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Verizon Internet Gateway (WNC-CR200A) External Antenna Guide

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Looking to get the best possible data rates from your Verizon Internet Gateway?

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

In this guide, we'll:

  • Recommend the best external antennas to use.
  • Show where the internal U.FL ports are located.
  • Explain how to aim the antennas for best results.

In this guide

Important Note: To connect external antennas you'll need to open your Verizon Internet Gateway Gateway. Read our instructions for doing so carefully to avoid damaging the device.

The Best External Antennas for the Verizon Internet Gateway

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

The Verizon Internet Gateway (WNC-CR200A) has four internal U.FL ports which allow for a 4x4 MIMO antenna to be connected to the device.

We recommend two different MIMO antenna options for use with the WNC-CR200A. Which variant to use depends primarily on how much time you're willing to spend on aiming.

The easiest antenna choice for the T-Mobile 5G Internet Gateway is our QuadMini Antenna Kit. With up to 5.2 dBi of omnidirectional gain and multiple mounting options, it is designed to be extremely simple to install outdoors or indoors, at home or in an RV.

Easy install, no aiming

Upgrade your 5G in minutes with no aiming, and four easy mounting options.

However, if you're willing to spend a little bit of time aiming, our QuadPro Antenna Kit will generally get you the fastest data speeds, thanks to its 9.1 dBi of directional gain. This is particularly important if you're on the edge of coverage, or have very weak signal.

Best performance, requires aiming

Aim QuadPro at your nearest tower for blazing data, even at the edges of cellular coverage.

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 often less important than other ways 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

Routers like the Verizon Internet Gateway support an LTE feature called "carrier aggregation."

Carrier aggregation allows the WNC-CR200A router to connect on multiple cellular bands simultaneously.

The more bands you're connected to, 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.

Connecting MIMO Antennas to the Verizon Internet Gateway

Before getting started, it's always a good idea to run a couple of speed tests indoors from a device connected to your Verizon 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 open up your Gateway, 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 T8 Torx screwdriver
  • A thin plastic prying tool, needle-nose pliers, or tweezers
  • 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 Verizon Internet Gateway while disassembling.

As part of your agreement with Verizon, you "borrow" this equipment from them. When you end your service, you'll likely need to return the gateway. If there's damage to the device they are contractually able to charge you damage fees.

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

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

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

Step 1: Power off the Verizon Internet Gateway and unplug the power cable.

Step 2: Flip the gateway upside down and remove the two phillip-head screws beneath bottom cover sticker.

Step 3: Use a prying tool to remove the bottom cover of the gateway.

Optional: Having a second tool to keep the cover displaced while removing the remaining clasps may make removing the bottom cover easier.

Step 4: Unscrew the four T8 Torx screws on the inner enclosure.

These screws are captive so they cannot be removed completely from the inner enclosure.

Step 5: Flip the gateway rightside up and carefully let the inner enclosure slide out.

Note: You may need to gently shake the gateway and/or use your prying tool to help ease out the inner enclosure.

Step 6: Disconnect the antenna cables from the desired ports.

To optimize for Low-Band and C-Band frequencies (B5/n5, B13, B48/n48, n77), remove the connectors from ports J1, J2, J3, J4.

To optimize for Mid-Band frequencies (B2/n2, B66/n66), remove the connectors from ports J2, J3, J4, J5.

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.

We recommend using tape to hold the now loose cables to the side of the enclosure.

Step 7: Route the thin end of the pigtails up through the bottom cover slot as shown.

Connect them to the ports that you previously disconnected from Step 6.

We recommend using tape to label each cable to keep track of which port they connect to.

Step 8: Flip the gateway upside down and rest the bottom cover on the inner enclosure. This will keep the pigtails from getting damaged or disconnecting during re-installation.

Slide the inner enclosure back into the outer cover.

Step 9: Reinstall the four screws from Step 4.

Make sure that you route the cables as shown to allow for the bottom cover to be correctly placed back into the gateway.

Step 10: Push the bottom cover back onto the gateway and reinstall the two phillip-head screws from Step 2 and you're done!

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. You will connect your adapters in the order shown below:

Congrats! Your Verizon Internet Gateway is now connected to your more powerful MIMO External Antennas.

Positioning and Aiming MIMO Antennas

Correctly positioning and aiming MIMO antennas is crucial to getting the best performance to your Verizon Internet Gateway or indeed any other router.

We've actually compiled a detailed QuadPro and QuadMini 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 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:

Where to test your signal

Where to test your signal

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 Verizon Internet 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!

Verizon Internet Gateway (WNC-CR200A) Technical Specifications

Supported bands in the US

  • 5G: n2, n5, n48, n66, n77

  • 4G LTE: B2, B5, B13, B48, B66

Cellular Modem

  • Model: CR200A

  • MIMO Support: 4x4

  • Technical Standard: 3GPP Release 16 (DL CAT 20, UL CAT 18)

Wi-Fi

  • Wi-fi Version: Wifi 6E

  • Wifi Standards: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax

  • Bands:

    • 2.4 GHz: Maximum theoretical rate up to 1.1 Gbps

    • 5 GHz: Maximum theoretical rate up to 2.4 Gbps

    • 6 GHz: Maximum rate up to 4.8 Gbps

Ports

  • Ethernet Ports: 2x RJ-45 LAN 2.5 Gbps ports

  • Power: source adapter: 12V/3A

Other Helpful Resources

Verizon Internet (WNC-CR200A) Support page

Verizon Internet Gateway (WNC-CR200A) Documentation

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