas is crucial to getting the best performance to your T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway, or indeed any other router.
We've actually compiled a detailed 4x4 MIMO instruction manual to accompany our own 4x4 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 hotspot. It can take a little patience, but can have a huge impact – it’s worth a bit of extra effort!
Once you've got your external MIMO antennas connected, you're ready to 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:
Pro Tip 1: 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.
Pro Tip 2: When you make bigger changes, try either power cycling or removing and re-inserting the SIM card. This forces the gateway to search for the best signal anew and can help improve data rates.
Once you've found the position which gets you the highest data rates to your T-Mobile Gateway, 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!
In testing our antennas with the G4AR and G4SE gateways, we noticed that an error like this occasionally pops up:
After much testing, we found the source of the issue:
This error is triggered if you have no signal or only 4G sign using the internal antennas (i.e. before you try to switch to external antennas).
Frustratingly, the G4AR and G4SE gateways will show this error message even if you have excellent 5G signal coming from your external antenna.
You can see the 4G icon in the top left of the screenshot above.
The solution is simple:
Solution: Take the gateway to somewhere where it can connect to 5G with its internal antennas (even if that means taking it outdoors or driving it to a coffee shop and plugging in there). Once you're in range of 5G, you'll be able to switch successfully.
The change to external antennas will remain in place even if you unplug the gateway from power.