Sprint / Netgear 6100D 4G Antenna Installation (Video)

What’s all this, then?

Back in August I reviewed the Netgear 6100D from Sprint and followed up with a post detailing some advanced configuration options.

The Video

I also installed a flat panel 4G antenna from 4G Antenna Shop. I made a video detailing the unboxing and installation (which I just got around to editing together):

It’s my first video of this sort, so if you have any feedback please let me know in the YouTube comments or by email!

4G Antenna Shop

I didn’t get into it in the video, but overall I’d recommend 4G Antenna Shop. The cable and antenna I got were both of very high quality and definitely worth the price.

Their customer service was great; I had a couple of questions about my order, and one of their guys (Robert) got back to me within 15 minutes and was extremely helpful. They shipped really quickly, too.

I did have two minor issues, both of which I talk about in the video:

During checkout they give you the option of selecting your device so that they can provide the correct adapters to go from the cable (if you order it through them) to the device. At the time I’d ordered, they had an option for “Netgear Sprint Spark LTE”, which I thought was the Netgear 6100D. There was no separate option for the 6100D, but it turned out that they were referencing a different product, and so I received the wrong adapters. (They’ve since added the 6100D as an option.)

I chalked this up to being mostly my fault, as I didn’t know that there was another Netgear LTE device out there for Sprint Spark.

My other issue was with the packing job. Again, it’s a minor complaint because nothing was damaged, but the box arrived pretty beaten up with holes in the top from the antenna mount having poked through. There was no packing material to keep the box rigid, and the antenna and cable were just sorta rattling around inside.

Bear with Me…

Oh, and sorry if I rambled on a bit in the video. If you couldn’t tell from a lot of my other posts on here, I have an aversion to brevity. :)

I’m hoping to get some more how-to and instructional videos out there in 2015, so please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

(Hey, I’m allowed to shill for myself, right?)

About Scott

I'm a computer guy with a new house and a love of DIY projects. I like ranting, and long drives on your lawn. I don't post everything I do, but when I do, I post it here. Maybe.
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10 Comments

  1. Michael Gormley

    Hi Scott –

    I have 4 of these devices – 4G LTE Sprint 6100D Netgear gateways – for primary connectivity for video surveillance servers in NYC. I am having some serious stability issues with the Sprint Network. The devices go offline regularly. Is there away to reboot the device automatically if it goes down?

    ANy help would be greatly appreciated. You seem very knowledgable.
    Michael GOrmley

  2. Hi Michael,

    I’m not sure if you can have it automatically reboot — My first thought would be that it can’t. If you telnet into the device, you should be put into a BusyBox environment where theoretically you could write scripts (& etc.), but I’m pretty sure that any changes to that environment are destroyed on reboot.

    I wish I had more to give you, but maybe play around in the BusyBox shell.

    BTW – My device has been nagging me to update the firmware for a while. I haven’t yet, because it’s been stable and I’m afraid it will get rid of the useful back doors. But are you running the latest version? (My outdated FW is version 02.02.65 — it won’t tell me what version it’s trying to update to.)

    Regards,
    Scott

  3. What are people using for the antenna ports on this device ? It has 2 one is main the other is aux…Does it need both of these to operate correctly ? Its a pain having to use twin antennas outside …what does the aux do ???

    • I believe the second (aux) antenna is for reception diversity. In other words, if both are connected it will compare the signals from the two antennae and use the best signal of the two.

      If only one antenna is connected it will simply use the signal from that antenna. However it will only transmit on the main antenna terminal, so that’s the one that needs to be connected.

  4. Scott Nelson

    I have the 6100d also. However, I was only getting 5Mbps according to SpeedTest. My Sprint tower is only 2 miles away and I have two high-gain (23dBi) antennas connected to the 6100d’s two external antenna ports. The problem is that the 6100d supports Bands 25, 26, and 41. The GUI’s Advanced Settings screen allows setting the priority among these 3 bands. On my system, Band 25 was the highest priority and apparently had the worst signal. I changed the priority to Band 41 and after several reboots and priority changes, I got the 6100d to stay on Band 41 (it likes to sync to Band 25). To access the Sprint interface (192.168.0.1) Settings | Network | Advanced Settings screen, you need to get your 6-digit MSL code from Sprint. I was not able to find the equivalent settings on the Netgear interface (192.168.0.1/index.asp).

    • Interesting. I never had to change the band priority because I was getting good speeds with the default settings. But it’s good to know for the future in case things change in my area. Thanks!

      It’s been awhile since I messed around with the 6100D, but I’m not surprised that it’s not in the Netgear interface. The Sprint interface is at the very least somewhat more cell-service oriented, while the Netgear side is more router/AP oriented.

  5. Scott Nelson

    I now have two high gain antennas connected to the 6100D on the external antenna ports. One is the GiAnt yagi antenna which covers bands 25,26,41. The other is a 24dBi grid antenna left over from my Clearwire days.

    Both are now connected to the 6100D and are pointed to the Sprint tower 2 miles away. However, I’m only getting 3 bars on Band 25.

    The log says:
    2015-04-11 09:37:40:461 PST LTE Signal Info: RSSI -69 SINR 13.8,RSRP -94,RSRQ -11

    2015-04-11 09:37:40:460 PST Active Tech: LTE Band 25

    These signal levels seem much too low for these high gain antennas. Any advice on what may be wrong?

    • Scott Nelson

      …Also, SpeedTest.net says the following:

      download speed: 4.5 Mbps
      upload speed: 6.8 Mbps

      I did this test multiple times to multiple servers and got similar results (consuming a couple of GB of my 60GB monthly plan).

      So I am seeing faster upload speeds than download speeds.

      The 6100D’s Sprint GUI says that I am on the Sprint Spark network (3-bars, Sprint, LTE, spark-icon). So these speeds seem horrible for Sprint Spark.

      • Scott Nelson

        As a follow-up, I spoke with someone in Sprint support who was knowledgeable. I pointed out that last month, the Coverage Map showed me in the Sprint Spark Fair region, but this month it only shows my home in the Sprint 4G LTE Fair region for a spot where my house is (all of my neighbors are still in the Spark region). She indicated that the Spark coverage is being reconfigurated. According to the rep, presently transmitters for different bands are on different towers and Sprint is in the process of reconfiguring to have all transmitters on all towers.

        So at some point in the future, I should get Sprint Spark coverage on the Coverage Map again. I spent the weekend on my roof repointing my antennas. However, it doesn’t explain why my two 24dBi antennas with 5 out of 6 bars in the GUI are only seeing “Fair” reception:

        2015-04-13 06:50:51:465 PST LTE Signal Info: RSSI -66 SINR 12.6,RSRP -86,RSRQ -10

        I did discover that the Sprint Netgear 6100D can switch from Band 25 to Band 41 without rebooting the unit. I discovered this while connecting/disconnecting antennans and pointing them in various directions.

        At least my signal is a little better than it was last week. But the best that I saw on SpeedTest was 10Mbps. Still a far cry from what Spark is supposed to provide.

        So at this point, there doesn’t appear to be anything else that I can do and am just waiting on Sprint to finish reconfiguring their Spark network and restore Spark service.

      • Hmmm.. My first thought on the UL/DL speed disparity is that the antenna on your “main” port is better tuned for the uplink frequency than the downlink. The 6100D only transmits on the main port, and the secondary port is just used for diversity. (I’m guessing you already know that and/or tried switching the antennas on the two ports, but it’s really the only thing that comes to mind).

        And that’s really not a very good theory, because between the two antennas I’d think that you should be getting very good downlink signal quality on any of those bands. Then again, who knows what could be between you and the cell tower EM-wise.

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