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Old 09-02-2021, 10:27 AM   #1
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Pepwave - integrated hardware vs separate components

I ordered and Pepwave Max BR1 Mini and am in the process of testing it. Iím second guessing myself now, though, because an all-in-one solution can have issues and it needs a license for WiFi Wan or even plugging a cable modem in.

Iím thinking instead of going with the Peplink SOHO router and the class 6 cellular modem instead. The SOHO is older hardware but it seems to be pretty stout and can act as a WiFi Wan connection by itself. The modem would then provide the cellular connection when needed. All in, this is about $400 in hardware vs about the same for the Mini with the add-on license.

Thoughts? Different hardware thatís less expensive but just as good?
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Old 09-02-2021, 11:51 AM   #2
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Um, well yeahÖ

The MAX BR1 MK2 and TRANSIT are both READY TO RUN out of the box.

Iíve had them both and currently running the Transit Duo which is fantastic.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:28 PM   #3
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I have had my BR1 Mini for about 5 years and it has served me well. Be aware that with the 5G technology many frequency bands are or have already been changed. That means that the router may not be able to receive signal, or at least the best signal in an area because your equipment isn't equipped to do so.

Within the next month Pepwave is due to come out with a plug in unit to add to the BR1 to give it 5G functionality. Any equipment you buy now should either have 5G capability, or able to be expanded to have it.

Otherwise you may be having to upgrade in the near future. All 3 carriers have purchased new bandwidth from the FCC and are in the process of expanding and changing their delivery systems.
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Old 09-02-2021, 12:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SargeW View Post
I have had my BR1 Mini for about 5 years and it has served me well. Be aware that with the 5G technology many frequency bands are or have already been changed. That means that the router may not be able to receive signal, or at least the best signal in an area because your equipment isn't equipped to do so.

Within the next month Pepwave is due to come out with a plug in unit to add to the BR1 to give it 5G functionality. Any equipment you buy now should either have 5G capability, or able to be expanded to have it.

Otherwise you may be having to upgrade in the near future. All 3 carriers have purchased new bandwidth from the FCC and are in the process of expanding and changing their delivery systems.
Thanks!

Thatís kind of what I like the less expensive modem component instead of a fully integrated unit.
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Old 09-03-2021, 08:55 PM   #5
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I’m kind of happy right now. I received my new SOHO today and had it up and running in about 15 minutes including the updated firmware. I added my home WiFi as a WAN - super easy. I added my Visible R2 to the USB port - super easy. I’ve played with changing their priorities and it’s all working. The next step will be to add the Mini via Ethernet and see how it works. I’ll probably still return it and get the modem adapter, but I think this will be a good setup. I’ll add the external antenna am down the road a bit.

I’m wondering if a powered USB hub can be used to add two USB modems - the Visible and the Pepwave modem??? That may be overkill, and I’ll likely turn off the Visible service. I signed up for a Verizon 100gb data plan and have my T-mobile hotspot (2 phones with 40GB each) if we need more.
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:13 PM   #6
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What frequency bands does the SOHO have on board?
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Old 09-03-2021, 11:45 PM   #7
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What frequency bands does the SOHO have on board?
2.4 & 5 ghz with three antennas

https://www.peplink.com/products/soho-series-surf/
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Old 09-04-2021, 01:30 PM   #8
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I've had the Peplink SOHO router for over 3 years now. Thing I like about it, is it is flexible. I would rather have the modems separate from the router because I can always replace a hotspots easier for better performance if the providers add or change supported bands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SargeW View Post
Within the next month Pepwave is due to come out with a plug in unit to add to the BR1 to give it 5G functionality. Any equipment you buy now should either have 5G capability, or able to be expanded to have it.
I've had my 5G T-Mobile hotspot connected to my SOHO for 6 or 7 mts already because they are separate. I've never been happy with all in one hardware.
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Old 09-04-2021, 04:12 PM   #9
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And I have been happy with my BR1 Mini for about 5 years. I really wanted the dual sim functionality and exterior antenna port. The on board 4G LTE modem has worked flawlessly. Previously I had went through 3 Verizon USB modems that would last a year or so. When I had one hickup with the on board modem, Pepwave logged on remotely and reflashed the unit, no charge.

But now that 5G is adding many different bands and frequencies that a stand alone 4G modem will not receive, being able to plug in a update module makes sense for me. It's whatever works for you.
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Old 09-04-2021, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Previously I had went through 3 Verizon USB modems that would last a year or so. When I had one hickup with the on board modem, Pepwave logged on remotely and reflashed the unit, no charge.
just my .02

Just addressing the modem / Hotspots - My 8800L "Category 18 modem" is almost 3 years old and MR1100 "Category 16 modem" is about 2.5. What I've seen is the hotspot hardware normally is far ahead availability / performance wise. Paying more for better hardware can be cheaper in the long run.

If I was doing anything hardware right now. I would be looking at something that would work with a Starlink setup primary and cell as a backup. We are likely 6 to 12 mts away from the 2nd gen ground dish & mobile dish.
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Old 09-04-2021, 05:01 PM   #11
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5G

Posted this earlier this year regarding 5G

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Originally Posted by mike625 View Post
This is just what I've seen - I have two of the t-mobile 100 GB plans - One on a T9 hotspot 4G & M2000 5G - both support band 71. So I have been able to test both at the same location at the same time of day. I do not use any external antennas because they do not support them.

Most of the time "75% to 85%" the 5G connections is faster by 25 to 50% or more.

Late at night, I've seen the 5G over 250 MB while the best the 4G was 110MB


I can say most of the time 5G is faster than 4G modem - but it will always depend on location - tested in my current location 5G - 11 to 14 mb while the 4G is 7 to 9 mb. It nice to get the faster speed - but I'm not blown away with 5G's performance in the 8 mts that I've had both.

My ATT 4G MR1100 is at 33 to 38 mb and Verizon 4G 8800L is 3 to 6 mb. Not one has been the best at all locations.

I normally config the network per location to use the best performing hot spots.
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Old 09-07-2021, 08:12 PM   #12
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Pepwave is exactly what Iíd wanted

Hereís why:
1. Permanent personal wifi in the RV. Every device connects and you only set up once.
2 many possible internet sources. Wifi, cell (from either of 2 providers) or Ethernet. Those looking at external modems, you can plug it into the Ethernet port.
3 prioritize source. You can set priority of each source, and you can set priority of external wifi sources. (Kind of like an iPhone)
4 automatic switching. It constantly tests the source and if it goes down switches to the next one.
5. Rugged hardware. Itís designed for truckers. Solid engineering.
I have the external antenna (2 wifi, 2 cell, gps). (Yes it knows where you are and updates you location with the isp so your maps work right.) I think it works great.
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Old 09-09-2021, 02:45 PM   #13
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I signed up for a Verizon data plan on 9/2 for the RV. Itís a 100gb plan which changes to a slower speed after the 100gb. The website said it was $60/month and I would bring my own device. I confirmed the Peplink IMEI before signing up.

I got my first bill today and the plan is $90. I looked for a confirmation email and couldnít find anything that gave the plan price. Iíve been on the phone with them for 30 minutes now and theyíre saying it would be $90 if one device and $60 if two devices, per line. Nope, thatís not what I signed up for and I have a screen shot to prove it. Heís a bit flummoxed and brought his supervisor onto the call. The best they can do, according to the supervisor, is one month at $60 and then $90.

We have another call scheduled for tomorrow. If this doesnít work, Iím turning the SIM card back in.
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Old 09-20-2021, 03:14 PM   #14
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A few updates:

Verizon wouldn’t honor the plan they sold me. After four days of fighting with them, I cancelled the plan. I’m now using an AT&T prepaid plan for $55.

I bought a used Pepwave Max Mini. As far as I can tell, it’s one of the original dual SIM, single modem units. The warranty expired back in 2017 and it has WiFi Over WAN enabled. I upgraded it to the newest firmware and it seems to be running ok. I’ve got $150 into it. Given the age, if it’s working should it keep working OK?
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