How to install your directional antenna
With the right antenna setup, you can establish a strong internet connection in an area with poor cellular coverage. A directional booster antenna, like our Super Duo-Yagi MIMO Antenna, strengthens the connection with the nearest cellular tower. This antenna setup minimizes signal loss and maximizes potential download and upload speeds.
Because directional antennas send and receive radio waves in just one direction, the position of the antenna is critical. When you install a directional antenna, you need to take into account local cellular coverage, the direction of the nearest tower, and any obstruction that could prevent a direct connection between the antenna and the tower.
So where should you install your new directional antenna? To find the best spot, follow these four steps:
1. Find the strongest cellular signal on your property.
Sometimes cellular coverage varies drastically throughout a property or, even, throughout a building. Help your directional antenna do its job by installing it where you already have the best coverage. Find the best coverage in your building by using a phone in field test mode or an app like OpenSignal to measure signal strength.
- To access field test mode on your iOS device, call *3001#12345#.
- To access field test mode on your Android device, navigate to “Settings” > “About Phone.” Your signal strength is visible under “Status” or “Network.”
In field test mode, your phone measures signal strength in decibels referenced to milliwatts (dBm), where -50dBm is a perfect signal and -110dBm is no signal at all. In field test mode, the closer a reading is to -50dBm, the stronger the signal. The closer a reading is to -110dBm, the weaker the signal.
2. Find the nearest cellular tower.
Because directional antennas send and receive radio waves in just one direction, you need to orient your directional antenna towards the nearest tower. To find the tower nearest to your property, check out this blog post.
Later, once you’ve mounted your antenna, you can pinpoint the exact direction of the nearest tower by connecting a phone in field test mode to the antenna and, then, slowly rotating it, stopping to take a reading every 10 degrees.
3. Install the antenna on the side of the building closest to the tower.
Mobile broadband transmits online data by sending radio waves over set frequency bands. When radio waves pass through any material, their speed is affected by that material’s permeability and permittivity. The less permeable a material is, the slower the waves travel through it. And the slower the waves travel, the slower your internet connection.
Structures made of metal or other materials that conduct electricity slow down radio waves or block them completely. To prevent interference, place your antenna away from metal structures like steel building frames or other antennas. On the other hand, radio waves can travel through structures made of glass, wood, concrete, or stone relatively easily.
Radio interference also slows down your internet connection. Some household devices, like microwaves and baby monitors, operate on the same radio frequency band as mobile broadband. To minimize obstructions and interference between the antenna and the nearest cellular tower, install your directional antenna on the side of the building closest to the tower.
4. Elevate the antenna.
Keep your directional antenna above nearby obstructions, like other buildings, by installing it on a rooftop or mounting it on a pole. When you elevate your antenna, you also prevent interference from electronics in nearby properties.
Get strong mobile broadband in an area with poor cellular coverage by installing a powerful antenna. For help choosing the directional or omnidirectional antenna that’s right for you, contact us at 866-439-6630.