Peplink has not had a great antenna lineup for the last few years. Their older antennas, specifically for cellular, weren't really compelling, and none were fully marine friendly. The good news is that both Peplink and Poynting have new antennas for the marine world that look very attractive.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://seabits.com/new-peplink-antenna-testing/
Here’s an example of AT&T with the Poynting and Peplink maritime antennas. This is in a notoriously challenging location on the north end of Bainbridge Island in a bay called Port Madison.
With two Poynting OMNI-402s connected to a CAT18 Peplink device, I am getting a single band with OK connectivity. SpeedTest shows about 12Mbps down, and 2Mbps up. You can see it is using one of the lower bands in the 700MHz range, which the Poynting antennas aren’t going to do really well with.
Here is the same device with two Peplink Maritime 20G antennas. I’m connected to three bands instead of one and getting about 75Mbps down and 5Mbps up. You can see LTE Band 12 at 700MHz in the list, and that it is slightly better RSSI than the previous antenna (-68 vs -72) but the real benefit is the fact that I am using carrier aggregation and connected to three bands instead of one.
This is pretty consistent with what I’ve seen from the Peplink Maritime 20G - not necessarily just better performance on the same band, but one or two more bands whenever I connect, versus a single band with the Poynting OMNI-402 in challenging areas.
We are looking at a 25 to 30 mile open oven path for
LTE reception. I am considering the new peplink BR1 5G for a T Mobile system. What antenna would you suggest to optimize the low frequency end reception? Thanks
Either the Peplink Maritime 20G (2 of them) or the Peplink Maritime 40G would be a great antenna to pair with that unit, and it would work well at the lower bands.
Great post Steve! I’m split between the new Peplink 20G and two Poynting 400s. How do these compare? The later had better results than 402 in your previous post. Thanks
I would choose the Peplink Maritime 20G over two Poynting 400s mainly because the 20G supports more frequencies and bands than the 400 and is setup for 5G, whereas the 400 is older and doesn’t have support for 5G stuff directly. Poynting have some new things coming out, and I have a couple that I am testing, but still in early days.
Thanks Steve. I forgot to mention that the router I consider is Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2 LTE Router. 5G sounds to be not that available in the remote areas of Northern BC waters. Also the antenna will be mounted on the top spreader at 10m above the deck with 10m of Poynting Twin HDF-195 cables.
Depending on your budget, I would consider something more than the MAX BR1 MK2. It has less band support than many of the other routers which means it might have difficulty with some of the newer towers and frequencies. While you might not see 5G everywhere, the 5G routers do have support for more bands, like Band 71, which aren’t 5G, but are much better at longer distances, and are popping up in a lot of areas.
I would also re-evaluate your cable lengths and placement. Anything more than about 20 feet of cable is a concern when I design a solution. Beyond that, especially with any connectors or joints, you’re getting close to impacting the overall benefit of an antenna because of loss for the length of the cable and those connectors. If it is going past other wires that could cause interference, that could go up quite a bit.
I never exceed the pre-built 6’ cable length on an antenna, plus one 15’ extension, on any installations. Getting the antenna higher, as on a spreader, won’t matter as much compared to the loss you’ll induce.
Good point on the cable length. I’ll switch to 5M (15ft) extension and mount it on the lower spreader. That will be 5 meter lower. I wonder how it will affect the range.
Price difference on the MAX BR1 Pro 5G makes it hard to justify more than double the price. Maybe Netgear Nighthawk 5G will do the work.
You get what you pay for. The Netgear Nighthawk 5G is a great hotspot, but it doesn’t have even half the software features that the Peplink does. It also has only two external antenna ports, so you won’t end up being able to leverage 4x4 MIMO similar to what you can do with the BR1 Pro 5G. You’ll have a hotspot that has better band support, but not able to leverage those in remote locations since you can’t use an external antenna with all of them.
The price might seem like a lot, but the BR1 MK2 is a very simple device. Limited band support, older WiFi networking, slower CPU.
I also always ask potential customers to consider how important internet is to them, and how much they spend on other boat devices (MFDs, engines, electrical systems) and compare that to how much they spend (or don’t spend) on internet!
I am trying to get better information on the new Peplink 40G-4xcelluar antenna I have just received.
From the preliminary information on this antenna I can come up with, these antennas also “support WiFi frequencies, so they could be used for outdoor WiFi access points, or for WiFi as WAN with a Peplink router to grab a remote WiFi signal, an alternative to the additional Poynting OMNI-496 antenna” I have.
All this could possibly mean the need having to mount the one Peplink 40G covering both Data and WiFi on the radar pole in just one antenna?
What that part of the specification means is that the antenna has been tuned or built to handle both the WiFi frequencies, and the cellular frequencies. The limit is still the number of antenna elements and cables coming in/out of it, which is 4.
If you are going to use it for a CAT-18 or greater modem on a router, that will require 4 connections, which means the antenna will only be used for cellular. You could buy another 40G and use that one for WiFi as WAN, but that is sort of wasteful unless you have 4x4 WiFi connections as well.
What router are you connecting it to?
The Pepwave MAX Transit DUO “PrimeCare Edition” Dual CAT-12 LTEA Router.
I have yet to install and have the Peplink 40G, This is to replace the 2 [Poynting OMNI-402 Marine LTE 2x2 MIMO Antennas. I am trying to go for a minimum amount of antennas on my stern pole which will also have radar, ntellian C700 Certus Terminal and GPS.
Also 1 Poynting OMNI 496 for WiFi.
I look forward to your testing on the Peplink 40G. I have good expectations on this to have one vs the 2 OMNI-402’s antennas.
I listened to the recent Peplink maritime seminar. Great! Thanks! I currently have a max BR 1 Mk2 with a poynting 5-1 antenna. I live on Verizon and Sprint currently but have horrible performance unless in “civilization” and using Verizon. Updating to T-mobile as required anyway. Boating on the east coast up and down the length. I’m planning to upgrade to the BR1 Pro 5G and trying to figure my antenna config. I’ve been thinking of at Peplink Maritime 40G for 4x mimo and keeping my Poynting for wifi-WAN. Any reason why this is not a reasonable solution?
Currently my Poynting lives in an empty KVH dome. Thinking of pulling the KVH dome and base to use the existing hole in my pilot house and keeping the Poynting 5-1 nearby using the same penetration for cabling of both. Do we need/should we have a ground plane and what distances should we have between the two antennas? Thoughts on this approach?
Thanks for your insights and your great blog.
The Maritime 40G will definitely be a great antenna to pair with the BR1 Pro 5G for the LTE side. I don’t know which Poynting 5-1 you have, but their WiFi antennas, especially in the all-in-one antennas can perform less than standard antennas in a lot of cases. Depending on where you put your BR1, the factory antennas might work better. I’d test both just to be safe.
You don’t need a ground plane with most antennas, but they may suggest or even require them based on how the antenna is built or where it is being placed. If you haven’t used one and things have worked OK, I wouldn’t worry about adding one.
WiFi frequencies and LTE frequencies don’t really overlap very much at all, so they don’t need to be huge distances apart. However, most manufacturers recommend something between 3’ and 6’. With the Poynting being much smaller, you’ll also have some vertical separation.
Thanks Steve for the response back. I’ve just ordered my new equipment! Can;t wait to have better connections!
Looking for a recommendation on the best value celluar antanae, and associated router. I have a 45ft sail boat that I race offshore. Most of our activity is within a few miles of land, but can be out as far as 5 miles when not going truly offshore. Looking for an antenae that will keep us in contact and able to download weather and other data. Have 5g sim card from ATT.
I really couldn’t recommend an antenna without knowing more about your router, in particular the brand and model, along with the type of modem in it. Routers have differing modems which require various amounts of antenna connections which could change the type of antenna.