How to Improve my Caravan NightHawk Connection? An external antenna will help and in this video we will demonstrate how. We continue our fun on the new Netgear M5100, also called the NightHawk M5. This router has two external TS9 antenna ports that can be used to greatly improve the reach of the portable 4G modem in a metal enclosure such as a modern caravan. By adding a Poynting Antennas MIMO-3-12 antenna to the roof of the caravan, the final setup is a reliable external 4G and 5G Ready antenna, connected via cable to your own Netgear NightHawk or Huawei B818 router.


Video transcript:

This is the second video where I just want to demonstrate that an external antenna (an external 4G antenna or an external 5G ready antenna) will be able to give you a better connection to your NightHawk M5. Your modem (your router) could be a NightHawk M5, it could be a NightHawk M2 or a NightHawk M1 or be a Huawei B818 or any other device. If it’s in a weak signal area you can actually get a better signal using an external antenna. In this case I’m specifically going to focus on the caravan scenario. So, basically if you are camper if you go to remote areas or wherever you want to go camping there’s a solution for your caravan. There’s a solution for your motorhome. You could use it in any setup basically. The idea that I have with my famously pink caravan is that I have it at a height so that it’s similar to the roof that you would see on any caravan or van as well. I’m using a NightHawk M5. It’s a Netgear device, it’s also called a NightHawk or Netgear MR 5100.

What you need to get this one connected to an external antenna: it has two antenna ports at the bottom (two TS9 ports) that’s hidden under the rubber caps. You have two TS9 pigtails. Ideally you need two. You can get away with one but be sure to connect it to the correct port. If you only use one and you plug it in and you plug the antenna with the lead to the modem itself.

At RFShop we have worked to find the best antenna solutions. We present all the Poynting antenna options. Specifically for the caravans the MIMO 3 series is an awesome antenna to use for all vehicle applications. There’s the MIMO 312; that’s the one that we use in this case and that’s the one we keep up with the TS9 pigtails. It has two 4G antennas that can be connected directly into modems such as the NightHawk or such as a Huawei B818. Or if you don’t have a TS9 requirement, say we have a Teltonika router, the RUT240 or the RUT360 which we also sell or you can just get the antenna by itself. There’s also the MIMO-3-14, there’s the MIMO- 3-15, there’s the MIMO-3-17. I’m just thinking of a few here with different features and different technologies that is supported in that single antenna. The MIMO-3-14 is actually more 5G future proof, I would think because it has a 4×4 antenna in there always supporting all frequencies: 5G, 4G and of course 3G if that’s still necessary. The MIMO-3-17 has everything: 4×4 MIMO for 4G, it has wi-fi and it has GPS.

The MIMO-3-15 also from Poynting Antennas has wi-fi, 4G and GPS. But in this case the MIMO-3-12 is the one I’m going to use. Now, what I’ve done in the previous video and I also want to do in this case, is: I’m at home so it’s not like my conditions, my signal, is really all that bad. I’m just going to put my NightHawk in an aluminium foil enclosure basically just to make it look like the signal is really bad. It’s like your caravan might be a big faraday cage or you might be remote and the signal is weaker. If that’s the kind of situation you would get then if you route the modem through a cable to the outside at least you overcome that obstacle of the surroundings.

Plus, if you have a better antenna: The MIMO-3 is a better antenna typically than what you would get in the smaller modem just by physics,
because those antennas in these devices would be relatively small and because of that they just won’t have the efficiencies and all the features that the bigger antennas will have. It’s physics, it’s not against any manufacturer as such.

So what I’ll do as first test I’ll put it in the aluminium foil and I’ll show what happens there. As I mentioned before, the beauty of the NightHawk M5 (the new one) is that you actually can use an app to monitor what’s going on in the device itself. You don’t have to look at that screen. That’s of course handy in my case because I’m hiding everything in there. The app is “Netgear Mobile”. Open it up. It logs in. Sign in, go to settings. you go to network. It gives you all the information there but you go into advanced info: RSRP that’s the signal strength is -103 dBm. I just lost my login. I think it’s actually because I’m in a shield, my wi-fi connection is pretty not-so-awesome. I am RSRP -103 dBm, RSRQ -13, signal to noise 12 dBm. I mean it’s not a total train wreck but I just want to prove the concept. So, let’s go to throughput test because that’s what everybody these days looks at when they think how good is their connection and I’ll go…

download is not bad at all.

Actually, now it’s better than it was in my previous test that was for the previous video. That aluminium house of mine is certainly helping to make things worse.


that’s the problem: Often you see this when things are not going all that well the upload is the first thing that falls over. 1.7, 1.5 is not great. So in this video I’m definitely focusing on that value. This value that I’m doing here is 1.9 (so basically two). So that’s our problem statement. What you would do, say this is in your caravan, so there’s my pink caravan. My cable is inside my caravan.
The antenna itself is mounted on the roof and you have two meter cable that comes out of the antenna. You can of course extend it RFShop does coaxial cables so you can definitely get an extension cable. If you need shorter that’s the easy bit; we cut the cable shorter and put the connector on again.

So, as I say, there’s only two cables coming out. If you look at the other models from Poynting you’d have more cables come out of the antenna. In this case it’s simple: it is just simply a 4G antenna 2×2, so two cables which matches the two points with the pigtail that you need to actually marry up with the connector type. Plug it in, the TS9 into the TS9 ports.

That should work well but just to make sure: I’m just going to put the little modem to bed.

Now it’s in my faraday cage again, inside my caravan,
it’s inside my cabin, I’m on a remote hill, whatever the situation is. Just do my recording again…

All right, you go to the Netgear Mobile, it logs in…settings. So now I’m picking up whatever is coming to my antenna on the roof of my pink caravan. Minus 99 dBm so that is stronger than it was before. RSRQ -11dBm. Signal to noise is 12dBm. Let’s see what that gets us on our actual speed test: so this is the screen. As you can see we had 44 down and 2 up. I’m most focused on the 2 up because that’s the one where I think we need to see an improvement to be happy. The download fluctuates. I mean it’s always, things happen the whole day. I’m here in a live network so we can’t control everything.

But when it works we are happy such as this one 40 50 54 55. Now I’ve pre-emptively made excuses for something that’s actually working awesome. And this is the one:

Always so good to see this work.

It was so good to see things work the way it is meant to work. Download is now 53; it is better than it was before. Upload is 24 which is 10 times order of magnitude in engineering terms better than it was without the antenna. Again I have this aluminium foil set up. I know it is not real but that is simulating the situation out there.

As I mentioned you can get the antenna at It comes with the cables but if you have any other Poynting MIMO-3 or any Poynting antenna requirements give us a call. If you have a NightHawk M5, a Netgear NightHawk M5, NightHawk M2 or the NightHawk M1, any device: This is a way to get a much better connection to that modem. As you can see here are the speed improvements you can experience just by having a relatively simple fix: a nice external antenna, 4G or 5G antenna this is what you can get.

Keep it Simple. Keep it Real.