SoftBank Mobile “Home Antenna FT” – an update

About two weeks ago I fixed the wireless black hole that was my new home by installing SoftBank Mobile’s “Home Antenna FT” femtocell adapter. It provides indoors mobile phone reception for my family, connecting the small mobile phone cell to SoftBank’s network via my FLET’S Hikari Next broadband connection.

Yesterday I noticed that the antenna had stopped working and my Android had no reception. It had been shipped to us with a “Hikari BB Unit” broadband router.

When I first installed the Home Antenna FT I found that I could get it working by simply hooking it up on the LAN side of my existing broadband router. No luck this time. Wherever I connected it inside the LAN its status LED turned red and I didn’t give me any signal. As far as I knew nothing had changed in my LAN.

After some fruitless poking around and a half hour phone call to SoftBank’s hotline I had little alternative but starting from scratch, following the supplied Home Antenna FT setup instructions precisely. This involved connecting the following to an Ethernet hub (I used the four port hub on the LAN side of a spare router with its WAN side disconnected, but any cheap 4-port hub will do):

  • one of the Ethernet ports on the FTTH ONU
  • the WAN port of the “Hikari BB Unit” broadband router
  • a PC (I used an ancient notebook running Windows 2000)

Then I popped the CD-ROM that came with the FLET’S ONU into the latop’s drive and followed the SoftBank configuration steps. It involved installing some software for PPPoE, which Windows theoretically doesn’t really need, rebooting and then accessing a FLET’S website and entering a CAF ID and access key.

Not sure why, but after that the “Internet connection” LED of the Hikari BB Unit turned green and the Home Antenna FT started providing a signal after it was hooked up one of the LAN ports of the Hikari BB Unit. I could then remove the hub and laptop, directly hooking up the WAN port of the BB Unit to the FLET’S ONU and everything still worked.

Out of curiosity I once moved the Home Antenna FT back to my other router, but still no joy: It only worked with the Hikari BB Unit. So I moved it back there and it will stay there.

5 thoughts on “SoftBank Mobile “Home Antenna FT” – an update

  1. to b honest who cares about all of this crap in japan it doesnt affect me anyways!!!!! i hate ajapan cuz of ww2 and im nt gona let it go till my great grandad is avenged long live pie

  2. I’m trying to install this Home Antenna system in my apartment in Tokyo, but I’m having tons of trouble. I hooked up all the components, but I can’t get past that part. What website did you have to go to enter your CAF ID? Did you ever figure out what actually made the system work?Any other help you could offer? Thanks!

  3. Hi Jim,
    I got an A4-size envolope from NTT Higashi Nihon that included documents with the CAF number as well as a setup CD-ROM in a smaller paper envelope. The CAF number (CAF + 10 digit code) was listed on several of the sheets.

    Good luck!

  4. Hi Joe,
    I got the CAF + 10 digit code, but after 4 hours on the phone with various factions of NTT and Softbank, I still cannot find the website to enter the CAF + 10 digit code. Right now I have tried w/wo the BB-unit with no luck. The BB-unit continues to flash an amber light and the fentocell flashes an intermittent red light on connection 1.
    Any insite (especially the web site address) would be greatly appreciated.


  5. OK I finally worked it out from clues here.
    What I ended up doing is plugging the BB-unit’s WAN port into a switch that I installed a head of my Linux router and then running a separate cable thru the in-wall conduit to connect the LAN side of the BB-unit to the Femtocell, I had to do this because I needed the unit down stairs and only had a single cable down there which was already in use for other things. I plugged the BB-unit in and it immediately connected. Next I plugged the Femtocell in downstairs a min or two later full bars on the iPhone and iPad.

    The precess of getting the Femtocell is a bit difficult to say the least; I filled out the exact same paperwork three times before they (Softbank) would finally accept it, they would never actually say what is wrong with the previous forms. I ended up on the phone with them for about a total of 6 hours, 6 very frustrating hours. Well after all of that and 168 days later it finally came with incorrect docs. Only by reading your post was I finally able to piece the whole thing together


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