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Is there a Mi-Fi device that will accept an external antenna?
bobpbobp
Member

I need to see if Verizon offers a MiFi unit that accepts an external antenna.  I live on a boat in the San Leandro Marina of Northern California.  Verizon knows this location to be a cell black hole.  Local entertainment is provided by nearby hotel guests screaming into their cell phones while standing out on their room's balconies.  I get barely acceptable phone performance but find that my MiFi-2200 rarely works at this location.  I had a 3G wireless solution before that accepted an external antenna.  But  after Verizon assured me my MiFi2200 would solve the problem, I caved and got it.  It works anywhere else in San Francisco Bay and offshore, but not in my home berth!  I've heard that the MiFi4510L accepts an external antenna and would consider that unit.  However Verizon disowns any such model on their web-site and recommends I pay for the latest, greatest and most expensive, without indicating if any current MiFi units accept an external antenna.  Does anyone in Forum land have a solution?

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Correct Answers
Re: Looking for a MiFi hotspot that accepts an external antenna
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

There are some Jetpack models that accept external antennas.  For example, I have a MiFi 4510L which does have a small antenna port that I use with a unpowered antenna.

Not every Jetpack has an antenna port, but all of them should be compatible with something called a wireless cradle.  You can find these cradles from 3rd party vendors like Wilson Electronics.  All you do is place the Jetpack in the cradle and the cradle amplifies the reception from its own antenna into the cradle so your Jetpack can take advantage of a better signal.  Cradles are much more future proof too since they do not require a different physical port for each Jetpack model that you own.

All that being said, you cannot amplify a signal that is not truly there in the first place.  Cant see why VZW would bother to push reception out into the water, I'd think they would consider that out of their scope of coverage.  If you get reception then great, but otherwise I don't think they are going to spend much time or attention improving that situation.

You should look into performing something called a Site Survey to plot out the holes in your reception.  Once you find the cutoff point you should be able to get a feel if an antenna or amplifier will be able to help you.  See the 3G stores guide for site surveys and take advantage of the steps they have prepared for you on the subject.

Site Survey:

http://3gstore.com/page/13_will_an_antenna_help_me.html

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Re: Looking for a MiFi hotspot that accepts an external antenna
Not applicable

If the signal is that bad I doubt an external antenna will help that much. I'm not sure if you can use their Homefusion service on a houseboat but maybe you could check that out.

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Re: Looking for a MiFi hotspot that accepts an external antenna
bobpbobp
Member

Okay I’ll check out Homefusion, whatever that is. And despite the fact that there’s a Verizon showroom less than a mile from here, with an elaborate complex of multiple antennas on top of their building, because the boat floats up and down with the tide and the MiFi2200 provides little benefit over the laptop’s built-in antenna, even a slight rise in elevation solves the problem. If I relocate up to the flyingbridge I get a noticeable improvement and when I could use an external antenna mounted on a mast, it was excellent, so it’s worth a try for me. It’s frustrating for Verizon to tell me “tough luck” when I ask about their improving service.

Thanks, Bob Peterson

Re: Looking for a MiFi hotspot that accepts an external antenna
Dave_g
Member

Hi Bob,

My MIFI 4510L does accept an external antenna and works great on my boat.   I travel on the Mississippi river through wilderness areas and still get 3 bars or 4 bars with the external antenna.   Inside the boat, the MIFI internal antenna gets very little reception in wilderness areas  because my boat is all aluminum.  Built in antenna works near a tower, but not in the wilderness. 

I hope this helps,

Dave.

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Re: Looking for a MiFi hotspot that accepts an external antenna
John_Getzke
Leader
Leader

There are some Jetpack models that accept external antennas.  For example, I have a MiFi 4510L which does have a small antenna port that I use with a unpowered antenna.

Not every Jetpack has an antenna port, but all of them should be compatible with something called a wireless cradle.  You can find these cradles from 3rd party vendors like Wilson Electronics.  All you do is place the Jetpack in the cradle and the cradle amplifies the reception from its own antenna into the cradle so your Jetpack can take advantage of a better signal.  Cradles are much more future proof too since they do not require a different physical port for each Jetpack model that you own.

All that being said, you cannot amplify a signal that is not truly there in the first place.  Cant see why VZW would bother to push reception out into the water, I'd think they would consider that out of their scope of coverage.  If you get reception then great, but otherwise I don't think they are going to spend much time or attention improving that situation.

You should look into performing something called a Site Survey to plot out the holes in your reception.  Once you find the cutoff point you should be able to get a feel if an antenna or amplifier will be able to help you.  See the 3G stores guide for site surveys and take advantage of the steps they have prepared for you on the subject.

Site Survey:

http://3gstore.com/page/13_will_an_antenna_help_me.html

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