Wednesday, 27 June 2012

External Antenna for Netcom Huawei B593 4G Router

Not long ago we moved to an area in Norway where no reasonable broadband connection is available. Luckily just a few months before we moved there, Norwegian telecom operator Netcom implemented their 4G LTE network in the area. I ordered a package with Huawei B593 4G LTE router and expected to have decent internet connection quality. However although on their map my area is marked as covered, the location of our house behind a rock and some other houses makes cellular signal quite weak and the router didn't work on 4G indoors at all. I tried to solve this issue by ordering a Poynting 4G flat panel outdoor antenna that cost me about a thousand NOK but it didn't help. Even worse, with this antenna attached I got less speed than without it. I was quite embarrassed and solved this issue by putting the router in a waterproof box that is placed above the roof on a pole. This worked for quite a while until I got tired by Wifi connection issues due to distant location of the router from all other devices indoors. I tried to buy TP-Link hi gain Wifi adapters and then realized that TP-Link also supplies cheap hi gain Wifi outdoor antennas. I ordered a parabolic antenna although it is not for LTE/WiMax but still in a close frequency. When antenna arrived I had to buy a pigtale and connection cables since these were not included. Then I started to experiment and the result was quite unstable. Sometimes I got speeds up to 15 Mbps download and once even 22 Mbps but sometimes the speed dropped to 1.5 Mbps and almost nothing on upload. My parabolic antenna was not fixed that well and at the night it felt because of the wind. Next day I bought a good pole and installed the antenna. To my surprise I got quite low speeds again! So I started to look may be I bought wrong antennas at the end and I need something like for 800-900 MHz instead of 2.4 GHz. And then I found this website that sells antennas and stuff for 4G in Sweden and this product there:


The description (in Swedish) says that B593 router has a software mechanism to detect presence of the external antenna and only when it is detected, it switches to use it. Under circumstances it doesn't detect it and it keeps using internal antennas! Voila, this is exactly the case - despite I connected two external antennas my internet speed was more sensitive to the router position itself and no relation to antenna position whatsoever. These decent guys also pointed to the fact that Telia addressed this issue by providing a firmware update for their routers on this page.

Now I just needed to remember that Netcom is a Norwegian trademark of Telia to decide to give it a try. I downloaded the file, made a settings backup and upgraded my router. Restore of the settings was not required, everything was the same as before except the small new option under System menu item in settings called "Antenna settings". Going there I switched to use external antenna and instead of no bars on signal indicator I now have two and my connection speed doubles!



It worth mentioning that Netcom doesn't provide such an update on their website but Swedish file works just great.

25 comments:

  1. Hej!

    Jag har samma problem med svag mottagning och låg hastighet. Jag uppdaterade routern enligt dina anvisningar och kan nu välja intern/extern antenn.
    Av din kommentar, har jag inte uppfattat vilken antenntyp som nu varit bäst för dig? Jag fattade att du köpt antennadapter med bilden på din hemsida. Kan du förtydliggöra vilken antenn som du nu är nöjd med.

    MVH/Shahram fr Sweden

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  2. I still have issues connecting the parabolic antenna since it has RPSMA connector, now waiting for an adaptor I bought in USA. The antenna that works now is POYNTING PANELANTENN 14 DBI FÖR 4G, I bought it for about 950 NOK on Dustinhome.no.

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  3. Hej Alexey!

    Jag var på Telia-butik i Borås igår. De visade mig en platt riktantenn för montering på stolpe som kostar ca 2000 SEK. I manualen var det rekommenderad för Huawei B593 och annan router från Telia med bilder och text.

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  4. Do you know if your Swedish firmware for the B593 also covers the 4G 900 band? In Sweden, Telia uses 800 and 2600 whereas telenor and tele2 use 900 and 2600. Tele2 also has the B593 router but it only operates on 900 and 2600, as far as we know, so we don't dare to load the Telia firmware to get their manual antenna swittching since we could then loose the band. Unfortunately, Tele2 has done nothing to remedy the antenna seitching problem that you had and solved with the Telia upgrade.

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    1. Hej Jonas, Jag undrar om du vågade uppdatera ditt Tele2 modem med Telias firmware. JAg har fått två externa antenner från Tele2 till min Huawei B593 men men när jag kopplar in dem saknas det fortfarande möjlighet att välja intern/extern antenn som Alex beskriver i sin artikel.

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  5. I only know that Netcom (Telia in Norway) uses 2.6 GHz and 900 MHz band as well and they provide the similar update. I have not uploaded it though. The update can be found here https://netcom.no/kundeservice/mobiltbredband/huawei-b593. I suspect it is exactly the same but I have not checked this.

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  6. hi
    How we can check on what band operates b593 ? In Latvia I used b260 and there I can choose band and on 900mhz 3G coverage is full signal with b260. On 2100 Mhz b260 has no coverage almost without external antena. I just bought b593 and its coverage is sometimes 1 stripe. I suppose it works on 2100Mhz. There is no option to chech or switch band :(

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    Replies
    1. I think if you got wrong frequency your device just won\t work. It is like trying to use iPad 3, it doesn't work. So I assume you got the right device. However 4G signal could be coming from another cell if your nearest cell is not equipped with LTE transmitter and that's why you get poor connection. I have one stripe sometimes too but it still goes for ~12-20 Mbit download with panel antenna.

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    2. I checked with help of GSM operator, that b593 connected to GSM cell which is 4 km from me and works on 900Mhz band (3G). And, of course, b593 no one signal stripe, but b260 4-5 stripes. And one more thing - if I connect b593 to my job VPN, after some time I get no internet. My b260 works fine. I don't know, maybe b593 just incorrectly display signal bars, because download speed on both routers in 3G is similar. I'll try router in place where is 4G available in Latvia, then report the results. Did You get working option System/diagnostic/System check from router admin page ? It freezes and router gets purple led displayed. If not connected (conection disconnected), diagnostic works, but no all info because of no connection.

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  7. One confusion still; Is that antenna connector intended for cellular reception or is it a Wifi antenna ? Since the router has TWO antenna connectors; are both of these for Wifi or are both of these for Cellular, or one of each kind ?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry for the confusion, I ended up using LTE antenna for my specific range. Wifi antennas indeed use another type of SMA connectors and are designed for different frequencies.

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  8. Both are cellular, one to receive and one to send data. The router also supports one antenna for duplex operation, this is how most users do it.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alexey,

      Do you know how to use duplex mode in Huawei 593? I have an external 3G antenna(up to 2100 GHz) with one output. I used this antenna with 3G USB HUAWEI modem and a level of signal was maximum, but with this modem 1-2 strips maximum. What is the problem? Maybe an operator is used differnt transmiiter for 3G and 4G signal and the level of this signal is different and problem is not in bad connection of antenna.

      Thanlks in advance..

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    2. Have you got a firmware that allows you to switch using an external antenna, like the one I describe? If yes then it could be that your 3G antenna is designed for a different frequency. Generally LTE uses another range than 3G, you need to get hold on your provider and ask them specifically about your location since they could be using different range for different base stations. When you get this information, try to get an antenna for that specific range, otherwise the antenna has no use. And, afaik B593 is able to do full duplex on one antenna only although there are also antennas with two cables but these are generally more expensive.

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  9. Hi Alexey,

    Nice to find this post. I had 'fun' last summer with a 4g antenna at the sommarstugan and a USB stick. I have a Huawei 593 with Sweden's Tele2 (the only truly uncapped provider I can get in my area) arriving tomorrow and was worried about the antennas. Now I have a starting point.

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  10. Hi guys,
    nice to read this post.
    Could somebody so kind and recommend an external antenna?

    thanks in advance

    Mathias

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    Replies
    1. You first need to know what frequency LTE is using in your area. Only then you can look for an antenna.

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  11. Hi everyone,

    If you live outside Europe then do NOT use this file. It changes the firmware to work in Europe only.

    I live in Australia & I had to replace my router. :( It would not join the Australian networks.
    Just a warning.
    Chally

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    Replies
    1. Well, I would not use this firmware even in Europe for any other provider than Telia Sonera and their MVNOs.

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    2. Hi, I did it for LTE 02 Slovakia (they do testing phase of LTE only for a small region) and it works. Still without trying the external antenna. But the update works and I can make the switch between using external and internal antenna. I would like to get a recommendation for the antenna I could use. It is 1800 Mhz.

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  12. Jippi. Det fungerte for One Call / Telenor i Norge. :)

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  13. Hei!

    Jeg har opplevd at to Huawei B593 routere har låst seg!
    Den første jeg kjøpte var en med Netcom brand , og uten mulighet til å legge inn ekstern antenne.
    Da gikk jeg på: http://www.telia.se/privat/support/mobiltbredband/uppdaterausbmodemorouter#tabMenu_0=huaweib593
    Der lastet jeg ned: B593.trx og B593-small.trx. Først tok jeg upgrade med B593.trx og satte valg til Ekstern antenne. Ingen forandring skjede ift bedre dekning.
    Deretter oppgraderte jeg med B593-small.trx, da låste routeren seg, og jeg fikk det problemet som beskrevet nedenfor.

    Når jeg kalte opp http://192.168.1.1 får jeg:
    System abnormity. Please recover.

    Så velger recover, og får denne melding etter en stund:

    Upgrade Success. The system is rebooting now.
    After 2 minutes you can login.

    Deretter skjer ingen ting, og når jeg går inn igjen til http://192.168.1.1, så kommer samme prosedyre.

    Jeg kjørte tilbake til butikken og fikk byttet til en ny router som var en orginal Huawei LTE B593. Her var det heller ikke noe valg for ekstern antenne. Jeg gjennomførte samme oppgraderinger som beskrevet ovenfor, og oppnådde samme resultat med blokkering som beskrevet ovenfor.

    Hva kan jeg gjøre for å komme inn igjen på router, og hva må jeg gjøre for å få tilgang til eksterne antenner?

    Hilsen
    Ragnar Vermedal

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  14. Hi!

    My Huawei B593 router is locked.

    I tried to prepare the touter for external antenna, and went to: http://www.telia.se/privat/support/mobiltbredband/uppdaterausbmodemorouter#tabMenu_0=huaweib593
    Downloaded: B593.trx og B593-small.trx. First upgrade B593.trx and then mounted an external antenna. No change in better signals. Then I upgraded with B593-small.trx, then the router was locked and the following problem appear:

    When I went to http://192.168.1.1 I get:
    System abnormity. Please recover.

    I choose recover, and after some minutes I get this message:

    Upgrade Success. The system is rebooting now.
    After 2 minutes you can login.

    Then nothing is happening, and when I shout down and goes to http://192.168.1.1, so the same procedure comes again.

    What can I do to reboot the router?


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    Replies
    1. I had exactly the same problem, and had to buy another router, would love to know the cure...

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  15. After flashing with new software run procedure "reset to factory settings"

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