Nov 1 2012

DIY: External antenna for Globe Tattoo USB dongle

Vacation time. Time to relax and disconnect. That was the original plan. But work always find its way back to me. I needed internet connection to do some content editing for an online shop. Unfortunately here in Bontoc, Southern Leyte, a stable internet connection using the Globe Tattoo usb dongle cannot be achieved unless you stay outside your home to get a better signal. I have read before, articles about modifying these usb dongles to have an external antenna, but I never had the reason to actually build one because I already get a decent signal in Cebu City. Now that I’m in the province area, it’s DIY time :-)

The procedure is very simple.

Things you need.

1. External Antenna. I purchased this one from CD-R King for P250.00

CD-R King wifi antenna and 3 meters cable with SMA male and female connectors

2. Cables. Below is 3 meters of cable with SMA connectors (male & female). I purchased 2 of these from CDRKING at P150.00 each.
3 meters cable with SMA connectors (male & female)

3. Philip screwdriver
4. Wire cutter
5. Soldering kit and lead


Lets get started.

1. I have no idea which model I have but this is how I opened the usb dongle. On one side there are hidden screws colored white.
DIY: External Antenna for Globe Tattoo usb dongle
Remove the screws and carefully open the plastic case from the side. It’s just a snap on plastic case so be careful not to break it.

2. This is what it looks like inside. The small area on the right is the built in antenna. We won’t be needing this anymore so detach it by removing the screw indicated in the photo.
Globe Tattoo USB dongle with internal antenna exposed

Here is the antenna removed.
Globe Tattoo USB Dongle with antenna removed

3. Then flip the usb dongle to the other side. This is what it looks like but without the wires.
DIY: External antenna for Globe Tattoo usb dongle
Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the usb dongle before I soldered the wires in place. Look at the photo of the cable in the materials section above. I remove the female connector and peeled off the insulators. I then soldered the ends to the usb dongle. Please refer to the photo as to where to attach the ends.

4. Using a cutter, I made some modifications to the inside part of the plastic case to make room for the wires.
Inner side of the plastic case

5. After that I put back everything into the plastic case. It was a bit of a challenge but after some additional modifications to the inner part of the plastic case, I was able to pack everything back into place.
Globe Tattoo USB dongle with cable
Globe Tattoo USB dongle with the wire sticking out on the side

6. Then I connected the other end to the antenna.
CD-R King Wifi Antenna
After initial testing, I then use the other 3 meter cable to extend the length and distance of the antenna.

7. Here’s a SS with the antenna connected. That’s 4 bars of HSDPA connection!
Improved signal reception with the external antenna for Globe Tattoo usb dongle

The download speeds are not that spectacular. You can’t do anything about that. Whatever bandwidth Globe has decided to dedicate to this area is what you’ll get. The purpose of this project was to get a better and stable signal at HSDPA/WCDMA instead of the GPRS signal I get without the external antenna.

I now get a stable connection with actual download speeds between 60kbps to 200kbps depending on time of day. I will need more time to gather more data on the improvements. Here is a speedtest SS.
Speedtest Result

I will assemble a proper mount for the external antenna later this afternoon and put it somewhere higher to get a better signal. Something that is easy to lower down in case of thunderstorms. I’ll post updates as soon as I gather more data.

I would like to try this setup with an actual outdoor wifi antenna like this the one found here:

11 Responses to “DIY: External antenna for Globe Tattoo USB dongle”

  • Ryan Yu Says:

    First all very nice jigs, sharing this on mytechisland. Secondly, I need to this for our office as backup, do you happen to know the maximum length sa cable? :-)

  • admin Says:

    I only have 6 meters of cable with me right now. I’ll see if I can buy more later when I go to Sogod. In your office, I think you can have the antenna at the shelf area near you. The signal is already strong enough in your area. All you need is a bigger antenna to receive better signal. No need to put it outside.

  • Ken Says:

    Rather than use the antenna you said you linked to, an external directional YAGI may be better suited if you know the location of the Globe antenna..

  • admin Says:

    Yes of course directional antennas are much better. I’m aware of the options available. Im just sharing this since it’s readily available to the consumer level. You can’t buy YAGIs in malls. Directional antennas can be assembled but that’s for another article. The things I used in this article are low cost, easily accessible to consumers, and no need for assembly. :-)

    Anyway, I already got the signal quality I needed.

  • Noe Says:

    what is the maximum length of the cable? And what is the change in your RSSI? :D

  • coronado hilbert Says:

    my broadband didn’t looks like that one.. its a new version… can u help me?

    e359 globe tattoo tick..

    I didn’t know where the antenna is located.

  • admin Says:

    my broadband didn’t looks like that one.. its a new version… can u help me?
    e359 globe tattoo tick..
    I didn’t know where the antenna is located.

    Hi, I already ditched this setup a long time ago and decided to just buy a wifi router that supports a usb wifi dongle. I bought a usb extension cable and mounted the wifi router up under the roof and just provided a housing for it so it won’t get wet. Then I just connect to my wifi router for access. I don’t have the layout of the newer usb dongles so I really can’t help you with that.

  • Dudong Says:

    Greets tol.
    Currently living sogod,about to move mahaplag,no net & pretty well no phone signal where we are going either.not even sure if this will work but might as well try.
    What model router did you use?
    Thanks in advance.

  • admin Says:

    bai, I think ang gi gamit sa akong brother kay Tenda nga router napalit niya sa greenvalley nga computer store. I’m sure naa ra similar nga router available naa diha sa computer store inside gaisano sa sogod. siguradoha lang nga imong gi dala imong usb dongle para ma testingan ninyo on the spot if compatible ba siya with the router.

  • Asad Says:

    hi dear i live in Afghanistan & i use a Hawai USB dongle and may enter-net access is slow because we are living out of city so cold you please help me to solve this problem ?

    yours truly

  • admin Says:

    I’m not familiar with all the usb dongle from huawei, so you’ll have to take that apart yourself and find the contacts for the antenna. The insides should look similar to what I have.

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