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Adding an external antenna to your Netgear Nighthawk M1 will help you get the fastest possible data rates.

In this guide, we recommend the best external antennas for every situation, as well as explain how to aim the antennas for best results.

In This Guide

Best Nighthawk M1 External Antennas

For Homes (And In Other Buildings)

Best for homes
Running coaxial cable outdoors takes work, but is worth the extra effort. These cross-polarized antenna kit will result in meaningful signal improvement.
Best for homes
Running coaxial cable outdoors takes work, but is worth the extra effort. These cross-polarized antenna kit will result in meaningful signal improvement.

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Ordered list

  1. Signal Quality (SINR)

    In 4G LTE networks, signal quality is measured as SINR. Increasing your SINR can have a dramatic impact on your connection speeds. The best way to improve SINR is to use a directional outdoor antenna, either connected to a signal booster or directly to an LTE hotspot.
  2. Number of Connected Bands

    Your phone or hotspot can use multiple bands to connect simultaneously to the tower. This is called “Carrier Aggregation.” The more bands you’re connected on, the higher your data rates.
  3. Signal Strength (RSRP)

    Many people think this is the most important factor, but it isn't. Signal strength, which is called RSRP in 4G LTE networks, definitely matters. But it’s often not the most important factor. If your RSRP signal is stronger than around -100 dBm, then a stronger signal won't help increase your data rates.
  4. Tower Congestion

    The more users on the tower, the lower your data rates will be. In reality, tower congestion varies by band. Generally higher frequencies penetrate buildings less than lower frequencies. As a result, higher frequency bands are generally less congested. Using outdoor antennas connected directly to a hotspot or to a signal booster can help get you access to less-congested bands.
  5. MIMO Support

    Both the tower and your LTE device use multiple antennas, in a configuration called “Multiple Input Multiple Output,” to increase data rates by around 30%. Most cell phone signal boosters are SISO – "Single Input Single Output" – though you can install two systems in parallel to get a MIMO booster.
  6. Throttling

    If you're on an "MVNO" like Tracfone, Straight Talk, or others, you're treated as a second-class citizen on the main carrier's network. Even if you're on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint directly, you may be throttled if you use a lot of data each billing cycle. Throttling is a process by which carriers de-prioritize certain users or even cap their connection to a certain speed.

Advantages comparison

Advantages:

  • Wireless coverage for multiple devices.
  • Works with existing phones.
  • Doesn’t require a hotspot or line of service.
  • Directional outdoor antennas can improve SINR.
  • Booster may enable you to connect to weaker bands.

Disadvantages: Disadvantages:

  • Boosters are SISO (one antenna outside and one antenna inside), so you lose MIMO support (decreases max speeds by around 33%).
  • More expensive than external antennas.