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Mobile Broadband FAQ #17: Can I Use an Antenna With the Sierra Overdrive Pro (AC802)?

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Tuesday, 08 May 2012

Mobile Broadband FAQ #17: Can I Use an Antenna With the Sierra Overdrive Pro (AC802)?

The mobile broadband experts at 3Gstore/EVDOinfo answer countless questions from our customers and from the EVDO Forums community every day - from general mobile broadband questions ("what the heck does 3G mean?") to specific questions about products to more advanced inquiries about what one can do with their mobile broadband service. The "mobile broadband FAQ" series addresses these questions in depth one FAQ at a time. To view ALL of the FAQs we've addressed in this series, visit EVDOinfo.com/faq.




The Overdrive Pro (AKA Sierra Wireless 802 hotspot) is a popular 3G/4G hotspot, and lately we've been getting a lot of questions from people looking for antennas to help boost their 3G or 4G signal. The Overdrive Pro has what appear to be antenna ports on the bottom of the unit (see photo above), so many users understandably assume that they will be able to plug an antenna into those ports, just like most USB modems and some other hotspots.

Unfortunately, despite the existence of those ports, you cannot use an antenna with the Overdrive Pro. Those ports are NOT traditional antenna ports like the ones featured on USB modems. They are only for use with Sierra's "Performance Dock", an accessory available for the Overdrive Pro that connects to those ports to help with 4G signal. Plugging an antenna into the ports does not result in any signal gain. 3Gstore has confirmed this via our own testing AND by talking with Sierra Wireless. There are adapter cables that will "fit" in the ports, but connecting an antenna does not improve signal.

To add to the confusion, many other resellers are selling antennas for the Overdrive Pro (likely because, as mentioned above, there ARE adapter cables that fit in the ports). Be advised, though, that just because someone is selling an antenna for the Overdrive Pro does NOT mean it actually WORKS.

If you need to boost the signal to your Overdrive Pro, here are your options:

  • If you're only concerned about 3G signal (which is what most people are concerned about, since 4G WiMAX is only available in a few locations anyway), you can use a wireless amplifier like the Sleek, which boosts the signal wirelessly/passively.
  • If you need to boost 4G signal, your options are limited because there are no amplifiers that support 4G WiMAX. You can purchase the performance dock directly from Sierra, which provides a slight boost, or you can use a WiMAX-capable antenna along with a passive adapter cable (passive adapter cables don't plug into antenna ports - they velcro to your device to provide a passive boost). Neither of these options are very powerful, so they are best-suited for situations where you just need a very slight 4G boost.
  • Upgrade to a device that has usable 3G/4G antenna ports, like the Sierra 250U USB modem 

 


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 July 2012 )
 
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